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 Maria Longworth Nichols Storer  (1849 - 1932)



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Lived/Active: Ohio / France      Known for: ceramics, painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Copper panel embossed with seahorses and crabs with bejeweled eyes
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Founder of the Rookwood Pottery Company in Cincinnati in 1880, Maria Storer was a ceramist and painter who trained at the Cincinnati Art Academy with Thomas Noble and at the Cincinnati Museum with Frank Duveneck.  She studied in Paris and exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1880 and won 100 medals for pottery.  Previous to that she had exhibited her work at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and at this event, she became very impressed with the Japanese ceramics that she saw.

She was a member of the wealthy Longworth family of Cincinnati, the daughter of Joseph Longworth, and began her art career at home painting china patterns on porcelain.  She took advantage of her father's offer of an old schoolhouse that he had bought at a sheriff's sale, and it was here that Rookwood Pottery was created with the first work being completed on November 27, 1880---Thanksgiving Day.  She received much publicity, both for the quality of the work and for the fact that it was a woman's business.   Her pottery was inspired by her love of Japanese motifs, and she did many designs on vases such as spider webs, flying bats, owls on tree limbs and marine life.

In 1885, she was widowed from George Ward Nichols, who died of tuberculosis, and in 1886, she married Bellamy Storer, a lawyer who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as Ambassador to Belgium in 1896, Spain in 1899 and Austria-Hungary in 1902.  Four years after this marriage, she took up easel painting and sold the Pottery Company, which at that time had become award winning.  In 1900, the company was declared the 'finest pottery in the world' with the winning of the Grand Prix at the Paris Universal Exposition.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

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