By BRUCE KAMERLING
San Diego History Center Staff Member
TODAY, when the term “arts and crafts” brings to mind swap-meet booths filled with a monotonous assortment of pottery, leather goods, macramé and batik, and the words “artsy-craftsy” carry deservedly derogatory connotations, it is important to study fine examples of American craftwork to remind us that the “decorative” arts can hold their own next to the “fine” arts. Anna and Albert Valentien,1 two persons prominent in the American Arts and Crafts movement, spent most of their lives in San Diego. Their local artistic contributions deserve greater recognition.
To study the Arts and Crafts movement which swept through America in the latter part of the last century it is first necessary to understand the origins of the movement in England. The Industrial Revolution produced a blight of mass-produced articles without any suggestion of good design or quality workmanship. Through the division of labor no one person followed the manufacturing of an article from conception to completion and therefore felt no pride in the finished product. In an attempt to return hand craftsmanship to everyday items, designer William Morris founded a company in 1861 which began to produce furniture, stained glass, textiles, wallpaper, and books that were designed by competent artists and executed by skilled craftsmen. Others were soon imitating him.
The Arts and Crafts movement in America can be traced to Cincinnati, Ohio, and a class in china painting for socially prominent women under the direction of Benn Pitman which started in 1874.2 As the genteel hobby caught on one writer was prompted to exclaim that it had “become a mark of inculture to be wholly ignorant of ceramic art.”3 Eventually Ohio became the art pottery capital of America, boasting a number of thriving pottery companies of which Rookwood Pottery was the most famous.
Arts and Crafts clubs began to become popular throughout the country during the 1880’s and 90’s. From pottery interest spread to furniture design, textile, glass, metalwork and even architecture. By the turn of the century a number of firms specializing in handmade Arts and Crafts goods had become successful, notably, Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios, Elbert Hubbard’s Roycrofters, and the Craftsman items of Gustav Stickley.
San Diego at this time was more noted for its fleas and dust than for its culture. Compared to their home in Cincinnati the county’s local art community was almost non-existent when Anna and Albert Valentien first visited in 1903. The only local artists of note were Ammi Merchant Farnham and Charles Arthur Fries, both of whom had arrived about 1897.4 But Anna and Albert had come looking for wild flowers, not artists, and these they found in abundance.
Since Cincinnati was the birthplace of the art pottery movement in America, it is appropriate that both Anna and Albert were born there; Anna on February 27, 1862, and Albert on May 11, 1862. Albert, the son of Anna Marie (Wolter) and Frederick Valentine, received his early art training under Professor Thomas G. Noble, at the School of Design of the University of Cincinnati, which he started attending at the youthful age of thirteen and continued for five years. Later, this school became the Cincinnati Art Academy which Albert continued to attend, studying with Frank Duveneck.5
Becoming aware of the popularity of china decorating, Albert and a fellow student at the Academy, John Rettig, began to study the techniques involved. Together they were associated with the early Coultry and Wheatly Potteries in Cincinnati and also taught one of America’s first classes in decorative art pottery to over a hundred students.6 Rettig continued his career in the arts as a painter and Valentien was hired as the first regularly employed member of the decorating staff of the newly founded Rookwood Pottery in September, 1881.7
Rookwood started out as a more or less amateur venture in 1880. With the addition of a trained artist to the staff, the pottery became much more professional. Valentien later wrote, “I was the first regularly employed decorator…and served in the capacity of chief decorator for the period of 24 years during which time I originated and developed many of the chief effects which have made that institution famous throughout the world.” 8 Other trained decorators were added to the staff as the company grew. One of these was a bright eyed, curly haired, young woman by the name of Anna Marie Bookprinter. She was later to become Albert’s wife.
