Reviving a classic pottery art form, this amphora vase has a round, ball shape that narrows at the neck before slightly widening again at the rim. Hard earthenware provides the base. The hand painted, two dimensional, multi-colored garden plants, borders, and a plethora of owls add life and zest. The vase has five pairs of brown, orange, and white owls. Sharp delineations are made between the segments that compose each image, hearkening back to ancient Greco-Roman styles of ceramic ware. The contrast of glossy enamelware with a more rooted backdrop creates a bold aesthetic that combines the best of Art Nouveau and ancient qualities. Impressed marks underfoot: AMPHORA / Made in Czechoslovakia [in two ovals].
The Riessner, Stellmacher and Kessel Amphora Porcelain Works (RStK) was founded in 1892. This original Amphora factory was located in Turn-Teplitz, Austria (now the Czech Republic). Porcelain manufactories found the region advantageous because local riverbeds provided an abundant supply of kaolin, the essential ingredient of porcelain, and the rivers themselves were handy sources of energy. When originally incorporated, Amphora imitated the Orientalist and Neo-Baroque styles favored by Alfred Stellmacher. Thanks to skilled designers like Eduard Stellmacher, Paul Dachsel and a host of decorators from the Special Ceramics School of Teplitz, Amphora quickly developed a unique genre of Art Nouveau ceramics. What unified its output was an unparalleled concern for fine design and the use of Alfred Stellmacher's "ivory porcelain," a matte yellowish material that was malleable, yet resistant to high temperatures. Amphora's stylistic diversity, combined with its unwavering standard of quality, made it a world leader among industrial manufacturers of art pottery. RStK’s innovative pieces earned international acclaim almost immediately. After winning prizes at both the Chicago and St. Louis World’s Fairs, exclusive establishments, including Tiffany & Co., marketed them in the U.S. Following RStK’s success, many other potteries imitated their style and used the marking Amphora. This piece is post-WWI since it is labeled Czechoslovakia, not Austria. Today, they remain highly collectible.
H: 15 ¼ in (39 cm)