This catalogue and the exhibition it accompanies represent the culmination of an effort that began at the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1979, when the first ceramics made in University City were acquired for the Museum's collection. Since that time, appreciation has flourished for the Arts and Crafts Movement in America, especially in the area of art pottery. Although University City ceramics have been included in a number of exhibitions and publications and are avidly sought by museums and private collectors, the complex and compelling history of their making has not been fully explored. University City Ceramics: Art Pottery of the American Woman's League considers the diverse body of exceprional ceramics created at Edward G. Lewis's innovative educational institution in University City. This project also demonstrates the Museum's continued commitment to artistic expressions of national and international significance that have originated in the St. Louis region.
This exhibition opens in zoo4, a momentous vear for the Saint Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis region, and the nation. 2004 marks the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the centennial of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The Art Museum's Forest Park building, once the ventral pavilion of the Fair's Palace of Art, was designed by die celebrated architect Cass Gilben to provide a permanent, fireproof structure of suitable grandeur to hause the Museum's expanding collection following the Fair.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was the first international fair in which the decorative arts, or "Original Objects of Art Workmanship,- were exhibited alongside painting and sculpture. Under the guidance of Halsey C. Ives, the Museum's founding director and the chief of the Art Department for the Exposition, the Art Palace exhibited and rewarded the achievements of American art potteries such as Tiffany Studios, Teco, Grueby, Dedham, Marblehead, and Newcomb College, as well as the work of Arts and Crafts manufacturers and artisans in other media.
Edward G. Lewis founded the University City Art Academy and Porcelain Works in 19o9, several years after the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The Fair framed St. Louis's vision of itself in the t-wentieth century as a mercantile and industrial center and one of die nation's most populous cities. lt was in this environment of promise and prosperity that F. G. Lewis's University City took shape, first as the sito for his publishing empire, then as a planned community founded on Ideals of civic beauty, and finalHy as a center of education and porceHain making.
The enthusiastic dedication of the Museum's Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts David Conradsen for University City ceramics has culminated in this distinctive exhibition and publication. Our thanks extend to Ellen Paul Denker, whose essay recounts the fascinating story of Edward G. Lewis and University City.
Verlag: Saint Louis Art Museum, 2004-01-01, englisch sprachig.