ES KERAMIK 'ALASKA' DECOR CENTERPIECE BOWL (32 cm; RARE)
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A beautiful centerpiece bowl for Emons & Söhne (ES) Keramik in the rare 'Alaska' decor designed by Willi Hack in 1964. Two shades of blue mix with white and black to create a highly textural volcanic/fat lava surface on a bowl-form designed by ceramicist and modeler Hans Kraemer.
WILLI HACK joined ES KERAMIK (Emons & Sönhe) in Rheinbach in 1954 after training as a porcelain and glass painter at M.J. Kludt in Duisdorf. He was initially tasked with building an art department together with modeler and designer Hans Kraemer. Later he became head of the painting department; as many as eighteen people would be employed at a time to realize his designs.
It was the work of Cilli Wörsdörfer for Ruscha that inspired Hack to adopt the use of "elemental" décors. This entailed breaking down several designs into their constituent components and their recombination into brand new permutations. The method allowed for a much freer implementation of templates and naturally resulted in a large range of variations. A downside for the collector: the integration of elements from several different décors into a single piece can make the assignment of a basic décor name to the resulting "hybrid" item next to impossible. Hack used the approach in his personal production as well. Items he created at ES KERAMIK are typically marked with his painted monogram on the base; occasionally a sticker appears. With the 1974 closure of ES KERAMIK Hack, moved to Marei Keramik (also based in Rheinbach) and remained there until retirement.
HANS KRAEMER was born in 1930. He was accredited as a ceramics modeler in 1950 following a three-year apprenticeship at a factory in Jünkerath—a small municipality in the Rhineland near the Belgian border—during that town's short-lived post-war foray into the clay industry. He spent another two years as an employee of his instructor before signing on with ES KERAMIK in Rheinbach, southwest of Bonn. Throughout his tenure with the firm, Kraemer was responsible for its entire mold-stock of ceramic products, utilitarian as well as decorative. He created over 350 forms for ES KERAMIK—many of which were in production up until the company's closure in 1974. He may not have received the same level of publicity as some of his contemporaries, but the best of his work still stands on the merits of its idiosyncratic design. During the mid 1960s, ES KERAMIK partially shifted focus away from decorative ceramics; this prompted Kraemers' decision to explore a whole new field of activity: automotive design. He joined the studios of Ford-Werke AG in Cologne-Merkenich in 1968 as the leader of a team of eight modelers. He retired in 1990.
Production Period – 1960-1969
Country of Origin – WEST GERMANY
Designer – WILLI HACK (b. 1930); HANS KRAEMER (b. 1930)
Attribution – MARKED
Materials – CERAMIC
Colors – BLUE, WHITE, BLACK
Condition – VERY GOOD (no defects; may show slight traces of use)
Height (cm) – 8.0
Diameter (cm) – 32.0