When one thinks of the American Arts and Crafts Movement Grueby pottery is often the first name that comes to mind. Grueby was founded in 1897 by William Grueby. In 1909 the company went bankrupt partly as a result of the effects of the mass-produced art pottery that was starting to flood the market. Grueby emerged from bankruptcy and resumed art pottery and tile production. Around 1917 Grueby was sold to C. Pardee Works. Ultimately Grueby closed for good in 1920.
Most Grueby pottery is organic, bulbous forms with decorations handcrafted and carved into the vases or applied to the body of the vessel. Most Grueby pieces are glazed in the recognizable, organic Grueby matte green. The Grueby matte green glaze was copied by virtually every arts and crafts pottery company in existence including such names as Hampshire, Owens, Roseville, Weller, Marblehead, and Teco. Even recognized contemporary pottery makers such as Ephraim, Door, and Jemerick all attempt to replicate the matte green glazes made famous by Grueby.
Grueby Pottery won an impressive number of awards over the years, including three from the Paris Exposition in 1900. Examples of Grueby Pottery can be found in most museums that display art pottery.
Typical Grueby trademarks seen on the pottery include the circular Grueby Boston USA stamp mark with the flower logo in the middle. Some Grueby vases were also marked with paper labels. Later period Grueby vases were often marked with the stamped GRUEBY BOSTON, MASS mark. This impressed mark is often seen on later period production Grueby vases. While most Grueby was marked, sometimes the Grueby trademark can be entirely obscured by the thick glazes applied by the pottery. And it is important to note not all Grueby art pottery was marked at the factory.
Recognized decorators who worked at Grueby include artist such as Ruth Erickson, Kiichi Yamada, Wilhelmina Post, Gertrude Priest, Marie Seaman. Well over 30 artists and decorators worked at Grueby over the years of production.
Grueby has always been and likely will likely always be synonymous with the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Art pottery vases and tiles produced by Grueby are highly prized and sought after by arts and crafts collectors around the world.