Articles - Manufacturers
Friedrich Goldsheider had first established his porcelain and ceramic factory in 1865, in the Bohemian city of Pilsen, where he manufactured tableware and vases. Twenty years later the Goldscheider Manufactory and Majolica Factory was opened in Vienna, specializing in artistic statues.
Figures were made of terracotta in "orientalistic" style, reflecting an interest in the orient then fashionable among artists. Images of African and Arab people and black American youths were prevalent. Subjects ranged from beautiful black women, peddlers, slaves, to water jars. Facial expressions and details such as the folds of the garment were modeled with craftmanship and precision by the artists, who, in the spirit of the increasingly popular Art Nouveau, added to the sculpted figures traditional jewelry. The colors were realistic and applied by hand. Some of the figures were life size statues.
The characteristic Art Nouveau idealization of the female figure was reflected in Goldscheider's work in the three dimensional decorative figurines modeled on vases, lamps, mirrors, boudoir clocks, trays, boxes, wall pictures, etc. Beautiful with luxurious flowing hair, these women figurines were adorned with twigs, leaves and flowers as well as lace fabrics, sculpted into the clay. It is worth mentioning that at that time Goldscheider manufactured in Paris bronze Art Nouveau figurines.
Goldscheider Art Deco figures were typically bolder and more geometric in shape, and painted in brilliant colors. The repertoire now increased to include nudes and cabaret dances, modeled after famous theater and film stars (Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Ginger Rogers, to name but a few). In the mid 1920s, the factory started to produce unique, stylized masks as decorative objects for hanging on the wall. These were designed in red clay, with parts of the mask, such as big hair curls, glazed in vivid colors. Polynesian facial features were prominent among the figures and masks of that period.
In 1939, the Nazis took over the family business in Vienna in their war against the Jews, and the Goldscheiders emigrated to the USA and England. A ceramic factory was opened by the family in Trenton, USA, while in England a partnership with the Mayott company was established. The work produced by that joint business never achieved the same high standards and popularity. Goldscheider closed down in the 1960s, putting an end to 100 years of producing the finest objects of art, which are sought after to this day.
Some of the better known artists working with Goldschider were: - Lorenzl, Podany, Goebel, Tomasch, Weiss, Kostial, Boucher.
The Ukrainian-Austrian sculptor Peter Tereszczuk (1875-1963) had his most actively creative years in Vienna during 1895-1925, and his work reflects the predominant influence of Art Nouveau. The majority of his figurines are cast in bronze. Ivory was sometimes incorporated, usually in the visage and sometimes hands. Tereszczuk's figurines are mostly of small size (9-20 cm).
Mostly his figurines represent folklore images of women and girls going about their daily chores, such as water pumping, sweeping the floor, holding an umbrella, etc. Some of the other subjects are children playing, dancers, Piero the Clown. His statues were sometimes used to decorate objects such as lamps, ink wells, business card trays, etc.
Tereszczuk's figurines were masterly crafted with great attention to detail. Perfectly decorative, they are at the same time true to life. Tereszczuk is appreciated in art books as a highly accomplished sculptor, and his figurines continue to be sought after.
The porcelain company Rosenthal has been based in Selb, Germany, since its creation, in 1897. Initially it focused on tableware, which was elegantly simple and finely made to the highest standards. In time it emerged to be one of the world's finest porcelain and crystal manufacturers in the world. Originally, the products were made in white only, but in 1910, in a design change inspired by Art Nouveau, decorative elements such as hears and cherries were added to give color.
Alt Wien (old Vienna) refers to silverware and porcelain manufactured in Germany and the Austria-Hungary empire from the early part of the 19th Century. The Alt Wien trademark, with its unique beehive form, is easily identifiable on these pieces.
Matsumura was a Japanese ceramic manufacturer, producing pottery ware during the latter part of the 19th Century.
Kaiser Zinn was a German manufacturer of metal and pewter artifacts during the mid 19th Century. It is well known throughout the world for its high standards of work. Many of its products, namely lamps, were designed in the spirit of the Jugendstil style, (German Art Nouveau). The company's trademark usually appears at the bottom of each product.
Scheibe-Alsbach was a porcelain factory in Germany from 1836 to the beginning of World War I. Scheibe-Alsbach artists were renowned for their craftsmanship, and produced porcelain figures to the highest standards. Scheibe-Alsbach specialized, among other things, in making busts and statues of famous poets and composers, and won many international prizes.
The American company Gorham was established in Rode Island in 1831. Initially it made silver spoons but soon expanded to manufacture a full range of silverware. These were made to the highest standards, in both workmanship and design, and in a variety of styles, from Victorian to neo-classical, Japanese and colonial, neo Gothic, and other designs. Products made at the beginning of the 1900s showed the influence of Art Nouveau, followed by Art Deco motifs. Modernist style was introduced in the 1970s.
Gorham imported superior artists and crafters from Europe, and used to receive special orders for unique pieces, which were made outside the process of mass production, such as a tea set for President Lincoln, tableware for the White House, etc. Some of the artists working for Gorham were chosen to design the George Washington statues in the American capital and also the statue of Theodore Roosevelt in New York.
Currently Gorham, still in business, has crystal and porcelain ranges as well as silverware.
The German porcelain manufacturer Goebel started in 1871 as a producer of dishware. Towards the turn of the century it started manufacturing statues, and it soon turned into an exporter of decorative porcelain and ceramic figurines.
What made Goebel a household name was the Hummel figurines line, depicting pretty children in various activities and different garments. Designed after the drawings and paintings of the German nun Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, the line went on sale in 1935 and was in great demand particularly by American collectors. Goebel was also producing Art Deco figurines and porcelain and ceramic masks for hanging on walls, which were popular during the Art Deo years of 1930s and 1940s. The masks production continued through the 1950s. Another motif in the Goebel statuette designs was the various Disney fictional characters.
Capo di Monte
The Capo di Monte factory was set up in Naples in 1743, in the Capo di Monte palace, by the Bourbon king Charles the III, with a view to producing religious artifacts for the royal household. The factory had moved to the area of Madrid in 1759 before returning to Naples after a few years.
The symbol of the factory in its first years was the fleur de lys, soon to be turned into the letter N surmounted with a crown. The Capo di Monte style is characterized by its relief works – reliefs of figures in flesh tints similar to those of the paintings of the old Italian masters. From the beginning of the 19th Century the factory artists also designed white porcelain figures, which were made to the highest standards.
The factory closed in 1834 and its molds were bought by the Italian Doccia manufacturer. There is a current Capo di Monte porcelain factory, but its products have no relation to the original 19th Century products.