Adelaide Robineau (1865 – 1929) an American Ceramicist

A Collection of 34 vases and jars designed by Adelaide Robineau between 1909- to 1926.
A Collection of 34 vases and jars designed by Adelaide Robineau between 1909- to 1926.

Adelaide Romineau (1865 – 1929) was an American ceramicist she was born in Middletown, Connecticut. She was considered one of the most remarkable ceramic artists of the early twentieth century. Robineau was a ceramicist confident in the studio who designed her clay bodies, created her glazes, threw the forms, and then decorated, glazed and fired them independently. At the time, few women were involved in the technical aspects of ceramic production. It was considered appropriate for women to be decorators only, rather than to be part of more technical pursuits or to throw on the wheel, a physically demanding job that was at the time left to men.

Vase designed by Adelaide Robineau 1912

Professional Background

She became a well-known decorator and member of the National League of Mineral Painters. She taught briefly at Saint Mary’s in Minnesota and, in 1899, studied painting under William Merritt Chase in New York. She drew watercolours and painted miniatures on ivory. In 1899, she and her husband Samuel and George H. Clark bought the magazine China Decorator and, in 1900, began publishing the journal Keramic Studio. 

In 1901, the Robineaus moved to the house ‘Four Winds’ built-in Syracuse, New York. Influenced by Royal Copenhagen china at first and then by sculptural work from the Bing & Grøndahl Porcelaensfabrik in Denmark.

Charles Volkmar Studio

In 1901, in the studio of Charles Volkmar, she produced her first pot. She was also influenced by French ceramicist Taxile Doat, whose seminal essay ‘Grand Feu Ceramics’ he published in 1909. In 1903, she turned from china painting to making fine porcelain.

Between 1910-11, she taught under Doat at the University City Pottery, near St. Louis, Missouri, where she produced the Scarab Vase, said to have taken 1,000 hours to create and shown in 1911 in Turin. Between 1920-28, she taught at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. 

Vase on a stand by Adelaide Robineau, ca. 1900

Recognition

She showed her watercolours at annual exhibitions of the National Academy in New York and her experimental slip-cast porcelains at the 1903 Arts and Crafts exhibition in the Craftsman Building, Syracuse. Her work with others was declared by International experts gave the finest porcelain in the world’ at the 1911 Turin ‘Esposizione Internazionale dell’Industria e del Lavoro,’ the American Women’s League from University City received the grand prize and Robineau the Diploma -della Benemerenza. She showed her work at the 1904 St. Louis ‘Louisiana Purchase Exposition,’ crystalline glazes at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1904, 1911 Salon in Paris, and at the Paris Musee des Arts Decoratifs. She received a medal and prizes from the Art Institute of Chicago and Arts and Crafts societies in Boston and Detroit. She won a grand prize at the 1915 San Francisco ‘Panama-Pacific International Exposition’ and was given an honorary doctorate from· Syracuse University. Her work was the subject of the 1929 memorial exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Carter, C. B., & Norton, M. G. (2013). Ceramic materials: science and engineering. Springer Science+Business Media.

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