Friday, November 26, 2010

Czech Pottery: Why It's Not Clarice Cliff

Peasant Art Pottery Covered Jar    /Antiques from Home
One of my first purchases, after I made the mental leap from collector to dealer, was a Peasant Art Pottery cup and saucer made in Czechoslovakia.  I liked the stylized floral motif, the black background, and the heaviness of the hand-made pottery.  Following the advice from one of the books I'd read I priced it at three times what I'd paid and sold it for twice what I'd paid - then I bought some price guides and found out how desirable and valuable that piece really was.   Peasant Art Pottery was the creation of Joseph Mrazek who had emigrated to the US in the Trocadero.comearly 1900s.  He was creative, setting up his business in New York and setting up small factories back home in Czechoslovakia where the pottery would be made according to his copyrighted designs.
The company lasted from 1917 until 1935 during which time Czechoslovakia became an independent country.  Mrazek, an artist of his time, continued to successfully market his stylized florals and another, rarer Art Deco design.  The bright abstract designs remind people of Clarice Cliff but his work was less sophisticated, more folkloric and his pottery was much heavier gauge than the English earthenware she used.  I think Peasant Art Pottery stands on its own as a desirable collectible, along with other Czech pottery from Tulla and Ditmar Ubach.

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