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Cowan Pottery Waylande Gregory "The Beaten Dog"

Recently I have been going through a closet of mine and ran across this lovely sculpture by Waylande Gregory for Cowan Pottery. I was wondering if someone could tell me a good insurance value to place on this piece.

The "Beaten Dog" by Waylande Gregory; is based on a stray dog that the artist tried to nurse back to health, and it's believed that there are only three in existence. (The Cleveland Museum of Art and Western Reserve Historical Society each have one.) This find would bring the count to four.

One piece of Cowan Pottery that any collector would snatch up if money were no object is the famous "Jazz Bowl" by Viktor Schreckengost. Experts believe that there are about 50 bowls in existence with three different designs. In December of 2004, one of the bowls went for more than $250,000 at Sotheby's auction house. Being that there are only four of these dog's accounted for, I have a feeling that this piece may surpass the value of the "Jazz Bowl".

I have contacted Carol Jacobs who is the Curator of the Cowan Pottery Museum who stated the following in correspondence:

"According to the "Bible" of Cowan Pottery, Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland Schoolby Mark Bassett & Victoria Naumann (1997), the Beaten Dog was Gregory's most important animal sculpture. It was based on a stray dog that he owned and tried, unsuccessfully, to nourish back to health. It was created ca. 1931, and in fact won first place in ceramic sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual May Show in 1931. It's original name was "The Waif," but it came to be known as "The Beaten Dog." I do not have any recent auction figures, so cannot give you any idea of valuation. But I do know that it is a fairly rare piece, and probably has significant value."
I have also contacted Mark Bassett who expressed interested in purchasing the piece and therefore would not be the appropriate person to ask about values.

Some information about the artist:

Waylande Desantis Gregory (1905 Baxter Springs, Kansas – 1971, New Jersey) was one of the most innovative and prolific American art-deco ceramics sculptors of the early twentieth century. His groundbreaking techniques enabled him to create monumental ceramic sculpture, such as the Fountain of the Atoms and Light Dispelling Darkness, which had hitherto not been possible. He was also an early seminal figure in the studio glass movement.

Waylande Gregory is one of the most influential ceramic sculptors of the 20th century, who had helped to shape the Art Deco period in America. Artistically, he had developed much of the art-deco sculptural visual vocabulary in American art. In one of his more notable pieces, Salome, the horror of the decapitated St. John the Baptist is secondary to the lyricism of the near linear rhythm of Salome’s dance of the seven veils, expressive of pure form and motion. He combines both the erotic dance of the seven veils simultaneously with the decapitated head of St. John on a silver platter. Unlike his contemporaries at Cowan studios who followed in the footsteps of Austrian modern pottery exemplified by the Wiener Werkst├Ątte, Waylande Gregory sought to create a distinctly American form, for instance, his second sculpture of Henry Fonda, capturing in essence what he felt were the best American traits.

Technically, his most direct contributions include development of methods for the creation of monumental ceramic sculptural works, and the development of revolutionary glazing and processing methods. After he had moved to New Jersey and begun to work with the large kilns at Atlantic Terra Cotta, he began to develop new techniques which made monumental ceramic sculpture possible. Prior to Waylande Gregory, ceramic sculpture was limited in size due to the tendency for clay to slump after being formed without being supported by an armature of metal or wood. Other methods included sculpting the entire piece in clay and then going back and hollowing out the clay on the inside. This would lead to problems with sagging during firing, and tendency to crack. As a result, there were many limitations to the prior two techniques. By using a honeycomb method of building up the ceramic sculpture from the inside out, similar to the way that wasps build up their nests, he was able to form the sculpture as a self-supporting whole prior to firing, and his sculptures would go through the firing process successfully without cracking. Unlike other ceramicists, who would fire the sculpture to bisque, and then glaze, he would form, glaze and then fire the sculpture only once for the finished art work.

He never used factory-made glazes, grinding and mixing all of the glazes himself, carefully controlling firing temperatures as well as kiln atmosphere to achieve the effects that he desired. Among his innovations are compressing of glaze powder into a crayon for sfograffito, and a patented process for fusing glass and ceramic together in a crackle pattern

Any help identifying a value on this piece would be greatly appreciated.

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