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Artus Van Briggle was the son of Eugene Van Briggle (name changed from the original Van Brueghel) and a native born American woman from Kentucky named Mary Bryan, born on March 21, 1869 in Felicity, Ohio. It was evident quite early in his life that Artus possessed unique artistic capabilities, and he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1886 to work at the Arnold Fairyland Doll Company where he painted faces on china dolls imported from France. Soon thereafter, he moved to the Avon Pottery until it closed in 1887. Artus Van Briggle received the bulk of his training at the Beaux Arts Academy and the Julian Art School in Paris and at the Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati, Ohio where he moved after the closing of Avon. Van Briggle quickly captured the attention of Maria Longworth Nichols, the founder of Rookwood Pottery, who early on spotted the substantive artistic talents of young Artus. From his studies in France, Van Briggle was exposed to new matte glazes which inspired his later creations. While there, Artus met his future wife Anne who was also studying art in Paris at the time, living with her mother. Artus and Anne were engaged in 1895 and, after spending about two years in Paris, Artus and Anne returned to the United States, and Artus went back to Cincinnati and Rookwood Pottery to resume his career there as a decorator in 1896. Following subsequent experimentation with glaze techniques, he had by 1898 perfected the matte glazes for which Van Briggle decorated pottery is recognized.

Van Briggle Pottery Building, Colorado Springs, CO

Being in poor health however, Artus left Rookwood in 1899 and moved to Colorado, Springs, Colorado where he took up residence and where Anne joined him in 1900, becoming engaged on July 28, 1901. He had acquired a small building at 617 North Nevada Ave. in 1900, from which he continued his experimentation and where he founded the Van Briggle Pottery Co. in 1901. Given its founding at the turn of the century, many early Van Briggle designs were created in the Art Nouveau style but with the distinctive matte glazes reminiscent of ancient Chinese ceramics and unique colors for which Van Briggle is still known today. Artus worked with his wife Anne in creating fine art pottery molded from the local clays found in the Colorado Springs area. The pottery flourished during this period, and many period Van Briggle designs evoked nature in their theme and form, winning honors at a number of expositions both within the U.S. and internationally. Artus and Anne were married on June 12, 1902, after which Anne gave up her part time job and began working at the pottery full time. Frank Riddle, a former student of Anne's and a genius in glaze experimentation, joined the pottery in 1902 as did Ambrose Schlegel, a master potter who joined the company in 1903. Artus Van Briggle died on July 4,1904, severely limiting the production of "period" Van Briggle pottery, i.e. produced during the lifetime of Artus Van Briggle. Nevertheless, the pottery continued in operation under Anne and is still in operation today and still makes some of the original designs.

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