Introducing the collection

The single most important bequest made to the University of Michigan Museum of Art is that of Margaret Watson Parker. Her donation of 679 examples of Japanese woodblock prints, Asian ceramics, sculpture, etchings and lithographs by James McNeill Whistler, and Pewabic Pottery came to the Museum between 1937 and 1955. The Parker bequest was central to the formation of the Museum of Art, which became a distinct administrative unit of the University in 1946. [1]

The first installment of the Parker bequest, a collection of forty Pewabic vessels, arrived at the University in 1937. [2] Additional Pewabic vessels were transferred later. Today the Museums collection of Pewabic Pottery consists of forty-six vessels and five tiles; forty-five of the vessels are part of the Parker Bequest. This is the first exhibition of the entire Pewabic Pottery holdings of the Museum of Art, the best documented and most comprehensive of any public collection of Pewabic Pottery. [3]

Pewabic Pottery was organized at the turn of this century as an artistic outgrowth of a kiln business partnership between Horace James Caulkins (1850-1923) and Mary Chase Perry (1867-1961). [4] Caulkins was the high-heat and kiln specialist, and Perry the artistic and marketing force. Pewabic Pottery was a significant manifestation of the International Arts and Crafts Movement in Michigan.

Horace Caulkins and Mary Chase Stratton