Founded in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1880s...
The original J.A. Bauer Pottery Company was a local favorite for a good reason: their sturdy whiskey jugs rarely shattered when dropped.
The company relocated to Los Angeles in 1909, where it thrived as another local favorite for over half a century. The first American pottery company to break with traditional white tableware in post-depression 1930's, Bauer's uplifting and boldly colored line -- a nod to the Southern California weather & lifestyle -- turned them into a national powerhouse.
Until times changed, that is. By 1962, sales went flatline and the company was forced to close its doors. The eighty year ride was over.
Or so it seemed.
~ Los Angeles, California ~
A collector saves the day.
Vintage Bauer, a longtime favorite of artists and designers, was soon reborn as a fashionable collector's item. One enthusiast, in particular, would ultimately prove integral to Bauer's eventual rebirth:
London-born San Diegan Janek Boniecki.
An avid collector since the early ‘80’s, Janek's passion for all things Bauer led to consideration of a bold undertaking: an homage in the form of reproducing the beloved line… himself. Surprised and thrilled to discover that the original Bauer trademark had lapsed and was his for the taking, he took it as a sign his new endeavor was meant to be.
Using his own personal collection as models, Janek hired skilled ceramists to create new molds and meticulously replicate the original designs and colors by hand. Christened “Bauer 2000”, he quietly opened his doors in 1999 and hoped for the best.
He need not have worried. The ensuing results quickly delighted longtime collectors & new fans alike, and the Bauer Pottery Company officially roared back to life after a thirty seven year hiatus. As it turns out, both in name… and spirit.
In a nod to the company's storied past, the new Bauer Atwater Village warehouse/showroom (well worth a visit for its stunning array of pieces in all their reproduced vintage glory) is located just a stone's throw from the original 1909 factory. "That pleases me to no end", Janek told us. But then, he let us in on something else truly astonishing about the location.
It's a twist of fate worthy of a 1940s Hollywood picture.
From his second story office window, he points outside. "Look there." What we get is an expansive view of Forest Lawn Cemetery. With an understated grin (and a flair for drama), Janek singles out one particular gravestone in the near distance. "That... is where J.A. Bauer himself was laid to rest in 1923."
Quietly, he adds, "I always respect the fact he's out there."
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