Featured Stein: May  2013
~ Hans Christiansen - A Premiere Jugendstil Artist ~
By Robert D. Wilson, SCI Master Steinologist 


This Stein of the Month is a recent, non-Mettlach production which uses an 1898 Jugend magazine cover page designed by Hans Christiansen as its decor (note the title of the magazine incorporated into the design across across the top of the decoration). The magazine Jugend established in 1896 by Georg Hirth was one of the most important proponents of German Art Nouveau (New Art) and what is thought to be the origin of the term Jugendstil (youth style = modern art). Most would view this cover page and say "Oh, that's Art Nouveau.", but any self respecting German would answer "Nein, das ist Jugendstil!". A more extensive article by Master Steinologist Walt Vogdes entitled "Jugendstil - What's it all about" can be found in the December 2012 Prosit.
Hans Christiansen (b. Flensburg 1866 - d. Wiesbaden 1945) was a very important and "true to the name" Jugendstil artist as attested by his having designed numerous Jugend magazine covers and provided articles as well. He worked in all mediums from ceramics to leather and did paintings and posters similar to those of Toulouse Lautrec. Although some of his designs were used by Villeroy & Boch at Mettlach (and possibly other V&B factories), we can't find evidence at this point for any steins using his designs except the one shown here.

Recently the Robert D. & Colette D. Wilson Mettlach Collection at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) in Pomona, CA has acquired two important vases attributed to Hans Christiansen. These vases are labeled "die Nacht" (the night) and "der Tag" (the day) and are Mettlach numbers 2424 and 2425 and were produced in the famous chromolith or etched process. They were dated 1898 and shown in the 1899 Mettlach catalog. The design for die Nacht was published in Jugend magazine number 23, 1897 and it's therefore probable that the vases were not actually designed by Christiansen, but his designs were adapted by Mettlach artists. We'll probably never know. Neither the vases nor the original print in Jugend magazine had his logo or signature which seems to be the case with many of his works except the paintings.
Front Mettlach #2424 Back Mettlach #2424
Front Mettlach #2425 Back Mettlach #2425
Photos above courtesy of Andre Ammelounx - The Stein Auction Co.
It is possible that more Mettlach pieces will be found that can be attributed to Christiansen and indeed we have already identified one. It is a "Kanne" (ewer), Mettlach number 2433 dated 1898 and shown in the 1899 Mettlach catalog. It is quite obvious after seeing both sides of the "der Tag" vase number 2425 that the decor on this ewer is by the same designer, but we don't know if he actually designed the whole piece. We hope to be able to identify more Mettlach pieces attributable to Christiansen by the time of the SCI Convention this June.
Mettlach Ewer #2433                         Mettlach vase #2425
The vases definitely will be on display at the AMOCA for attendees at the Los Angeles SCI Convention this June to view, as well as many selected from the 3,000-piece Wilson Mettlach Collection. Steins by other well-known, Jugendstil, Mettlach artists like Hohlwein and Ringer will also be on display.

Hans Christiansen by Margaret Zimmermann-Degan, Langewiesche-Königstein, 1981.

This article presented compliments of Erste Gruppe.
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