Rare Stoneware Acrobat Jug Gifted To NYS Museum

ALBANY, N.Y. — A 4-gallon stoneware jug depicting acrobats manufactured by Fulper Bros in Flemington, N.J., during the 1880s is now part of the New York State Museum’s Weitsman Collection of American Stoneware. On display at the State Museum, the historically significant piece of stoneware was recently acquired for the museum by stoneware collector and benefactor Adam Weitsman. 

The acrobat jug, a sought-after example of decorated American stoneware, has been breaking stoneware record prices at auction for decades and Weitsman had wanted the piece for more than 30 years. He recently purchased the jug from Allan Katz Americana.

“This iconic piece of Americana now joins the nation’s most important collection of decorated American stoneware at the New York State Museum,” said State Museum Director Mark Schaming. “Through Adam Weitsman’s visionary acquisitions and generosity this extraordinary, singular collection is now available for all New Yorkers to appreciate.”

Abraham Fulper produced an assortment of earthenware, stoneware and tile products at his Flemington pottery in the 1860s and 1870s. After his death, his sons continued the pottery and during the 1880s the company became known as Fulper Bros or Fulper Bros & Co.  Fulper Bros stoneware often featured unusual decorations. The acrobats on this jug may have been inspired by a traveling circus or performers at the nearby annual agricultural Flemington Fair.

The acrobat jug is on view at the museum, along with 40 other pieces of the Weitsman stoneware collection, and will be featured in a forthcoming book, Art For the People: Decorated Stoneware from the Weitsman Collection by John Scherer, curator emeritus of the State Museum, that will illustrate some 200 pieces of decorated stoneware donated to the museum by Weitsman since 1996. The collection demonstrates how New York State was a leading manufacturer of stoneware throughout the Nineteenth Century.

The State Museum is at 260 Madison Avenue. For further information, 518-474-5877 or www.nysm.nysed.gov.

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