(b 1867; d 1925). American potter and ceramic manufacturer. He was apprenticed in 1882 to the J. and J. G. Low Art Tile Works, Chelsea, MA, where he remained for ten years. At the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he was very impressed with the high-temperature flambé glazes of the French art pottery created by Auguste Delaherche and Ernest Chaplet, which encouraged Grueby's own experiments with matt, monochromatic glazes. In 1895 he set up his own factory, the Grueby Faience Co., in Boston, which produced tiles and architectural faience in Greek, medieval and Hispano-Moresque styles, popularized by the Arts and Crafts Movement. From 1897 to 1898 he manufactured a range of vases finished in soft, matt glazes in greens, yellows, ochres and browns, with the ‘Grueby Green’ predominating. Until 1902 the potter George Prentiss Kendrick was largely responsible for the designs, executed in heavily potted stoneware based on Delaherche's Art Nouveau shapes. Young women were employed to carry out the hand-moulded and incised surface decoration, which consisted mainly of vertical leaf-forms in shallow relief (e.g. stoneware vase, late 19th century; London, V&A). The work was enthusiastically received by the public, and such designers as Tiffany ordered ceramic bases for their lamps. Many American workshops and factories quickly introduced matt glazes, but few could surpass the velvety perfection of Grueby's wares. Between 1900 and 1904 Grueby pottery won awards at a number of important international exhibitions, including a silver and two gold at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Despite these successes, the firm was declared bankrupt in 1908. Grueby then opened the Grueby Faience & Tile Co., which was taken over in 1919 by the C. Pardee Works of Perth Amboy, NJ. The firm continued in the production of Grueby-style wares until the late 1920s.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.