Anna was the daughter of Magdalene and Karl Buchdrucker (the name was later Anglicized) who had immigrated from Germany in 1848. Her father was a university graduate and weaver by trade who settled in Cincinnati where he became a dry goods merchant and later a farmer. Early education for Anna included the Common School near Cincinnati and the School of Design of McMichen University. In 1882, she started her professional career with Benn Pitman who instructed her in the art of woodcarving. Also at this time she started attending evening classes in drawing and modeling at the Cincinnati Art Academy. In the spring of 1884 she became a decorator with the Matt Morgan Art Pottery and stayed until the firm closed less than a year later.9
In October 1884, Anna accepted a position with the Rookwood Pottery where she remained for the next twenty-one years. There she met Albert Valentien whom she married on June 1, 1887. Theirs was the first of several romances between Rookwood staff members that culminated in marriage.10
While working for Rookwood, Anna continued her studies with the Cincinnati Art Academy at night and two mornings a week. Frank Duveneck instructed her in portraits, and she also studied sculpture, which became her major interest, under Louis T. Rebisso. About 1891, Anna introduced a few sculptured pieces at Rookwood, but they did not fare well in the salesroom so were not pursued. She modeled a life sized figure of “Ariadne” that was exhibited at the Chicago Exposition of 1893, and received much critical acclaim.12 The following year, Anna won two First Prizes and one Honorable Mention at the Academy for composition in sculpture. In 1895, she won the Home Scholarship on a life sized figure, and also received a gold medal at the Atlanta Exposition for a life sized figure “Hero Waiting for Leander.” 13
As head of Rookwood’s decorating department, Albert was paid to spend three months in Europe during the summer of 1894 to study the work of European pottery manufacturers. He again travelled to Europe in 1899 to prepare the Rookwood exhibit for the Paris Exposition of 1900. Here Rookwood received the Grand Prix in pottery and Albert was awarded a collaborative gold medal for his contributions. He had the additional honor of having one of his paintings, a winter scene in Cincinnati titled “A Snowy Day,” accepted for exhibition at the Spring Salon that year.14
Anna had been given a leave of absence from Rookwood so that she could accompany her husband and study sculpture in Paris. She enrolled at the Academy Colorossi, studying with Jean Antonin Injalbert and also at the Academy Rodin under Auguste Rodin, Emile Bourdelle and Jules Des Bois.15 According to one source, “she received lavish praise from Rodin.”16 Anna was also given the honor of having one of her works, a relief portrait of her husband, accepted for the Paris Salon.
While recuperating from a slight illness in the Black Forest of Germany, Anna suggested that Albert amuse himself by painting the local wildflowers.17 Eventually this became a special study for him. After returning home in November, 1901, Albert reasoned that there were few flower painters and decided to follow that branch of the arts. This interest was what prompted the Valentiens’ first trip to California in 1903. Anna’s brother, Charles Bookprinter, had moved to San Diego about 1887. They stayed with him at the Honey Springs Ranch in Dulzura.18 Albert later wrote, “I had heard so much about the beautiful flowers of that State that I came out all prepared with material to paint them, made a stay of 8 months and finished 130 specimens.”19 These first California flower paintings were exhibited on September 19, 1903, at the State Normal School in San Diego. The following day, the paper remarked, “Perhaps the most admired study was of the pad cactus in flower, and as fiercely thorny as in life. As one small critic said, ‘Look out! it will stick you.’ ” 20
Returning to Cincinnati, the Valentiens resumed their work at the Rookwood Pottery. Finally in August, 1905, both Anna and Albert ended their long association with Rookwood to pursue other interests. Albert had several exhibitions of his flower paintings in Cincinnati which were critically and financially successful. Encouraged, he also exhibited in New York, Washington and Chicago where he met with similar success.
The trip to San Diego had worked its magic, however, and Albert recalled, “We could think of nothing but California and its vast amount of Wild Flowers and lovely climate.”21 In April, 1908, they sold their home and moved to San Diego, purchasing a comfortable bungalow at 3903 Georgia Street where they remained for the rest of their lives. Soon thereafter, Albert exhibited what remained of his eastern work, first in San Diego and later in Los Angeles.
