Cornelius Brauckman, the son of Prussian immigrants, began his independent ceramic studio Grand Feu Art Pottery in late 1912 or early 1913. Brauckman had moved to California by the late 19th century and worked as a farmer, rancher, and prospector. Upon discovering clay deposits on his Redlands property he was inspired to start a pottery studio of his own. He traveled to Illinois in 1909 to learn about ceramics from Chauncey Thomas, one of Charles Binns’ many students. Brauckman even wrote to Binns directly, requesting Binns’ influential book Manual of Practical Potting.
Just a few short years after his travels he had begun producing pottery in his own Los Angeles studio, marked Grand Feu Art Pottery or Brauckman Art Pottery. Grand feu, in French “high-fired,” refers to pottery fired at 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit and is a highly refined stoneware, similar to porcelain but without kaolin (and as a result, not translucent). Brauckman used the designation of grand feu as a way to distinguish his wares from “common” art pottery and publicized his work as in “a class distinctly its own.” The hallmarks of his style are simple shapes with rich, complex, and often subtle glazes with exotic names like Moss, Agate, Multoradii, Sun Rays, and Tiger Eyes.
Brauckman won a gold medal for his pottery at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego and he also participated in the 1916 First Annual Salon of Arts and Crafts in Los Angeles. Exactly how long Grand Feu Art Pottery remained operational is unclear, however his occupation was listed as “pottery” until as late as 1920. Though his studio was relatively short-lived and his output small, his remarkably beautiful and well-made pottery lives on in private and permanent collections and remains highly desirable to collectors on the rare occasions that it surfaces on the secondary market.
Auction Results Grand Feu Art Pottery