We are pleased to offer a rare set of Red Wing American Art Pottery Ewers designed by the trail-blazing industrial designer, Belle Kogan. These two large Magnolia ewers are a matched set with opposing handles. They measure 10-1/2" in height and were part of the immensely popular 'Magnolia' line introduced by Red Wing Potteries in 1940. While we have previously come across single items from the 'Magnolia' line -- including a Magnolia ewer with a right-sided handle - we have never before seen these ewers as a matched pair. By some serendipitous stroke of fortune, we have found a pair of Red Wing Magnolia ewers that were clearly made as a set! As our photographs show, the magnolia design on these pitchers is only found on one side of each ewer. When the magnolia designs face the same direction, the pour spouts of the two ewers face each other, and the handles offset each other, forming a lovely tableau. Accident? We think not!
We found these Red Wing Magnolia Ewers on the fireplace mantle of a very old house owned by a lovely lady who had gone into assisted living some ten years earlier. Her relatives had tried unsuccessfully to clear her house of her rather vast collections, and eventually called us for help. Imagine our surprise when we finally cleared away the items obscuring the fireplace, and found these lovely, pristine examples of American Art Pottery! This set of Red Wing Magnolia Ewers is in excellent condition. Aside from one or two small glaze pops which are unavoidable in the firing process, there are no nicks, chips, or cracks in the pottery, and only a small bit of crazing on the base of one of the ewers. These Red Wing Magnolia Ewers are a lovely and unusual set which can be used to hold flowers, to grace a special table, or to assume a prominent place on a mantle.
BRIEF HISTORY - RED WING POTTERY: Red Wing Pottery has been produced since 1865, when German craftsmen settled in Red Wing, Minnesota, and began making salt-glaze pottery to help make and store food, which was useful for the rural society in which they lived. By the early twentieth century, Red Wing was the largest pottery manufacturer in the United States. The salt-glaze pottery was dropped in favor of Bristol glaze ware, and the Red Wing Potteries logo made its first appearance. As society began shifting from rural and agricultural to urban, Red Wing began making dinnerware and decorative items for the home. In the 1960's, the cheap production of foreign goods began to erode Red Wing's financial stability. The company closed its manufacturing plant and remained in business as a small pottery outlet. However, in 1996, Scott Gilmer, the grandson of the prior Red Wing Pottery president, re-started the manufacturing of Red Wing Pottery once more, with less emphasis on mass-production and more on skilled craftsmanship.
BRIEF HISTORY - BELLE KOGAN: Artist Belle Kogan's history is quite interesting. She was born in Russia in 1902 and emigrated to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1906. She showed an avid interest in art from an early age, and as a young woman studied at the Pratt Institute, the Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. Kogan designed house ware products for a number of prominent American companies, including Quaker Silver, Libbey Glass, Federal Glass, Towle Manufacturing Company, Bakelite Corporation, Red Wing Pottery and Reed & Barton.