When Albert exhibited his flower studies in San Diego for the first time in 1903, the local paper pointed out that, “He takes the collection of paintings with him to Cincinnati, but those who have seen it think it a great pity so fine a set of studies go out of the state.”22 This was remedied in 1908 when Ellen Browning Scripps commissioned him to paint the wild flowers of California with the intention of publishing the set when completed.23 The original commission was for 1000 sheets, but was later enlarged to 1100 sheets with about 1500 specimens. The content was also expanded to include trees, grasses and ferns.
Alice Rainford, prominent San Diego florist, recalled that the Valentiens had no car when they first arrived in San Diego. She volunteered the use of her newly acquired 2-cylinder Maxwell to help Anna gather the flowers necessary for Albert’s paintings.24 Later, when the Valentiens had their own automobile, Anna strapped two covered boxes to the running boards to hold the flowers which were packed in newspaper. Among Anna’s papers is the note “It seemed to me that I could spot a new specimen no matter how fast the car would go.”25 Albert was to spend much of the next ten years of his life on the Scripps project.
Before leaving Cincinnati, Anna had started to study different crafts such as metalwork and textiles. She continued this interest in San Diego. Among other things, she designed and executed custom jewelry for J. Jessop and Sons, a prominent local jeweler.26 But, after so many years in the pottery business, the Valentiens soon realized that they could not give it up completely. About 1910 they decided to open their own pottery in San Diego.
There had been talk of starting a pottery in San Diego as early as 1875, when the editor of the San Diego Union visited a pottery started by a Mr. Norcross in Riverside, California and reported that San Diego should have a pottery also. In 1885, just north of San Diego, the Elsinore Pottery and Fire Clay Company was incorporated with stock taken by the citizens of Elsinore.28 A shipment of Elsinore clay was sent to an unidentified eastern pottery and there made into articles of very high quality.29 Manufactured articles of Elsinore pottery were sold from a store in San Diego.30 Since the Elsinore company is never referred to as an art pottery, it is assumed that their production was commercial ware (pipe, tile, crockery, etc.), although some decorative pieces could also have been made.
Important news to ceramicists came in 1886 when State Mineralogist Hanks discovered feldspar and pegmatite in San Diego County. These minerals are used in the manufacture of the finest kinds of pottery and porcelain. According to the paper, “Professor Hanks states that the feldspar and the pegmatite evidently exist in large quantities in San Diego and as California also produces the finest clay, there is no reason why this State should not manufacture the best and finest pottery and porcelain, which is now imported from Europe. Mr. Hanks has notified the principal potters in the State of his discovery.” 31
The first to experiment with San Diego’s ceramic resources were Professor Henri Fairweather and his wife, M. Wilfrida Fairweather. The Fairweathers constructed a kiln at their home, 241 17th Street, in 1888, and christened it “The New Palissy” after a famous French ceramic artist.32 Although their equipment was crude, they were able to turn out a number of experimental pieces of surprisingly good quality. By 1890, one “expert” was predicting that San Diego could become the pottery capital of America, exceeding both Cincinnati, Ohio, and Trenton, New Jersey, in the production of high quality pottery and porcelain.33 Unfortunately, this and many other bubbles of optimism burst with the economic depression of the 1890’s.
It seems likely that Albert Valentien knew of these early experiments in the far southwestern corner of the United States. An unidentified source states that, “A. R. Valentine is planning to build an art pottery in Southern California and mentions the Elsinore Clay as being very beautiful and pliable.”34 It is possible that the unidentified “eastern pottery” which received the shipment of Elsinore clay was none other than Rookwood. In any event, the Valentiens were well aware of the ceramic potential of San Diego County. With the backing of local banker, Joseph W. Sefton, Jr., they established a pottery on the northeast corner of Texas Street and University Avenue, a few blocks east of their home.35 Irving Gill, noted San Diego architect, drew up plans for a simple board and batten cottage on the site in October of 1910. This was followed by the designs for the pottery buildings in March of 1911.36 The plant included a kiln, storage room, decorating room and showroom.
