Designed by Richard Riemerschmid, German, 1868 - 1957. Made by Reinhold Merkelbach, Grenzhausen, Germany, 1845 - present.
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Following the unfavorable reception of historicist German stonewares at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, manufacturers were encouraged by the Prussian government to collaborate with progressive artists and designers with the aim of reviving and modernizing the national ceramics industry. This jug was designed as part of such a partnership, between Munich architect-designer Richard Riemerschmid, a leading practitioner of Jugendstil (Art Nouveau style), and manufacturer Reinhold Merkelbach. Riemerschmid’s thoughtful, original approach to the medium is expressed in the modern sensibility of the jug, particularly present in its clean lines and the spiral that powerfully curves into the handle. While the effect was achieved through modern mold-forming techniques, the detail evokes the hand-crafted feel of earlier wares. Likewise, the variegated brown finish of the jug resulted from deliberate attempts to replicate the look of Cologne stonewares of the sixteenth century.