Monday, February 9, 2015

Famous Norristown Artist - Who Knew?

Ask around town and most people will tell you this whole concept of Norristown as arts community is a relatively new one. So today we'll do a short art history lesson.

My best friend works at an auction house. Last week she sent me this photo of a biscuit jar they received. It's going up for auction on February 17th. The reason she thought I'd like to see it was the signature on the bottom.
I did a little research and found that Mary Blanche Lenzi had been a very well-known artist who hand-painted French Limoges china around the year 1900, and was much in demand for her paintings of Victorian roses. She lived and worked in Norristown.

It was very common then for rich folks to purchase blank dishes, jars, teapots, etc. and have an artist handpaint and fire them. Or the artists would purchase the blanks, paint them and sell them in stores or out of their own homes.

I wasn't able to find out more about Mary Blanche Lenzi's life, but I did find dozens of photos of her works, which are absolutely stunning. She sometimes signed them with her initials, but very often as she signed the jar above, adding "Norristown, PA" with her distinctive capital T (she certainly wasn't ashamed to be from N-Town). Her works these days go for about $300-$500 each.

So here are some of her flowers to cheer you all on this dismal day and remind you that spring isn't far away. And to remind you also that some beautiful artwork came out of Norristown in the past and will again.

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