The Van Briggle Story Depicted in Art
"This memorial wall, with three glass tile mosaic murals, was created in 2011 by Larry Terrafranca as part of a tribute to Artus and Anne Van Briggle. The murals depict the industry of pottery, the Van Briggle legacy and Artus' struggle with tuberculosis. In 1901 the Van Briggles started creating their Art Deco pottery in Colorado Springs. This memorial wall includes Van Briggle Tiles, hand carved limestone elements, and custom cast bronze insets that depict the artisans. The Van Briggle building, immediately to the south of the wall, was built in 1908 and purchased by Colorado College in 1968.
Glass Tile Mosaic – “Van Briggle Legacy”: the southernmost glass tile mosaic panel celebrates over a century of Van Briggle art pottery. Artus arrived in Colorado Springs in 1899. The composition is layered with vessel forms and floral motifs in vivid colors. Artus and Anne Van Briggle exhibited their works at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair where their pottery won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. Artus died of tuberculosis on July 4, 1904 at the age of thirty-five. Anne Van Briggle led the pottery company after her husband’s death.
Glass Tile Mosaic – “Artus’ Impending Doom”: the center glass tile mosaic panel represents Artus Van Briggle’s struggle with tuberculosis and his declining health, necessitating his move to Colorado Springs in hopes of recuperation. Artus began experimenting with local clays and perfecting the matte glazes for his pottery. The local mountains are positioned near the top with earth colored forms referencing the Garden of the Gods below, but also resembling hands. A female face in the middle represents the Lorelei, from a German poem, as Artus’ muse and the famous subject of his first successful matte glaze figure. A male face at the lower right, possible Artus, is looking up at his Lorelei . The black cat, facing the muse, completes a triangle symbolizing the impending doom about to befall Artus. The tent structures on the lower right symbolize a Colorado Springs tuberculosis hospital.
Glass tile Mosaic – “Industry of Pottery”: the northernmost glass tile mosaic represents the industry of art pottery making. The pulleys run the pug mills and other clay preparation machinery. Upper left is a measuring scale. Two men are shown loading the kiln. Vessel forms and floral motifs balance these features.
Limestone Plaster Carvings: The Indiana limestone pilaster carvings represent favorite Van Briggle floral art design elements seen in their historic pottery and tile works. The ornate arches in the headers relate to the decorative arches in the north facing Van Briggle Pottery roof gables. There are six animals and insects on one of the pilasters honoring the use of animals by in many Van Briggle art pottery pieces. Look for the frog, snail, fly, butterfly, beetle and Lady Bug.
Bronze Sculpture Plaque – ""Artus"": This shows Artus seated, working on a large vessel in his lab coat and cap and surrounded by the furniture of his studio. On the shelf to the right is a mermaid looking over at her creator.
Bronze Sculpture Plaque – ""Anne"": Anne is shown seated, face framed by a memo board covered with sketches. On the left are pots and an Indian portrait. After Artus’ illness, Anne assumed steadily increasing responsibility for their business and took over much of the designing.
Van Briggle Tiles: Sets of six-tile panels are embedded in the brick screen walls at twenty locations and represent various combinations of the twenty-four decorative art tiles currently produced at Van Briggle Pottery in shades of blue and green. The tiles incorporate such floral motifs as columbine, iris, poppy, Lady Anne, bell flower, water lily, tulip, and orchid flowers. Additional art tiles can be seen in brick planters throughout downtown Colorado Springs intersections. (Source: Colorado College Flyer - The Van Briggle Story Depicted in Art)