Beautiful and Practical: Newcomb College
August 26, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Newcomb Pottery was founded in the 1890s at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans. It was one of a number of art pottery workshops active in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Inspired in large part by the American Arts and Crafts movement; which advocated the creation of simply-made, well-designed, hand-crafted household furnishings, these pottery workshops produced ceramic wares notable for their elegant form and innovative decoration.
The Newcomb Pottery, in business from 1895 to 1940, was the only such workshop in the South; the other well‑known potteries, such as Rookwood or Fulper, being clustered in Ohio and New England. The Arts and Crafts movement espoused the idea of training young women to be self-supporting in a respectable craft vocation. Although Newcomb was unique in its association with a college, many other potteries of the time were operated to a great extent by female business-owners, designers, and craftspeople.
Newcomb pottery, metalware, and textiles from the Louisiana State University Museum of Art’s extensive collection are part of this exhibition, as well as pottery from other Southern collections by notable art pottery workshops, including Cambridge, Fulper, Marblehead, Rookwood, Roseville, Van Briggle, and Weller. A highlight of this installation is the Museum’s own Newcomb Pottery vase; one of the finest examples of the pottery is this piece by master decorator Sabina Wells.
This exhibition is made possible by the generous funding from the Norman S. and Emmy Lou P. Illges Foundation and the 2012 Let There Be Art.