Rudolph Drach American, 1759–after 1814 Bedminster Township, Pennsylvania
About this artwork
Little is known about the potter of this plate, Rudolph Drach. The artist’s grandfather Rudolph Drach was among seventy-seven Palatinate Germans who, along with their families, arrived in Philadelphia on August 29, 1730, and he eventually settled in Bucks County. This plate, made in 1792 according to the incised inscription, was originally in the collection of Edwin Atlee Barber and was illustrated in his Tulip Ware of the Pennsylvania-German Potters (1903). Sgraffito decoration–the act of incising the surface to reveal the clay body beneath–characterizes many of the ceramics created in Bucks County in the Pennsylvania German tradition. Such pottery features exuberant colors and ornamentation through traditional decorative motifs, including the bird, tulip, and star shapes that decorate this plate.
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Scott T. Swank, et al., Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans (Winterthur and New York, 1983), 190.
Judith A. Barter and Monica Obniski, For Kith and Kin: The Folk Art Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2012) no. 5.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania Germans: A Celebration of Their Arts 1683–1850, Oct. 17, 1982–Jan. 9, 1983; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Mar. 5–May 15, 1983; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, July 2–Sept. 3, 1983; Art Institute of Chicago, Dec. 10, 1983–Jan. 29, 1984, cat. 3.
Art Institute of Chicago, Photography + Folk Art: Looking for America in the 1930s, Sept. 21, 2019–Jan. 19, 2020, no cat.
Edwin Atlee Barber (1851-1916), Philadelphia, PA, by 1894; sold to the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, June 20, 1894; by exchange to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1907.
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