Featured Stein: July  2013
~ A Jugendstil Stein by Riemerschmid ~
By Jim Coleman


This month’s Stein of the Month was designed by Richard Riemerschmid around 1900, and produced by Reinhold Merkelbach as mold number 1655 in 1909. It is a .5 liter stein, and was produced in two colors: dark blue over a light blue/grey background, and black over a brown background. The more common, and in my view more attractive shown below is the dark blue over a light blue/gray background.
The stein exhibits many of the hallmarks of Jugendstil design: organic form and shape, organic design taken from nature but transformed by the artist, integrated design of the lid and thumb-lift which, in this instance, has become almost vestigial and thus not even visible on the view from the side, but can be seen in the image on the right. The shapes of the three openings (handle opening, opening between the lid and stein body, and opening within the lid handle to the attachment on the top of the stein) all echo the same form and have nearly identical curves.

It was reproduced by Merkelbach in an edition of 3,000 as a part of a reissue in the 1990’s.

Riemerschmid was a German designer, architect, and painter. While he is primarily known for his architecture and industrial design, he was active in many areas. Influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, he created designs for textiles, furniture, typography, tapestries, carpets, silverware, and pottery. In all of these his guiding principle was “Der Kopf erfindet, die Hände machen sichtbar” (“the mind creates, and the hands make it visible”).

In 1907 Riemerschmid was one of the founder of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) which he headed from 1920 to 1926. The Federation was a German association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists. Its initial purpose was to establish a partnership of manufacturers with design professionals. In the early 1900’s, he provided a number of German stein makers with designs of steins within the context of the Jugenstil movement. One of the most important relationships was with the Reinhold Merkelbach company which produced most of the pieces for which he is best known.


1. Collector’s Guide to Dümler & Breiden Beer Steins – Part 1 by Frank Loevi (Prosit, March 2011)
2. Collector’s Guide to Dümler & Breiden Beer Steins – Part 2 by Frank Loevi (Prosit, June 2011)
3. Dümler & Breiden, Terra Sigillata and Bowling by Ronald E. Gray (Featured Stein, March 2005)

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