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Fairy Tale Tile

with the Art Academy of the American Woman's League, University City, Missouri, 1909–1911
Caroline Risque, American, 1883–1952
Glazed earthenware
Made in
University City, Missouri, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 332
9 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (24.1 x 24.1 x 3.2 cm)
Credit Line
Friends Fund
Contact Us
Object Number
This tile represents Caroline Risque's response to a design exercise for "a medieval village" proposed by Frederick Rhead for the correspondence students at University City Pottery. The red earthenware clay is modeled in low relief and incised contours strengthen the design. Risque simplified her figures and other forms to suit the low-relief surface. She used Rhead's palette of matte buff, blue, green, and brown glazes.
by 1914 - 1950
Edward Gardner Lewis (d.1950), University City, MO; Atascadero, CA [1]

- 1969
Robert Pilcher, Trash to Treasures Auction House, Morro Bay, CA

In auction of Edward Gardner Lewis estate (presented by Robert Pilcher) at the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Center, University City, MO, October 5, 1969 [3]

- 1980
Randy Sugarman, San Francisco, CA

1980 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Randy Sugarman [4]

This tile shares the same provenance with four vases and four tiles in the Museum's collection (215:1980, 216:1980, 217:1980, 218:1980, and 219:1980.1-5).

[1] Edward Gardner Lewis founded an Art Academy in University City, Missouri, in 1909. A large number of art porcelains and other ceramics, including 219:1980.1, were made in the Art Academy, part of Lewis's Peoples University. The Art Academy and the Peoples University were never fully realized and closed by 1913. Lewis reorganized ceramic an art pottery production in the University City Porcelain Works in 1912, but the UCPW ceased during summer 1914. Lewis moved all his businesses to Atascadero, California, and by summer 1916 the ceramics had also been moved to California where they became part of Lewis's personal collection [Saint Louis Art Museum curator David Conradsen].

[2] In October 1969, Robert Pilcher presented at auction in St. Louis "antiques and art objects from the estate of the late Edward Gardner Lewis" ["Auction of Art Objects," "St. Louis Globe Democrat," October 19, 1969, West Area Section, p.7]. It is presumed that this tile was included in that auction. Exact ownership and transfer of the ceramics between Lewis's death and the subsequent auction fourteen years later is not clear in these articles. One article states that "the items were handled by a California auctioneer when Lewis died in 1955 [sic] in Atascadero, Calif.... A California antique dealer [Robert Pilcher] is offering the items [at the October 5, 1969 auction]." It is not know whether Robert Pilcher was the California auctioneer who handled the earlier transaction or whether he acquired the pieces at a later date ["Auction Friday From Estate of U. City Founder," "St. Louis Globe-Democrat," September 29, 1969, West Area Section, p.1].

[4] Invoice from Randy Sugarman, June 9, 1980 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, June 6, 1980.
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