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American Indian Pitcher by Edward Kemeys

Posted Friday, September 01 by Brian

I have a clay pitcher from Burley & Co.- Chicago, Il. Entitled American Indian Pitcher, model by Edward Kemeys, made by Joseph Green, Ottawa, Il. This has been in my family for a long time,.Can you Help me find out about it and if it has any value? Thanks so much. Dorothea
American Indian Pitcher.jpg
I love this pitcher. The artist who modeled the piece from which the pitcher was made is Edward Kemeys(1843-1907). Kemeys is a well listed American Sculptor who worked primarily in bronze. His specialty is sculpting animals. Probably the most famous are the lions in front of Chicago's Art Institute. He also has pieces in Central Park in New York, Philadelphia's Fairmont Park, Union Pacific Railroad bridge in Omaha, and the bronze plaques of indians in the Marquette building in Chicago.

According to the Art Institute of Chicago's web site, the redware pitcher was probably made after the Columbian Expostion of 1893, where Kemeys had 12 works exhibited. The pitcher was part of a 2003 exhibit entitled, "Window on the West: Chicago and the Art of the New Frontier, 1890–1940".

Burley & Company, which commissioned the Columbus Pitcher and the Chicago Pitcher, may have approached Kemeys during the Fair about doing a piece for them. This is an educated guess on my part, not something I have documented.

For a more complete biography go to

As to value, 3 of the pitchers came up for auction last year. I could not get a selling price for one of them. One sold on Ebay for $345 and the other sold for $110 in a Civil War related auction, even though it was estimated at $250-$450. Kemeys had been an officer during the Civil War.

My guess is that the estimate of $250-$450 is reasonable. The pitcher that sold for $110 was sold "as is" with no return privelige, even though no flaws were mentioned. It isn't always easy, or even possible, to put an exact figure on a piece of art.

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