Besides Anna and Albert, the pottery had at least two other employees, Arthur Dovey and Martin Sorenson. Dovey knew the Valentiens from the Rookwood Pottery where he had been employed as a turner in 1890.37 In 1909, Dovey moved to Arkansas where he was employed at the Niloak Pottery. Since both Anna and Albert were decorators, an experienced potter was necessary for the new operation. The Valentiens contacted Dovey at Niloak and Sefton provided the funds necessary to move his family to San Diego where they arrived in February of 1911. Sorenson worked for the Russ Lumber and Mill Company, and was employed on an irregular basis at the pottery. Years later, after Albert’s death, Sorenson still visited Anna and helped her around the yard and studio.
The ceramic work produced by the Valentiens in San Diego was marked with a California poppy in a rectangular cartouche with a “V” and “P” on either side of the stem. This mark is sometimes accompanied by a number prefixed with a “Z” which was used to indicate pieces decorated in low relief. The Valentien Pottery Company shape book records the outlines of forty-three basic shapes and another forty-seven shapes with the “Z” designation. Occasionally, a piece was hand signed “AMV” or “ARV” to indicate that it was the original work of Anna Marie or Albert Robert Valentien. Many of the pieces have an Art Nouveau flavor with swirling plant forms, peacock feathers, dragonflies or fish as design elements. Anna executed several pieces with sculptured human figures incorporated into the design.38
A notice in the November, 1901, issue of California Garden indicates that the Valentien pottery also produced vases for the San Diego Floral Association. Apparently, it was feared that they would not arrive in time for an exhibition, but “… the men at the Valentine pottery got them out (of the kiln) at the sacrifice of their eyebrows and with limbs swathed in gunny sacks.”39 These vases, which were hand turned, are simple cylinders in four sizes with a thin green glaze. Remaining examples are marked: SAN DIEGO FLORAL ASS’N.
Unfortunately, San Diego’s first true art pottery was short lived.40 Production seems to have started in 1911 when Arthur Dovey was recorded in the City Directory as a pottery manufacturer at 3911 Texas Street, residing at the same address (no doubt the original cottage). There was no listing at all in the 1912 Directory, but a letter from Sefton to Fred H. Robertson in March of that year reads in part, “I will be very pleased to talk pottery to your father when we open up again, the plant being closed down now for about six months owing to some delay in receiving machinery.”41 The only reference for the plant itself was in the 1913 Directory in the classified section under Pottery Manufacturers where it was listed as: “Sefton J W jr, University av ne cor Texas” and the Valentiens were mentioned that year as artists for Sefton. There were no further listings for the pottery. As the surrounding area became more developed, the residents complained about the smoke from the kiln. The operation was soon discontinued, and by the end of 1913 the plant was being dismantled.42
Financially difficult times followed the Valentiens’ unsuccessful pottery venture. To enable her husband to continue working on the Scripps commission, Anna started a career in education. At first, she was instructor of Elementary Manual Training and Arts and Crafts at the San Diego State Normal School from 1914 to 1916. She listed her skills as: wood carving, weaving, beadwork, modeling, metal craft, leather craft, basketry, jewelry, batik, glista glass, macrame, wicker work, oil painting, and ink drawing.43 Handcrafted copper items were popular at this time and Anna taught her students how to raise objects from flat sheets of the metal, and then create designs by etching them with acid. She also taught them how to make coiled baskets using needles from local Torrey pines, and how to carve decorative panels from pieces of mahogany and other exotic woods.
