This long-necked bottle has a matte glaze of tans, brown, and orange. It also has a raised pattern that at first looks like a craquelure pattern.
Ann Arbor-based Markham Pottery began when Herman C. Markham, a traveling salesman and a devoted grower of roses, found that he could not get an adequate supply of vases that kept the water cool enough to keep the blooms of his roses fresh. In the mid-1880s, he began working with the clay in his yard to create utilitarian vases whose understated beauty enhanced, rather than competed, with his roses. By 1905, Markham was joined in the enterprise by his son Kenneth. The pottery that the Markhams developed consisted of a low-fired ceramic body based on classical forms decorated with a distinctive webbing of low relief clay that is part of the mold. Usually fired with matte glazes in earthen colors and stains, the delicacy of Markham ware made their products quite popular.
In 1913, the Markhams moved their pottery to National City, California, near San Diego. There they could take advantage of workspace provided for them at the plant of the California China Products Company. The numbers of works produced by Markham Pottery was not as great as some potteries; the company ceased production in 1921.
Bust-length portrait of figure in black on green background using thickly applied paint.
One of a number of figurative pieces produced by Johnson, who while using expressionist techniques, was one of few artists depicting figurative subjects during a pro-Abstract Expressionist period. Gestural but representational, this work nonetheless contains many of the characteristics of Abstract Expressionism, especially the thick application of paint and the sense of the artist’s hand in the creation of the work.