A rare stylized African mask by Dutch ceramicist Jaap Ravelli

Ravelli Pottery, 1947-1977

Jaap Ravelli's ceramics are without doubt one of the most recognizable in Dutch ceramics history of the twentieth century. His company in Valkenburg (ZH), which existed between 1947 and 1977, has been responsible for a large amount of - mainly series-produced - articles, with which it played a major role in the design of the post-war Netherlands. AJap Ravelli was born in 1916 in Princenhage. In his youth he spent a few years in the Dutch East Indies and a few years in Curaçao. After training at the National Institute for Art Teachers in Amsterdam and a year at the Royal Academy of Art in Amsterdam, Jaap, together with his brother Dick (1919-1980), took the first steps in the early 1940s the field of ceramics. Tiles - from the roof tile factory Oosthoek - were painted and sold in a studio on the Breestraat in Leiden. During the war, a building was rented in which a peat furnace was built. The first products were made here between 1946 and 1947, after which the company moved to Valkenburg and "Potterie Ravelli" was born. Jaap became the artistic brain, while Dick dealt with business operations in the background. Shortly after the war, there was a great need for consumer goods. This led to a proliferation of companies that produced products of varying quality with varying success. Potterie Ravelli also initially focused on crockery and simple vases. Because both owners had no experience in the ceramic field, many things had to be discovered and further developed along the way. In retrospect, one could say that the fact that the company developed in a non-conformist, non-traditional way may have been one of the most important success factors. Pretty soon, the emphasis shifted to better floristry and gift items, often packed in wooden boxes. The black and white figurines of animal and human figures in particular testified to the very innovative character of the artist Jaap Ravelli. The growing prosperity in the 1950s ensured a favorable climate, where the design and originality matched perfectly. Except in the Netherlands, the products were popular abroad, such as Germany, Australia, England and the United States. Potterie Ravelli's success in the 1950s did not go unnoticed. The original products were soon followed by other companies, but without ever approaching the quality of the original. In the 1960s, the emphasis was more on vases and dishes. Especially the Incara pottery (a combination of Inca and Ra) and Berkebast have left a lasting memory. A little later came the Sang de Boeuf and turquoise glazes. Among the last successful products to emerge from the factory were the "Keramobiles", hanging trays intended for plants. These were also quickly followed, which led Ravelli to have the plant hangers made in plastic.

The boom of post-war ceramic production in the Netherlands gradually came to an end in the 1960s, mainly as a result of fierce competition from abroad. Potterie Ravelli also had a hard time and had to close the doors in 1977.
What was left behind was a fascinating history of three decades, in which she had played a very important role in the field of design and home furnishings. It is not without reason that the Ravelli pottery has been a very popular collection area for years.

Jaap Ravelli continued to make ceramics for a long time, mainly unique pieces. He died on April 1, 2011, at the age of 94

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