Along with teaching others, Anna continued to receive critical acclaim for her own work whenever she exhibited. At the Panama California Exposition in San Diego in 1915 she was awarded a collaborative gold medal for an Arts and Crafts exhibit which included some of the San Diego pottery, leather, jewelry, china, and modeling. Albert, who at the time of the Exposition was the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego Art Association, received a silver medal, presumably for his painting. The following year, Anna received two gold medals, one for a modeled bust, and the second for another crafts exhibit. Albert was selected to be one of four judges for the 1916 Exposition. At the Sacramento State Fair in 1919, Anna’s two batik opera bags won the highest award and the cash prize.44
In September 1917, Anna started teaching crafts at the San Diego Evening High School. One of her pupils was a mischievous young fellow by the name of Donal Hord, who was recovering from rheumatic fever contracted in the damp climate of Seattle. He could not attend regular school, but since he lived close to the high school, he attended Anna’s decorative pottery class in the evenings. Donal soon became bored with teacups and vases and asked Anna if she could teach him the techniques of sculpture. Since sculpture had always been a favorite study of hers, she was more than willing to instruct him in the basic fundamentals of modeling and three dimensional form. Soon, the other students wanted to learn sculpture also. By the time the administration finally found out what had happened to their pottery class, they were so pleased with the results that they decided to keep the class.45 Donal Hord and Anna Valentien developed a warm friendship which lasted until her death. He would frequently visit her classes long after his reputation as an important sculptor was made.
As the wild flower painting for the Scripps project progressed, Albert’s work became known both to local art circles and also to local plant enthusiasts. Albert soon met San Diego’s prominent horticulturist Kate Sessions and the two became fast friends. If Kate had a plant she thought Albert might like she would haul it to his house and ask, “Val, where shall we put this?” Albert was active in the San Diego Floral Association and designed the first flower cover for their magazine California Garden. He also designed their award medal, which depicts a chocolate bell, as well as other medals and trophies that were executed by local jewelers.46
Albert worked on the Scripps commission while the wildflowers were in bloom and on other paintings the rest of the time. Botanists at the University of California identified the specimens to insure accuracy. Mrs. Frederick Remington, wife of the popular western artist, owned fifty sheets of his studies and another fifty-three were purchased for the State Library at Sacramento. When the Scripps work was finally completed, Ellen Scripps decided against publishing the paintings explaining that such a venture would be too expensive. Albert had executed the work at a very reasonable price with the idea that a book would help make him known as a flower painter. Although he continued to be active in the local art community, he never completely recovered from the disappointment.47 A heart attack ended his life on the evening of August 5, 1925. Eventually, the flower paintings, comprising twenty-two volumes of fifty sheets each, were given to the San Diego Museum of Natural History.48
In 1926, Anna accompanied her two most promising sculpture students, Donal Hord and Mabel Fairfax Smith (Karl), and another local sculptor, James Tank Porter, to Santa Barbara where the group studied bronze casting at the School of the Arts under Archibald Dawson from Glasgow, Scotland. Dawson was so impressed with the young Hord’s training and natural talent that he asked Hord to return to Glasgow with him. Donal declined, and chose instead to remain in Santa Barbara. He later won two Gould travel scholarships, one to Mexico City, and another to Philadelphia and New York, before returning to San Diego.
Anna’s students remember her as a warm and understanding person. After a serious illness in her youth she became a Christian Scientist, but never tried to force her ideas or beliefs on anyone. She was patient and lenient, and when some of the students became carried away with telling jokes, she would ignore them as long as possible and then simply say, “I think you’d better go take a walk.” Being particularly sensitive to the needs of handicapped students she usually had several in her classes. Mary Henderson, a blind girl, produced exceptional work, and Donal Hord’s heart condition brought on by his rheumatic fever greatly limited his physical capabilities.
Never wishing to compete with her husband, Anna usually displayed her work in the women’s section of exhibitions. Also for this reason, she never really pursued the art of painting until after Albert had died. Believing it was never too late to learn a little more, Anna, at age sixty-five, began to study oil painting under Otto H. Schneider in the late 1920’s. At the San Diego Art Academy exhibit in 1932, one of her paintings won a bronze medal in the Northridge award competition. She also exhibited at the San Diego Women’s Club in 1935.
