Here for your consideration is Brad Keeler California Pottery mallard ducks, set of 2. The female mallard duck figurines have intricate detail in the mold, particularly to the feathers, feet and green foliage, airbrushed with some hand painting [black traces] over a white clay body with a high gloss glaze.
They are in fair to good condition with no repairs. Both pieces are marked on the bottom with incised marks [under-glaze, hand written], (1) Brad Keeler, "M" [artist mark], No. 50 [model #], along with a partial American Pottery foil paper label [green,black, silver, used c. 1943-1946]; (2) Brad Keeler, "B" [artist mark], No. 50 [model #]. There is heavy crazing, one duck has a tiny chip on the tip of its tail feathers and the second duck has cracks/chips running vertically along the breast on one side. SEE PHOTOS FOR DETAILS.
MEASUREMENT: 6" W x 5" H [approx.].
American Pottery-Brad Keeler
In 1939 Brad Keeler established a small ceramics studio in his garage in Glendale, California. In 1940 in partnership with James Webster a manufacturing facility was leased on San Fernando Road in Los Angeles, California, which they named Bradster Potteries. The pottery specialized in the production of art ware, mostly figurines that were molded by Keeler, which a local company, Shaw & Company was the sole distributor of the line.
In 1943, Evan K. Shaw, the owner of Shaw & Company constructed a new ceramics plant in Los Angeles. Shaw used his relationship with Keeler and others in developing his exclusive license to manufacture Walt Disney character figurines for the newly established American Pottery.
The American Pottery bird figurines, which the flamingo models would prove to be the most successful in the line were decorated by Keeler's hand picked crew, which involved airbrush and hand decoration. The line had many other naturalistic birds and fowl that were produced, including swans, seagulls, parakeets, parrots, blue jays, ducks, chickens, cockatoos and penguins. Many of these were produced as male and female sets or with two birds conjoined into a single piece.
In 1946 after a fire completely destroyed the American Pottery plant, Keeler reorganized and relocated his business in a new 15,000 square foot factory in Los Angeles. The new plant produced florist ware, such as, planters and figurines of children, animals, along with baby related items known as Pryde & Joy.
In 1956 Keeler along with Andrew Malinovsky, Jr., a glaze technician developed a red glaze which he called Ming Dragon Blood. The true red glaze in combination with black was adapted in developing the Ming line, which included vases, low bowls, smoking sets, ginger jars and planters. They were able to fully realize success with the Ming Dragon Blood glaze through their line of buffet serving dishes featuring red lobster handles. Keeler also priced a very plain and decorated vases, flower bowls and tea sets.
In the late 1940's the representation of the Brad Keeler Artwares line was transferred to the China Dry Goods Company of San Francisco and Paul Straub of New York. Tragically Brad Keeler loss his life due to a heart attack in 1952. Although the company was in the processed of constructing an even larger factory, the company was not able to survive the loss and the plant was sold in 1953.
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