I have for your consideration one of the most incredible punch bowl I have ever had the good fortune to acquire. The bowl and base both bear the Julius H. Brauer Studio mark 3 (circa 1905-1910) and the bowl is signed by none other than Julius Brauer, himself. The base also bears the Tressemann & Vogt mark 7 (circa 1892) and the punch bowl bears the additional Limoges Plainemaison mark (circa 1905). The Julius H. Brauer Studio was in existence from 1903-1926 and was in direct competition with Pickard. Julius Brauer was born in Germany in 1870 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1890. He settled in New Jersey and within two years married Marie Brauer. Upon his arrival, he is believed to have worked for one of the Trenton factories but there is no record of his employment. Nevertheless, by 1902, Brauer had made his way to Chicago and began working for Pickard. Since Pickard had not yet acquired the Carriage Barn, Brauer painted Pickard china pieces from his home. By 1903, Brauer was on his own, advertising his Studio which was located in his home on Lill Street. His wife, Maria was also an accomplished china painter and they together accounted for a vast majority of the work produced in the early years. Still operating from his home studio, in 1906 Brauer employed a number of excellent china painters, among them some of Pickard's best artists such as Edward Challinor, Joseph Beitler, Carl Koenig and Max Bachmann. Julius Brauer died in 1925. Compared with Pickard and a few other large studios, the amount of surviving Brauer china pieces is quite small, so to find items with this trademark is a wonderful find. However, to find them stamped with the Julius H. Brauer trademark and signed by the owner and accomplished artist himself, is indeed rare and incredible!
The punch bowl stands 6" tall and measures 13" across in diameter. The base is 3" high and together as a set, the pieces stand 9" tall. The pictures do not lie or exaggerate the beauty of this masterpiece. Julius Brauer was one of Pickard's most highly regarded artist and there is little doubt that he deserved that distinction. The inside of the punch bowl is astonishing in its vibrancy and crispness of color. The background porcelain is a blending of yellows, golden amber, burnt sienna, and muted cranberry with splashes of red and purple. Against this marvelous back drop, Brauer has hand painted large, lush exquisite reddish orange gooseberries or currants. The fruit hangs in clusters dangling from twining vines that spill down the sides and across the bottom of the bowl. Adding a sense of texture and providing contrasting touches of shades of greens, Brauer executes amazing foliage that cushions the ripe fruit and peeks through the background. Encircling the inside top rim is a wide band of amazing gold gild which forms a frame around this artistic rendition; the bottom of which is outlined in black. The outside of the footed punch bowl is done in a carmel orangey brown at the top which gradually becomes a deep dark rich reddish orange and finally cranberry red at the base. The very bottom of the base has a band of gold gild. The plinth or base has four golden feet and is done in a fabulous burnt sienna to match the outside of the bowl.
The punch bowl and plinth are in remarkable condition. Except for extremely light and minor surface scratches on the gold and some wear to the flat portion of the plinth where the punch bowl sits, this set is free of any issues. As mentioned and can be seen from the pictures, the colors are fantastic and there is no loss of paint or scuffs to the painted design. There are no chips. There are no flea bites. There are no cracks, hairlines, or spiders.
If you are a collector of Pickard, Brauer Studio hand painted pieces, or in particular those signed by Brauer himself, this is a definite must have acquisition!
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