After retiring from teaching in June of 1938, Anna taught some private classes at her home and also allowed interested students to use her studio facilities. Late in life, she began to suffer from cataracts. An operation in 1945 was not very successful, and she found it difficult to continue working. Her vision was so impaired that she could read only with a magnifying glass. On August 25, 1947, at the age of eighty-five, Anna passed away in the bungalow that had been her home for nearly forty years.
On the occasion of her retirement from teaching, Anna received a letter from Will C. Crawford, Superintendent of Schools, which reads in part: “I wish that our appreciation might be expressed in terms of some fine material reward. However, in the teaching profession you realize full well that this reward will come chiefly through the lives of students who have grown under your influence and guidance.” Anna’s teaching touched the lives of countless eager students, but particularly helped shape the career of Donal Hord. Donal never forgot his first teacher, and when Anna’s modeling class was due to be discontinued in 1934, he wrote to the local paper:
San Diego, as represented by the high minded directors of some of our local educational institutions, seems to make a new and ironical jest of governmental policies. At this time when our national government invests in art and the chairman of the art movement, Edward Bruce, concludes a letter with the following statement: “The art of every country remains in the last analysis, the true measure of its civilization,” our San Diego night school is permitting its 17-year-old modeling class, under direction of Mrs. A. M. Valentien, to be discarded and more than 25 students to disband.
As a sculptor who received his first training in that class, I wish to voice a protest against the person or persons responsible for this direct slap at one of the fine arts. It would be enlightening to know why a class that has survived 17 years as the only class of its kind, under an able teacher in San Diego, should be disbanded. One is led to assume that our proponents of culture are cultureless; that those who have charge of our night schools and extension courses for adults, have sadly neglected to broaden their own outlook. Walter Hepner, to quote a recent article, finds that the three R’s are no longer enough to teach in the schools. So the fault must be local. Is it in the night school?
Personally speaking, I received better basic instruction in the night school under Mrs. Valentien, than I have found in the Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia, the School of the Arts in Santa Barbara and several other centers. Thus it seems criminal to deprive those who wish to study sculpture of the only thorough and inexpensive course obtainable in the city. To deprive students of this course is a slap at them, at the arts and at some of the present policies of the government. It should be made plain to those responsible that the dispersing of more than 25 people in a 17-year-old class in the fine arts is a direct blow at the culture that our school directors are paid to superintend and to foster.49
Loyalty such as this is typical of Anna’s pupils, many of whom still have objects of copper or wood fashioned in her classes which continue to enrich their lives, and attest to the educational abilities and personal warmth of “Mrs. Valentien.”
The Valentiens’ legacy to the world of art is one of quality and variety. Together, they were proficient in nearly all aspects of both fine and decorative arts. Their work for Rookwood Pottery is housed in museums all over the world and helped give the pottery its outstanding reputation. The San Diego pottery, almost forgotten today, is considered by one authority to be one of the important, although somewhat elusive, American art potteries.50
Albert’s flower paintings are testimony to his abilities as an artist and observer of nature. Each study displays a sensitivity to color, line and form that is refreshing and original, yet still very accurate. It is difficult to believe that such high quality work could be carried through so many studies. The flowers look freshly picked and the cactus look as thorny today as they did seventy-five years ago, prompting that youthful critic’s warning, “Watch out! it will stick you.”
This paper would have been impossible without the enthusiastic help of Anna Valentien’s grandniece. She provided most of the original material used as well as referrals to other persons who might have information. She was kind enough to look over the original draft of the manuscript and pointed out several errors.
Thanks are also due Anna’s students and friends, all of whom were willing to share their memories of her, and were helpful in verifying documents and identifying photographs:
Elizabeth (Hoops) Oliver—studied modeling and casting with Anna starting in 1918.
Violet Beck—enrolled in Anna’s basketry class around 1926.
Elaine Trowbridge—studied modeling, wood carving, and metal craft with Anna from the early 1930’s “until the Friday before the War.”
Lester Jaussaud—studied sculpture in the mid-1930’s.
Jeanne Rimmer—never met Anna, but was part of a group of students allowed to use the studio at her home after she retired.
