Mettlach Vase (No. 2915)
Mettlach (1809–present), a division of Villeroy & Boch (1748–present), Mettlach, Germany
13 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches
The Mettlach pottery, which operated in an old Benedictine abbey in Mettlach, a town of 20 families in western Germany, pioneered several innovations in pottery production. By necessity, Mettlach was forced to use coal, rather than scarce wood, to power its factory, so it created the first coal-powered kiln, which turned out to fire pottery more uniformly than the traditional wood-burning kiln. Mettlach also harnessed the power of the Saar River to turn potters’ wheels and used new techniques in engraving and transfer-printing. Because of its new methods of mass-production, Mettlach was able to create pottery that was cheap enough for the middle class, yet well-designed in the popular styles of the era. Mettlach production was at its pinnacle from 1880 to 1910, using vibrant colors, secret etching and glazing techniques and its 1,250 well-paid and well-trained employees to create pottery that was shown in Paris at the Exposition Universelle in 1900. Mettlach was known for its beer steins of 17th and 18th-century inspiration, but it also created a line of Art Nouveau wares, like this vase. The Art Nouveau pieces were etched with the sinuous designs characteristic of the style, using bold color schemes like the blue, white and gold in this vase’s botanical motif.
Not currently on view
Bottom impressed with 'abbey' mark and "METTLACH VB", ""GES.GESCH"", "REG U.S. PAT OFF", "MADE IN GERMANY", "2915"
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Other Art Nouveau works
Louis Sullivan (1856–1924, American) & Dankmar Adler (1844–1900, German-American)
Baluster from the Chicago Stock Exchange