Antiques

georges briard

By far the most popular post on the blog that I recently lost was the one about Georges Briard, the nom de design of a brilliant mid-century housewares designer. Briard designs were so numerous and were produced for so many years that it’s difficult to get through an entire flea market without seeing something he designed, which makes them great entry-level collectibles. The “he” here refers to Jascha Brojdo, a man of means and impeccable taste. After coming to the United States in 1937, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned his MFA, had a brief acting stint as a Polish prince, and served in World War II as a Russian interpreter. In 1947, he was discharged from the Army and started working in New York with Max Wille, whom he had met in art school. Brojdo began painting metal serving trays for sale, and evidently Wille came up with the name Georges Briard to mark commercial pieces – Brodjo was also a painter and would use his real name on his art pieces, but Georges Briard became his signature as a designer of these commercial articles, which were wildly popular and numerous. In fact, Georges Briard designs graced everything from bent glass dishes to toleware trays to towels to … basically any houseware used in kitchen, dining, or bar (and beyond). He could take inexpensive and common items and assign to them a lovely and innovative design and create something entirely new, and his name was – deservedly so – one of the most sought-after additions to a housewife’s cabinet. There are more companies he designed for and patterns than I could go over here, but I’ll outline a few. One of the designs you’ll see often is the Ambrosia pattern (below), typically on white enamelware:

As far as I know, almost all Georges Briard pieces are signed. Early signatures include an M and W for Max Wille. Briard designs are loosely gridded, integrating organic shapes with geometric patterns. They have a wonderful sense of proportion and balance, like in this common Coq D’or pattern tray I found at PCC several years ago:

Some wonderful things on etsy right now:

$40 on etsy, a really lovely and special piece.

Hyalyn pieces like this, identified by a solid porcelain or bisque with gold façade, are a bit more rare and thus valuable than the more common glass or mosaic pieces.

Forbidden Fruit (below) is another common pattern, often produced on bent glass plates like this one:

Which brings me to one of my favorite pieces:

I found this at the Long Beach flea market a few years ago for about $25. The pattern here is Seascape, and is frequently found on handmade bent glass plates like this one. Glass Guild started selling these lovely plates in about 1957, and they are typically found in opal or clear glass, which is why this blue business caught my eye. In Leslie Piña’s book Designed & Signed, she includes an example of a bent glass plate in “robin’s egg blue” like mine but a quarter of the size, with the notation “made by Glass Guild as a sample and most likely one-of-a-kind.” I haven’t been able to find any other corroborating information about this, and I’ve never seen anything else in this light blue glass. Was this really a sample and not commercially produced, as she suggests? I’m really curious to know if any other blue glass pieces like this exist out there.

Generally, Georges Briard collectibles remain in the realm of very affordable midcentury accessories. They were meant as beautiful but utilitarian objects, so go ahead and use and enjoy them.

in April 25, 2012

Share This Post!

11 Comments

  • Richard Clough January 27, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Most of his glass work was done with clear glass, but I have a 10.5X6.5 inch piece in a much deeper blue, and a 7.5″ square piece in a medium green.

    Reply
  • Shayla G. March 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I collect the butterfly pattern of Georges Briard, with the gold on glass, plus a set of napkins I found on Ebay. I have about 14 small 5-1/2″ plates that I’ve bought over the years, from various locations. On all but a few of the plates, Briard’s signature is near the bottom left of the plate. Plus the pattern has a sunburst on one specific location on the plate. On the other few, the signature is on the lower right, and the sunburst is in a different location. Also, on the former, the B in the signature is slightly taller and narrower than on the other version. I’m wondering if you think these might have been different pressings of the designs, or perhaps one version is authentic, and the other reproductions. I didn’t think he was so valuable to be having fakes made of his stuff. Would love your thoughts.Thanks.

    Reply
    • gary February 10, 2015 at 4:01 am

      I have a plate that i would like to know something about. It has butterflies all around the plate and they are different colors. Will send pick if you give me a email address

      Reply
  • Nick Di Crescenzo March 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Hello,maybe you can help me. I have four Georges Briard strawberry square plates,with his signature on them. I have searched for this same strawberry pattern but came up short. Did find other strawberry patterns but not this one particular. I also have a glass guided one and a butterfly glass,all signed. What I also have are two gold Iberia pattern pieces but can’t find his signature. Can a signature peel off is my question. Also can you tell me what you think there worth. Thank you, Nick Di Crescenzo

    Reply
    • Tara March 1, 2014 at 2:54 am

      Nick,

      I have an oval lidded ovenware dish labeled ‘Strawberry Denim by Georges Briard’ & cannot find the pattern or any strawberry denim name anywhere. It has a red "Japan’ sticker on it. It’s a navy denim pattern with strawberries on white. Is this similar to your plates? Just curious b/c the strawberry patterns I have found are not the ‘denim’ style. Let me know. Thanks, Tara

      Reply
  • Nick Di Crescenzo March 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Can George’s Briard signature peel or come off one of his gold Iberia pieces

    Reply
  • jessica May 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I really have no idea whether or not a signature can come off, but I strongly doubt it could happen with normal wear. The signatures were not applied with any sort of decal as far as I know, but rather painted or printed along with the rest of the pattern. His work was so popular that there were undoubtedly knockoffs, but the lack of a signature or different signatures don’t necessarily indicate fakes. I’m certainly no expert as to value either – searching for the same or similar thing on ebay is about the most accurate way I’ve found to price things. It depends a lot on context, obviously; the same tray can go for double in a retail setting vs. an online auction or flea market. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance!

    Reply
  • Pat Matlock June 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Hi, I’m looking for a Geroges Briard piece for my sister. It’s a large triangular bowl with green apples and green pears on it outlined in black, and it’s gold speckled. If anyone can help me, I’d really appreciate it.

    Sincerely,Pat

    Reply
  • Julie February 6, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I have a small enamelware piece that I have been trying to identify and have been usuccessful so far. It has a pale yellow background color with a “Mexican” motif – sombrerros, catus, peppers, etc. It is a small oval lidded baking dish would probably hold a quart. It is also signed. If anybody has seen a patter like this I’d appreciate any info you have on it. Thanks.

    Julie

    Reply
  • Lisa Taylor September 30, 2015 at 4:31 am

    I have a piece of his with signature that is a smokey black Glass with different gold leaves and flies in it. Is this a common pattern or is it maybe worth more than others?

    Reply
  • Jan Giffey September 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    I have an original etching by G. Briard entitled Glouchester Cathedral. Could this be the same fellow who worked with glass?

    Reply
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *