Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daryle Lambert: Great European Pottery

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I have written many blogs on great American art pottery but the world is also wide open for great European pottery. There have been two pottery companies that have drawn my attention through the years and I feel that there is a very large collector base for their wares. These two companies are Boch Frese and Longwy and they both can make you money.

The Boch Freres factories were founded in 1841 in La Louviere in eastern Belgium. They are still in business but the pieces that I would encourage you to search for are from the early 20th century. I personally have sold pieces that had an arts and crafts look for over $700 but that is at the low end for their better pieces. In November at the Holiday Sale held by Cincinnati Art Gallery, there was a vase with highly stylized flowers in three colors with an estimate of $8,000 and I have seen Boch pieces have even higher values. This vase had an ink stamp “Boch Freres La Louviere” which can be seen in the Kovel book of marks. There were many other pieces in this sale that had prices ranging from $400 to $4,000. What makes these pieces so collectible are the brillant colors and art deco designs.

I said there were two companies to watch for and the other one is Longwy from France. Their factories even post date Boch Freres and commenced production around 1798. They also, like Boch, are still in business but the pieces you wish to find are from same period as the Boch pieces. In fact, they are very similar in their use of color and design. If you see a vase made by Longwy, you will recognize it. One of the differences in the two companies is that Longwy used more animals in their design of the wares than Boch did. I once sold a large vase by Longwy with the most beautiful greens,yellows and blues in the design plus many water birds filling the pattern. It was breath taking.

I would suggest that you familiarize yourself with these two companies by searching the internet and any book on pottery that you might find. Since these companies aren't well known, you may stumble upon a very special piece reasonably priced. The great thing about these companies is that their better pieces are collected around the world.

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