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Important 20th Century Decorative Arts
12 April 1997
New York, Park Avenue
A RARE STONEWARE VASE
Henry Van de Velde, Designer, Reinhold Hanke, Potter, Keramische Werkstätten Höher-Grenzhausen, circa 1902
Oviform with ribbed bridge-handle, the sand-gray body delicately decorated about the rim and below the handle with a violet-blue band, the lower body with a finely speckled glaze, impressed with the designer's monogram and potter's mark
9½in. (24.1cm.) high, 7½in. (19cm.) wide, 5¼in. (13.3cm.) deep
cf. Decorative Kunst, 7, Munich, 1904, p. 325; Wolf D. Pecher, Henry van de Velde Das Gesamtwerk, Gestaltung, Band 1, 1981, p. 180, pl. 4208 and Klaus-Jürgen Sembach, Birgid Schulte, Henry van de Velde, 1992, p. 304 for similar examples of the vase.
Henry van de Velde (1863 - 1957) was perhaps one of the most prolific architects and designers of the Belgian-German Art Nouveau period. Famous for his architectural commissions, Van de Velde also became known for his avant garde designs which were praised by the literary genius of the period, Friedrich Nietzsche. Known as the 'thinking artist', Van de Velde, like Peter Behrens, tried to overcome the Historismus period and develop a new form-language, soon to be known as Jugendstil or Art Nouveau. In addition to his design of furniture, silver and fabric designs, Van de Velde experimented with the design of stoneware vessels.
In 1901-1902, Van De Velde searched for a craftsman who could skillfully execute these designs. With the appointment of the 26 year old Reinhold Hanke, Van de Velde found a willing and enthusiastic partner. Hanke had inherited a small stoneware factory from his father in the German town of Höhr-Grenzhausen, which primarily produced traditional commemorative mugs, Prunkhumpen. Hanke, who was a fine craftsman, skillfully executed Van de Velde's complex designs and produced a number of vessels which were first exhibited at the 1902 Deutsch-Nationalen Kunstausstellung in Düsseldorf.
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