Homer Dana—Donal Hord’s friend and assistant, who knew both Anna and Albert, and recalled many stories about them and their relation to Donal Hord.
Also thanks to Arthur Dovey’s granddaughters, Elva Ward and Ida Mae Milot.
The author would encourage any persons owning pieces of the San Diego Valentien pottery to consider them for donation to the San Diego Historical Society where they can become part of a study collection.
1. There is some confusion in the spelling of the name “Valentien.” The name was originally “Valentine” and was changed to “Valentien” possibly after Albert’s first visit to Europe. With the exception of quotations, the later more common spelling will be that used in this article. The Valentiens were also known as “Val” and “Mrs. Val” by their intimates.
2. Herbert Peck, The Book of Rookwood Pottery (New York: Bonanza Books, 1968), p. 4.
3. Ibid, p. 5.
4. For further information on these two artists see: Martin E. Petersen, “Contemporary Artists of San Diego,” The Journal of San Diego History, XVI (Fall, 1970), pp. 3 and 8.
5. Much of the biographical information about Albert and Anna comes from notes which are still in the possession of Anna Valentien’s grandniece, who also supplied many of the photographs for this article. Hereinafter this material will be referred to as ARV Notes (Albert), and AMV Notes (Anna). This information is verified by other published and original sources.
6. Paul Evans, Art Pottery of the United States (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), “Coultry Pottery,” p. 66. This book is a basic text for any study of the American art pottery movement.
7. Peck, Rookwood Pottery, p. 16.
8. ARV Notes.
9. AMV Notes. For more information on the Matt Morgan Pottery see Evans, Art Pottery, p. 165.
10. Peck, Rookwood Pottery, p. 37.
11. Ibid, p. 46.
12. From the Daily Inter Ocean, August 9, 1893, p. 2.
“The Ariadne of Mrs. Anna M. Valentine, however, is the most beautiful, as it is the most ambitious work not only in the Cincinnati room but in the entire Woman’s building. It is the nude figure of a young girl half reclining. The face is upturned and the hands uplifted. The expression is that which has come upon the face when she first becomes conscious that she is alone but before she has realized the grief and shame which the perfidy of Theseus have brought upon her—an expression of pain, wonder, and bewilderment. It is the work of a sculptor and a genius.”
Mary H. Krout
13. AMV Notes. The present whereabouts of the “Ariadne” and the “Hero Waiting for Leander” is not known.
14. ARV Notes.
15. AMV Notes.
16. San Diego Union, August 26, 1947.
17. San Diego Union, August 6, 1925.
18. Charles Bookprinter was listed in the City Directory as residing in Dulzura from 1901 to 1906.
19. ARV Notes. These first California studies are now in the Library of the Cincinnati Art Museum, and consist of 136 sheets in a portfolio.
20. San Diego Union, September 19, 1903.
21. ARV Notes.
22. San Diego Union, September 19, 1903.
23. ARV Notes. It has previously been suggested that the reason the Valentiens moved to San Diego was the Scripps commission. This is proven incorrect by Albert’s note: “I was here but a short time when entirely unexpected I was given the commission by Miss E. B. S. to paint the wild flowers of California.”
24. Letter published in California Garden, February-March, 1970, p. 12.
25. AMV Notes.
26. A letter of recommendation, dated November 15, 1913, from Armand Jessop to the County Board of Education indicates that she had worked for J. Jessop & Sons for about five years.
27. San Diego Union, December 4, 1875.
28. Ibid., February 24, 1885 and April 2, 1885.
29. Ibid., February24, 1885.
30. Ibid., November 1, 1885 and November 4, 1885. Mr. J. S. Buck was selling Elsinore pottery from a store at the northwest corner of 5th and K Streets.
31. Ibid., May 28, 1886.
32. Ibid., October 24, 1888.
33. The San Diego Union of April 18,1890, contained an article on San Diego’s potential as a pottery center, quoting Mr. Vincent de Gernon, an artist, as their expert.
