Exceptional and Important New York Stoneware Co. Jug w/ Elaborate Frog Decoration, Made for Potter's Son

October 22, 2016 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: $74,750.00
($65,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

October 22, 2016 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional and Important Four-Gallon Presentation Stoneware Jug with Exuberant Cobalt Decoration of a Leaping Frog, Inscribed "Frank Prouty", Stamped "NEW YORK STONEWARE CO. / FORT EDWARD, N.Y.", circa 1875, cylindrical jug with tooled spout, decorated with a large slip-trailed design of a leaping, swell-bodied frog with raised front legs and heavily-striped body, the scene accented with a stylized riverbank below. The large slip-trailed name, "Frank Prouty", appears to the left and right, formed out of scalloped trails of rippled water, created by the splash of the frog. Cobalt highights accent the maker's mark and capacity mark. This outstanding work, in its striking figural decoration, vibrant color, and folk art aesthetic, epitomizes the New York State stoneware craft of the period. The decoration is imposing, covering most of the jug's front, extending onto the sides, and measuring approximately 13 1/2" tall by 10 1/2" wide. The frog itself stands and impressive 10" tall. The name, Frank Prouty, refers to the son of George Prouty, a potter active at the New York Stoneware Company, circa 1870-1880. Both the 1870 and 1880 federal census schedules show George Prouty living in Fort Edward with his son, Frank, born about 1864. Based on a known dated example, the style of the maker's mark seen on this jug was employed by the proprietors of the New York Stoneware Company, George Satterlee and Michael Mory, circa 1875--meaning that Frank Prouty was about eleven years old at the time of its manufacture. The idea that this jug was made for the son of a potter adds to its charm and appeal. Unlike coin banks and other whimsies made for the children of potters, this jug, due to its large size, would not serve as a child's toy. Instead, it seems to be a sort of display piece made by George celebrating his son. The choice in subject matter possibly connects to one of the common pastimes of boyhood: catching frogs. The significance of this jug was recognized early on, in a landmark exhibit curated by Steven N. Collins, entiled "Decorated Stoneware: The Art of the American Folk Potter", which was held at the State University College at New Paltz in 1974. Today, the event is regarded as one of the first art gallery exhibits in America dedicated entirely to American stoneware. Among loaned pieces for the exhibit were famous works from the John Paul Remensnyder collection as well as the iconic Paul Cushman churn with incised cat-churning-butter and fish-suckling-a-cow motifs. In esteemed company, the frog jug was chosen for the cover photo for the catalog. A review of this exhibit in the Oct. 6, 1974 edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal describes the jug as follows: "Among the most charming, and the one Collins selected for the cover of his exhibit brochure, shows a jumping frog surrounded by cloud-like curlicues which actually spell the. . . name, Frank Prouty". This jug easily ranks as one of the great figural-decorated works to come to auction in the past two decades, one which survives in sublime condition and carries an impeccable provenance, exhibition, and publication history. Provenance: Sotheby's, American Folk Art and Furniture formerly in the Collection of Daphne Farago, sold for the Benefit of the Rhode Island School of Design, New York, February, 2, 1991, Lot 1206; John Bihler and Henry Coger, Ashley Falls, Massachusetts; Boyce Collection, Conventry, Connecticut; Nathan Liverant & Son, Colchester, Connecticut. Exhibitions: Decorated Stoneware: The Art of the American Folk Potter; College Art Gallery, State University College, New Paltz, New York; Sept. 22 to Oct. 13, 1974, illustrated on cover of exhibition catalog; Americana from the Daphne Farago Collection; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, 1985, Sept. 27 - Nov. 17, 1985, illustrated on frontispiece and p. 54, fig. 40. Literature: Illustrated in Pottery Works: Potteries of New York State's Capital District and Upper Hudson Region, Broderick and Bouck, Fairleigh Dickson University Press, London and Toronto, 1995, p. 152. Excellent, essentially as-made condition. H 17 1/2".


Exceptional and Important New York Stoneware Co. Jug w/ Elaborate Frog Decoration, Made for Potter s SonExceptional and Important New York Stoneware Co. Jug w/ Elaborate Frog Decoration, Made for Potter s SonExceptional and Important New York Stoneware Co. Jug w/ Elaborate Frog Decoration, Made for Potter s SonExceptional and Important New York Stoneware Co. Jug w/ Elaborate Frog Decoration, Made for Potter s Son

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Bidding is now closed.
(Our next auction takes place March 24, 2018.)

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