The Collector’s Minute: Art Nouveau-Style Amphora Pottery
Demand for Amphora pottery has waned in the last two decades.
This large Art Nouveau bust (left) was made by the Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel Amphora pottery factory, circa 1896. The pottery was located in what once was Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia Austria, but is now part of the Czech Republic. This pottery is best known for its Art Nouveau-style pieces, which reached their peak of popularity circa 1900 but remained in production until World War I.
The Art Nouveau movement was based on forms found in nature, a completely new art rather than another rehash of previous historical styles like Gothic, Jacobean, Renaissance or Rococo Revival styles that came before it.
Art Nouveau made use of sinuous design motifs such as morning glories, grapevines, exotic florals, ethereal feminine forms and organic whiplash curves. The style was used in all forms of decorative art in addition to furniture and architecture, but it was very short-lived due to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Even then, it was already in decline.
This mark identifies pieces made by the Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel company.
The Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel company was founded in 1892,
the “RstK.” mark being initials of all three owners. The marking was
changed in 1905 after Eduard Stellmacher left his partners to form his
own company. The company’s name changed again in 1910, when Kessel left, to Amphora Works Riessner. The name remained until the company closed in 1945.
Demand for Amphora pottery in the Art Nouveau style rose dramatically in value from the 1980s through the 1990s, but it has since declined from its late-20th-century highs.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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