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Sketch for the Haviland & Company Commemorative Vase 1776

c. 1876
Félix-Joseph-Auguste Bracquemond, (French, 1833–1914)

In 1872 the ceramic artist Félix Bracquemond was named director of the Haviland porcelain company’s new experimental studio at Auteuil, France. The studio’s work was first displayed internationally at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. This preparatory sketch illustrates Bracquemond’s concept for Commemorative Vase 1776, one of a pair of monumental vases shown there commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence. Here Bracquemond is deciding the placement of the decorative winged figures of Fame and Victory: on the sides of the vase or (his eventual choice) at the top. Given to the Smithsonian Institution by Haviland when the Centennial Exhibition closed "as a congratulatory compliment from the ceramic artists of France,"* the vases were among several highly original artworks created by Bracquemond for the exhibition. These included "Parisien" Service tablewares and a large tile picture, Water and Fire.

* Jennie J. Young, The Ceramic Art: A Compendium of the History and Manufacture of Pottery and Porcelain (New York: Harper & Brother, 1878)

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