34. Evans, Art Pottery, p. 294.
35. Joseph Sefton, Jr. was a native of Ohio, and may have known the Valentiens there. An unidentified clipping indicates that Anna executed a plaque in memory of Holly Sefton which was no doubt intended for the Holly Sefton Memorial Children’s Hospital in Balboa Park. This building, designed by Irving Gill in 1909, is now demolished.
36. The plans for these structures are on file with the Irving Gill collection at the Art Galleries of the University of California in Santa Barbara: Operation #138 (cottage) 10/28/10 -10/31/10, and #138b (pottery plant) 3/1/11 – 3/2/11.
37. Peck, Rookwood Pottery, p. 59.
38. The only known public collection which contains an example of the San Diego Valentien pottery is the Oakland Museum which has an important collection of California art pottery. Three pieces were shown at the “California Design 1910” exhibit at the Pasadena Center in the Fall of 1974.
39. California Garden, November, 1911, p. 15.
40. The only other acknowledged art pottery in San Diego County was the Markham Pottery Company of National City. Herman and Kenneth Markham first started the pottery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but moved to National City in 1913. The Markhams used the facilities of the California China Products company to produce their ware. Markham pottery won a gold medal at the 1915 Exposition in San Diego, and was in operation until 1921. The San Diego Fine Arts Gallery has a representative collection of Markham ware. For further information see Evans, Rookwood Pottery, pp. 161-163.
41. Quoted from Ibid., p. 295. Fred H. Robertson and his father, Alexander, were important figures in the art pottery movement in America. Alexander had founded the predecessor of the Chelsea Keramic Art Works (Massachusetts) in 1866 and the Roblin Art Pottery ( San Francisco) in 1898, and Fred started the Robertson Pottery (Los Angeles) around 1906.
42. Anna’s niece, who arrived from the east in November, 1913, remembers that the pottery was being dismantled at this time. One of Anna’s notes reads: “We also ran a Pottery for a short time unfortunately we started in a residential district and had to discontinue on account of the smoke. We turned out some very nice ware. Exhibited some at the Pan Calif Expo 1915 along with arts Crafts…”
Another important ceramic project from this period needs to be mentioned. Walter Nordhoff, president of the California China Products Company of National City, has always been credited with producing the tiles for the domes of the California Building in Balboa Park. A number of Anna’s students, however, indicate that they were under the impression that the tiles were the work of the Valentiens. One student recalls that Anna had claimed that she and Albert specially developed the yellow and blue glazes for the tiles. It seems unlikely that the Valentien/Sefton pottery plant could have handled a contract of such size. More likely is the possibility that the Valentiens, with their vast knowledge of ceramic decoration, were employed by Nordhoff, a relative newcomer to the pottery business, to develop some of the glaze colors. This is all speculation as no documentation has been found.
43. AMV Notes.
44. ARV and AMV Notes, also American Art Annual 1923-24, Vol. XX.
45. This episode was related to the author by Homer Dana, Donal Hord’s life-long friend and assistant.
46. Letter from Alice Rainford published in California Garden, February-March, 1970, p. 12.
47. Interview with Homer Dana, September 20, 1977.
48. The Scripps paintings have had an interesting history. As they were completed, Albert apparently turned them over to Ellen Scripps who kept them in her home in La Jolla. In 1915 a deranged employee set her house on fire, but fortunately the flower paintings were kept in a fire-proof addition to the house, and thus survived unharmed. Alice Rainford recalled that they were in Miss Scripps’ library at the Bishop’s School for a time, possibly while the new Scripps home was being constructed. Ellen Scripps wanted the paintings to go to the Natural History Museum, but not until the new fireproof facility was completed. The new building was finished after her death, and her nephew, Robert P. Scripps, then gave the volumes to the museum. They have since been re-bound. Each month the museum displays some of the paintings of plants that would be blooming at that particular time of year.
49. San Diego Union, January 29, 1934.
50. Evans, Art Pottery, p. 294.