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Chamäleon von Well Habicht, Sammlung R. H. Peters
Chamäleon von Well Habicht, Sammlung R. H. Peters © Foto und Layout: Heinz-J. Theis

Großherzogliche Keramische Manufaktur Darmstadt

With a cabinet exhibition of the Keramik-Museum in Berlin-Charlottenburg, two further chapters of the ceramic manufactory in Darmstadt will be opened. If the exhibition "Feinsteingutfabrik Max Roesler in Rodach and Darmstadt", which opened in June, shows products from 1924, the new exhibition will focus on the first two chapters from 1904 to 1924.


Keramik-Museum Berlin

Schustehrusstraße 13 10585  Berlin

In October 1904, the internationally successful Munich ceramist Jakob Julius Scharvogel signs his employment contract as director of the newly founded "Grand Ducal Ceramic Manufactory Darmstadt". In 1906, the production is started, vitrified and construction ceramics with Schaffffeuerglanzuren and construction terracotta on the Italian model are on the program. The largest order of the new manufacturing plant is the design of the waiting halls and jewelry courtyards of the new bathing facilities around the Sprudelhof in Bad Nauheim in the years 1907 - 1911. Further contracts in Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Bad Schwalbach follow, but the economic success remains off and Scharvogel is released at the end of 1913. The exhibition shows, among other things, two rare vases, which belonged to the amenities of the Fürstenbäder in Bad Nauheim, a large terracotta relief from the Schmuckhof of Badehaus 2 as well as other interesting examples from the production. The first chapter is finished.

Johannes Bartel, ceramicist from Schramberg, leased the ceramic manufactory from Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig only after the First World War and, together with the Darmstadt sculptor Well Habicht, again takes up the production of vitrified ceramics, figural majolica and utensils. In the years 1920 - 1923, an interesting range of ceramic works developed in the now "Grand Ducal Ceramic Manufactory - lessee Johannes Bartel", which from 1921, the Grand Duke sold the manufactory to the Ceramic Group around the oldest Volkstedter porcelain factory, then as "Grand Ducal Ceramic Manufaktur Darmstadt - GmbH "is registered in the commercial register.

The sudden death of Johannes Bartels in April 1923 ends this second chapter of ceramic work in Darmstadt. The Feinsteingutfabrik Max Roesler, part of the Keramische group since 1920, takes over the production site and carries it on from 1924 as the Darmstadt branch of the main plant in Rodach near Coburg. The exhibition also shows an interesting overview of the production for this second chapter.

Particularly noteworthy is a chameleon by Well Habicht, which is advertised on the poster for the exhibition.

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