A Fulper Brothers four-gallon stoneware jug depicting acrobats, offered at the 2013 Winter Antiques Show in New York City for $295,000, is now part of the Weitsman Collection of American Stoneware at the New York State Museum (NYSM) in Albany. It was acquired for the museum by stoneware collector and benefactor Adam Weitsman.
The acrobat jug was manufactured in Flemington, New Jersey, during the 1880’s. Weitsman, who had wanted the piece for about 30 years, purchased the jug from Allan Katz Americana, Woodbridge, Connecticut, according to a press release.
The 16½" high jug had sold at Sotheby’s sale of the collection of Don and Faye Walters in New York City on October 25, 1986, for $28,600 to a phone bidder, underbid by Weitsman, then 18 years old. Ronald Keno, father of Leigh and Leslie Keno, told M.A.D. at the 1986 sale, “Leigh and Leslie bought the jug at a sale in Garrison, New York, for $3500 when they were only fourteen and sold it when they had to pay for college.” The wall tag at the Winter Show showed that the jug’s provenance also included Betty and Joel Schatzberg and a private collection.
Abraham Fulper produced an assortment of earthenware, stoneware, and tile products at his Flemington, New Jersey, pottery in the 1860’s and 1870’s. His sons continued the pottery after their father’s death, and during the 1880’s the company became known as Fulper Bros. or Fulper Bros. & Co. Fulper Brothers stoneware often featured unique decorations. The acrobats on this jug may have been inspired by a traveling circus or performers at the nearby annual agricultural Flemington Fair.
The acrobat jug is currently on exhibit at the NYSM along with 40 other pieces of the Weitsman stoneware collection and will be featured in a forthcoming book, Art for the People: Decorated Stoneware from the Weitsman Collection by John Scherer, curator emeritus of the NYSM. The book will illustrate some 200 pieces of decorated stoneware donated to the museum by Adam Weitsman since 1996.
For more information, contact the NYSM at (518) 474-5877 or visit the museum’s Web site at (www.nysm.nysed.gov).
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest