Paul Revere Pottery of the Saturday Evening Girls club (active 1908–1942), Decorated by Sara Galner (American, born Austria–Hungary, 1894–1982)
Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts
Overall: 12.7 x 29.5 cm (5 x 11 5/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Earthenware with glaze
Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)
The Paul Revere Pottery was established in Boston’s North End in 1908 under the direction of Edith Guerrier and her artistic partner, Edith Brown. Guerrier ran the neighborhood’s branch of the Boston Public Library and had developed educational clubs for local immigrant girls, primarily of Italian and Eastern European heritage. The clubs were part of a city-wide effort to keep these girls “off the streets” and to assimilate them into the American way of life.
Financed by philanthropist Helen Osborne Storrow, the pottery’s mission was to help support the library clubs and to offer the oldest girls, members of the Saturday Evening Girls (SEG) club, an opportunity to earn money in a healthy and stimulating work environment.
Sara Galner, a Jeweish immigrant from Austria-Hungary, joined the SEG library club in her early teens, hiding her books from her disapproving parents. Galner joined the pottery in its nascent years and continued to work there until her marriage in 1921, occasionally running the pottery’s retail stores in downtown Boston and Washington, D.C. Her painted designs reveal the pottery’s shift in glazes, color palettes, and patterns, and her own maturation as a decorator. Identified by her initials on the base, this large bowl featuring animated geese, and the detailed tea caddy (2007.365), which seems to tell a story about the rural cottage surrounded by trees, are among the finest examples of both Galner’s and the pottery’s work.
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
(painted on base): "S.E.G. / 11-14 / S.G."
Early history unknown; date TBD, acquired by Dr. David L. Bloom, Morristown, NJ, then Boston, MA at Skinner's auction house; given Dr. David L. Bloom to the MFA (Accession date: XXXX)
Gift of Dr. David L. Bloom and family in honor of his mother, Sara Galner Bloom
Reproduced with permission.