Speckled mid-century stein form from West German manufacturer CERAMANO—a handled example from Hanns Welling’s Royal series of vases, finished with a textured, cold white glaze. A contrasting inner glaze gracefully trickles between the spikes and “weeps” through the eyelets of the integral crown. The model Nr. (253) and décor name are marked by hand on the underside.

HANNS WELLING (1924-?) was responsible for some of the most inspired post-war German art-pottery designs ever produced. Born in 1924, his studies in painting and graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf commenced when he was seventeen, but were interrupted after only two semesters by military service. Following his 1947 discharge, he resumed his academic pursuits, and, after further training abroad in France and Italy, he graduated in 1951. The next year Welling joined the Kettiger Clay Works (aka Keto) in Lantershofen, south of Bonn, and assumed leadership of its newly established art department. He took over the creation of Keto’s engobe ceramics, with their incised decorations and colorful inlays.

Welling left Keto in 1956 for a short stint at Ruscha Keramik in nearby Rheinbach—as a décor designer and head of the painting department. Two years later he received an offer from Jakob Schwaderlapp, the owner of Jasba Keramik. He was tasked with establishing a new ceramic company that focused exclusively on manufacturing high-quality products with a handcrafted aspect. The company’s program was presented in 1959 under the brand name Ceramano. In addition to shapes and décors, Welling was responsible for the firm’s external presentation (catalogs, advertising photos, exhibition stands, etc.). This level of involvement in the nuts-and-bolts development of the entire character of a ceramics factory was unique in the industry. Many famous Ceramano décors are ascribed to Welling: Pergamon, Koralle, Minerva, Ceralux, Tundra. He retired from Ceramano in 1961 but continued to provide it with designs as a freelancer well into the 1970s.

Welling is a designer of international standing in all material and application areas of his field. Among his diverse contributions to German ceramics were designs for the makers Cortendorf, Schloßberg, W. Goebel-Porzellanfabrik, Steingutfabrik Staffel, Hutschenreuther, and Rosenthal, as well as a twelve-year collaboration with the Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin.

CERAMANO was the brainchild of Jakob Schwaderlapp, the founder of Jasba Keramik. He set up the sister company in 1959 to produce high-end ceramics that would complement Jasba’s mass-produced lines and respond to the growing demand for innovation in the decorative arts. The manufacture of more artistic and experimental items had hitherto been the province of small workshops; Schwaderlapp had the idea to replicate the look and feel and the creativity of artisanal work using modern factory methods. CERAMANO went public with the debut of an extensive product range at the Frankfurt Trade Fair. The celebrated Hanns Welling was introduced as the man in charge—responsible for the company’s marketing as well as for all of its shapes and décors (glaze and pattern combinations). Welling remained at the helm until 1962 when the position of head designer was handed off to Gerda Heuckeroth, later known for her amazing body of work at Carstens.

To achieve its goals, CERAMANO employed many of the top ceramic artists of the day, notably (in addition to Welling and Heuckeroth) the Hungarian designer Dudas Laszlo. Unsurprisingly, the items it produced were generally of high quality and varied nature. Many of the more expensive pieces were completely handmade on a wheel; most vases were built using the company’s signature reddish-brown clay. Compared with other German ceramics firms, an unusual amount is known about the décors of CERAMANO owing to its practice of listing their names on vessel bottoms. Top décors include Rubin, Toscana, Stromboli, and Pergamon, plus rarities like Saturn, Achat, and Incrusta. Along with the décor name, bases were generally engraved (by the décor artist) with the model number and the artist’s initials. This practice enhanced the “studio” semblance of CERAMANO’s pieces. Willi Schwaderlapp, Jakob’s son and partner, took over the company in 1964, after which it was split off from Jasba entirely.

Note: CERAMANO’s shape numbers usually have three digits. They are sometimes followed by a slash (virgule) and a second number, ranging from one to six, that denotes the piece’s relative size. Whether or not and how much text is included on the base seems to depend on the size of the vessel in most cases. “Handarbeit” (handmade) is also a common marking. Vases from later periods were provided with paper labels.

CERAMANO continued to develop economically with the takeovers of Waku Feuerfest and Steinzeug und Mosaikplattenfabrik in the 1970s, which allowed for expansion into the production of, respectively, tableware and architectural tiles. The company’s export share slowly increased for a time, but CERAMANO’s gambit ultimately proved unsuccessful. As the 1980s progressed, interest in art pottery waned sharply. CERAMANO finally closed its doors in 1989. (Jasba is still in operation, producing industrial tiles exclusively.)


  • Hanns Welling, 1959–1961
  • Gerda Heuckeroth, 1962–1964
  • Dudas Laszlo, 1960s



Production Period/Year – 1960s


Design Period/Year – 1960s


Styles/Movements – MID-CENTURY MODERN

Materials – CERAMIC


Condition – Excellent vintage condition. May show minor signs of previous ownership and use.

Dimensions – 3 5" W × 4 5" D × 7 25" H

Quantity Available – 1