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Bauer Pottery

An icon in the history of American ceramics, Bauer pottery created breathtaking pieces that blended artful form with striking color for all pieces from their California studio. Still celebrated today, Bauer’s pieces offer simplicity along with subtle sophistication.

Though Bauer is most often recognized as a product of California, its origin is in Paducah, Kentucky, where founder John Andrew Bauer first purchased a pottery manufacturing facility in 1885. His early production was primarily hand-thrown pieces with a traditional brown glaze. Following the company’s relocation to Lincoln Heights, California, Bauer began producing new sizes and shapes of pottery. Alongside these new pieces, Bauer also began experimenting with a wider variety of vibrant glazes thanks in part to the influence of designer Louis Ipsen, who began working for Bauer in 1912.

The Bauer exploration of color reached its zenith after Bauer’s death in 1923. The company fell under the control of president Watson Bockman, who encouraged new and even more colorful glazes for Bauer pieces. This push resulted in the debut of the California Colored Pottery line in 1930, which became one of Bauer’s most beloved lines.

Quick Facts

  • The solid, rich colors characteristic of Bauer pieces is considered by some to have inspired other brands, such as Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta line of the early 20th century
  • Screen legend Joan Crawford used a set of Bauer mixing bowls in a scene from the Academy Award-winning movie "Mildred Pierce"
  • The Bauer facility closed down in the early '60s, the culmination of a labor strike that had launched the year prior. Bauer designs were revived in 2000 when avid Bauer collector Janek Boniecki began using his antique pieces to recreate Bauer’s major designs

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