FROTHY TEXTURED MAREI KERAMIK ‘NUBA D’ DECOR CACHEPOT
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A textural earth-tone cachepot with a scalloped rim in the sandy Nuba D décor from the 1970s by MAREI KERAMIK.
MAREI KERAMIK was founded about 20 km southeast of Bonn in the town of Rheinbach in Western Germany, as Majolikafabrik Rheinbach Jean Fuss & Sohn in 1948. That was the year that financial difficulties associated with war forced the potter Fuss and his erstwhile partner, the modeler Josef Emons, to dissolve their terracotta business. Fuss & Emons had been launched in 1921 when the two men left employment with Klein & Schardt, the predecessor of Ruscha Keramik; its output consisted of flowerpots, ornamental ceramics, and eventually drainage pipes. With the start of WWII, production came to a near standstill—except for the inserts for the so-called "Hindenburg Leichter," an important source of wartime emergency lighting. The full program was resumed as post-war conditions normalized; nevertheless, the men decided to part ways. (Emons established ES [Emons & Söhne] Keramik with his sons in the same year.)
In 1951 Jean Fuss's son unexpectedly died in an automobile accident. The company retained its legal name but adopted the DBA "MAREI" at that point—a syllabic contraction of MAjolikafabrik RhEInbach. The focus of MAREI's initial production program was flowerpots and vases with simple surface decorations, often hand painted in engobe. In 1957, however, daughter Hildegard Fuss and her husband Wolfgang Bruchhausen joined the family business (the latter would soon assume management of the company). Shortly thereafter the well-known designer Bodo Mans was engaged to enrich the product line. When Mans left a year later, he was succeeded for a brief period by Walter Weiland. Weiland in turn moved on to Fohr Keramik where he rose to head of design.
It was once generally thought that MAREI had been a fairly small company and that their output peaked in the 1950s. However, further research has shown that it was something of a manufacturing powerhouse and that some of its best work was produced in later decades. Catalog discoveries have credited to MAREI many pieces previously attributed to Roth Keramik. (The work of historians has been confounded by MAREI's unhelpful practice of reusing both form numbers and glaze names over the years.)
MAREI's most important design work dates to the '60s and '70s and is represented by decorative, vitrified vases, jugs, and wall tiles—many of which recall the products of Keto, Ruscha, and Roth. Their most iconic designs include the Penguin Vase—so called because its silhouette resembles the bird—and the Chimney Vase series (the "chimney" in question is a prop used in firing to create a lateral hole, or holes, in a vase).
- Brügge, comprised of raised arabesques made with glaze strings, perhaps inspired by the lace industry of Bruges, capital of West Flanders in Belgium.
- Capri, named for the small island off the west coast of Italy near Naples, its blues likely reflect the Mediterranean waters.
- Kolibri, German for hummingbird, evocative of the bird's iridescent colors and specialized feathers. (Tagged "snakeskin" by collectors.)
- Kuba, a colorful patchwork that includes a preponderance of matt terra-cotta panels. Designed by Bodo Mans in 1958.
- Narvik Lilac, named for a Norwegian town within the Arctic Circle; smooth matt lilac underglaze topped with a foaming, white and yellow diffusion.
The MAREI brand would survive until 2016 when the firm closed its doors.
Maker – MAREI
Production Period/Year – PERIOD
Designer – UNKNOWN
Design Period/Year – PERIOD
Origin – WEST GERMANY
Styles/Movements – ABSTRACT; MID-CENTURY MODERN
Materials – CERAMIC
Colors – TAN, BEIGE, BROWN
Condition – Excellent vintage condition. Appears to have never been used.
Dimensions – 6 ¾" DIAM. × 5 ¾" H