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Bar Pitcher

A work made of porcelain.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of porcelain.


c. 1880


Karl L.H. Müller
American, 1820–1887
Union Porcelain Works
American, 1863–c. 1922

About this artwork

This bar pitcher exemplifies a uniquely American style of ceramics using imagery of contemporary literature, events, and daily life. The bear-shaped handle and long-tusked walrus spout evoke exploration of, and US expansion into, the Pacific Northwest. On one side of the pitcher, the legendary King Gambrinus, inventor of beer, presents a keg to Brother Jonathan, a fictional character symbolic of the United States. The vignette depicted on the other side can be seen as a racist response to Chinese immigration in the 19th century. In a scene drawn from a well-known contemporary poem, “Plain Language from Truthful James” by Bret Harte, an Irish miner draws his sword against a fellow Chinese worker over a game of cards; the poem, while intended by the author as a satire against the improper treatment of Chinese immigrants, reinforces negative stereotypes.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Karl L. H. Müller


Bar Pitcher


Greenpoint (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1880




24.8 × 26.7 cm (9 3/4 × 10 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Martha and William Steen and Mrs. Frank Sulzberger funds; Delphine G. Schoen Trust and Stone Foundation endowments

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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