A spectacular, eosin-glazed ceramic rooster in an abstracted, ultra-modern style, produced in the middle years of the last century by the well known Hungarian porcelain factory ZSOLNAY.  Indistinctly marked "Made in Hungary" on the base of one foot.

ZSOLNAY was established in 1853 by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880) in the city of Pécs in southwestern Hungary to produce porcelain and stoneware.  The following year the factory was signed over to Miklós's oldest son, Ignaz Zsolnay (1826-1900).  In 1863, his younger brother Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) joined the company.  Vilmos would eventually become its manager and director and, following his older brother's emigration to Romania in 1865, its owner.  He proved to be an outstanding talent.  He was an ambitiously innovative craftsman and at the same time an outstanding businessman.  Inspired by the fine material of Chinese porcelain and the rich colors of its glazing, Zsolnay committed to refining the company's processes.  He spent years searching for new substances and experimented with innumerable kinds of glazing.  Islamic artistic tradition was also an influence.  Zsolnay won worldwide recognition for the factory through participation in international exhibitions, notably the 1873 Vienna World's Fair and the 1878 Paris World's Fair, where ZSOLNAY received a Grand Prix. Zsolnay was awarded the French Legion of Honour that year for his efforts in the development of glazing technology.

In the early 1880s ZSOLNAY developed an extremely durable range of ceramics known as "Pyrogranite"—so dubbed for the high-firing involved in its manufacture and its resulting durability.  Resistant to acids and sub-zero temperatures, it was an ideal material for building decoration.  Many structures erected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries throughout the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and in surrounding countries were adorned with Pyrogranite, typically in art nouveau style.  In the early 1890s Vilmos Zsolnay had another breakthrough with the development of the recipe for eosin.  The name of the colorant was coined from the Greek word "eos" (meaning "dawn" or "blush") and refers to the red color of the first eosin pieces.  Made of very fine ceramic material, the unique character of eosin ceramic lies in its glaze which contains a variety of metal oxides and undergoes a complex reduction process during firing.  The oxides are responsible for the brilliant iridescent tones of the final product. Each piece of eosin is unique and irreproducible.  Eosin ceramic is made in different colors and regarded as the most characteristic of ZSOLNAY's products.  In addition to the range of colors, several finishing techniques were developed.  The technology to produce eosin remains a closely guarded secret.  Its introduction in 1893 coincided with the emergence of the art nouveau movement, and it was employed to full effect by world-famous artists such as Sándor Apáti Abt, Lajos Mack, Géza Nikelszky, and József Rippl-Rónai, who created some truly exceptional works of art using the technology.  To this day, no other factory produces eosin.

Upon his Vilmos's death in 1900, his son Miklós Zsolnay took over the concern.  By 1914, ZSOLNAY was the largest company in Austro-Hungary.  During WWI, production of pottery and building materials was curtailed, and the factory was operated strictly for military purposes.  After the armistice of 1918, the fortunes of the factory suffered from Serbian occupation, loss of markets, and difficulties in securing raw materials.  Once the Great Depression began to ebb, conditions improved.  During World War II, a production site in Budapest was bombed.  The company was nationalized under communism in 1948 and the ZSOLNAY name was eventually dropped.  As the Pécs Porcelain Factory, it was used to produce common tableware.  However, with the resumption of a market economy in 1982, the company regained its independence, was reorganized, and the family name was restored.  In 1991, the ZSOLNAY Porcelain Manufacture became publicly-traded; five years later it was bought by a private equity firm.

In September 2008 a contract was concluded with the Swedish company IKEA.  ZSOLNAY agreed to deliver 5,000 tonnes of ceramics annually beginning in September 2009.  At the time the deal was predicted to triple sales for the company.  Besides the factory, Pécs is also home to the Zsolnay Museum.  ZSOLNAY ceramics can be found among the holdings of the world’s most important museums and in countless private collections; they are permanently in demand in the art trade.

I always want to replace the good with the better. – VILMOS ZSOLNAY

Production Period – 1950-1959

Country of Origin – HUNGARY


Attribution – WELL-KNOWN

Materials – CERAMIC

Colors – GREEN

Condition – VERY GOOD (no defects; may show slight traces of use)

Height (cm) – 14.0

Width (cm) – 7.0

Depth (cm) – 3.0

Quantity Available – 0