A beautiful East German sgraffito vase with a carved geometric decor revealing the white clay body beneath a glossy black all over glaze by Anton Piesche for Piesche & Reif.

ANTON PIESCHE (b.1878) was a German ceramicist who purchased an existing ceramics factory in 1900 in the small village of Kamenz near Dresden.  We know that Piesche had two sons, Otto and Willibald, but the company's history prior to 1945 is still a mystery.  We also know that in 1945/46 Piesche merged with Max Reif to become “Brüder Piesche & Reif Kamenz”.  Additionally, in 1945, Piesche’s sons took over the factory of Paul Schreier in nearby Bischofswerda and turned it into a branch of Piesche & Reif, but in 1953 they converted it into the publicly owned business or Volkseigener Betrieb ‘VEB Braun & Kunst Töpferei Bischofswerda’.  The company existed in this form until 1972, when it became ‘VEB Lausitzer Keramik Werk II, Bischofswerda’  making it the second factory in the newly created VEB Lausitzer Keramik.

In the endeavor of the GDR to get all production facilities under state control, all of the companies that were still privately managed from the 1960s were forced to admit state holdings. Thus, in 1962 Piesche & Reif was renamed ‘Keramische Betriebe Kamenz with state participation. The last step to the final nationalization was done in 1972 with its conversion into the VEB Lausitzer Keramik Werk I, Kamenz.  Altogether, the VEB Lausitzer Keramik grew to embrace four formerly independent companies. The structure of the VEB consisted of Plant I in Kamenz, which emerged from Kamenz Keramische Betriebe with state participation, the work originally founded by Anton Piesche.  Plant II in Bischofswerda emerged from the VEB Braun & Kunst Töpferei Bischofswerda, the former branch of Piesche & Reif.  Plant III in Königsbrück was added in 1973 and emerged from Alfred Dietze GmbH.  Plant IV in Pulsnitz was added in 1976 and originated from the Martin Jürgel pottery.  From 1972 to 1984 the Operations manager of the entire VEB Lausitzer Keramik was Florian Piesche, the son of Otto Piesche (the son of Anton and one of the founders of Piesche & Reif).

 As a result of its long and tangled history, and the production overlaps, it is often difficult to attribute individual ceramics to one or the other of the first two factories.  Although the Bischofswerda plant was separated from the parent company, the product range itself was not changed. There are ceramics with the typical Piesche markings and the additional label of the VEB, but since these labels have not always been preserved, it is impossible to distinguish these ceramics from products of the former parent company. Indications that it is a product of the VEB could possibly be an embossed form number or the absence of any markings at all.  To this date, we do not know.  One thing is certain, and that is the unmistakable style of the work of Anton Piesche.  The company had its heyday in the, but it did not survive the reunification. The factory closed its doors in 1990.


Manufacturer PIESCHE & REIF
Design Period 1960 to 1969
Year of Production
Production Period 1960 to 1969
Country of Manufacture Germany
Identifying Marks This piece has been attributed based on archival documentation, such as vintage catalogs, designer records, or other literature sources
Style Vintage, Mid-Century, Hand-Crafted, Minimalist, Modernist
Detailed Condition Excellent — This vintage piece is in near original condition. It may show minimal traces of use and/or have slight restorations.
Product Code
Materials Ceramic
Color Black, cream
Width  4.5 inch
Depth 4.5 inch
Height 8.3 inch
Quantity Available – 0