BLUE KNÖDGEN KERAMIK VASE Nr. 1060/20
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A West German flower vase with a beautiful silhouette and glaze from the KNÖDGEN KERAMIK factory (formerly Ilkra Edel Keramik) in Ransbach-Baumbach, Germany. The flowing glaze in hues of blue-on-blue is almost iridescent and a perfect complement to the tapered form of the vase.
ILKRA EDEL KERAMIK (later KNÖDGEN KERAMIK) was founded in the Rhineland by Jacob Leopold Knödgen in 1892—in the town of Ransbach-Baumbach, as Erste Ransbacher Feinsteinzeug-Fabrik J.L. Knödgen (First Ransbach Fine Stoneware Factory J.L. Knödgen). Knödgen's father owned a vitrified clay factory located in nearby Höhr, but Jacob chose to strike out on his own. The firm's initial program included typical Westerwald products: beer steins, wine jugs, and dishes. The range of decorative ceramics was greatly expanded following WWII, mainly on the initiative of Jacob's son Richard, who had taken over the firm in 1936. Around the same time, the company's name was shortened to JLKRA, an initialism of the founder's name and the company's location—Jacob Leo Knögden, RAnsbach—soon altered to the more pronounceable ILKRA. (Both spellings are documented in business documents; the latter is generally preferred today. The name ILKRA was often appended with the descriptor "EDEL," best translated in this context as "fine.")
Especially after 1955, ILKRA produced vases with elaborate and colorful décors that drew a lot of attention to the firm. Many of its products bore striking resemblance to the work of Clemens & Huhn and have often been misattributed in collectors' literature. Famous designers of the period included Ernst Werner, Richard Knögden's son-in-law; Josef Koch; and Edmund Peters. ILKRA used dark red clay before 1958 and white clay after that date. Items were marked with a form number and size, but never "West Germany." The numbers are sometimes split across two lines, separated by a solid line.
ILKRA was one of several companies that produced pottery lines for Guido Riffarth, one of the most important mid-century German ceramics wholesalers. Riffarth supplied vases and planters to almost all of the flower shops in the old federal territory; its products were offered under the labels Ri-Keramik and Riffrath-Keramik. Around 1965, ILKRA was renamed J.L. Knödgen Keramik, in honor of the company’s founder, and the ILKRA name was retired. When Richard Knödgen died in 1969, the company was left in the hands of his son Leo. However, sales of its decorative ceramics were declining by that point, and the company (now called simply KNÖDGEN KERAMIK) switched to the exclusive production of planters in 1970. The concern was sold to Römertopf Keramik GmbH & Co in 1995, who used its factory to manufacture ceramic kitchenware. Römertopf remains in business to this day.
Maker – KNÖDGEN KERAMIK
Production Period/Year – 1960s
Designer – UNKNOWN
Design Period/Year – 1960s
Origin – WEST GERMANY
Styles/Movements – ABSTRACT; MID-CENTURY MODERN
Materials – CERAMIC
Colors – CORNFLOWER, NAVY, SKY
Condition – Excellent vintage condition. No real signs of wear; near perfect condition. A small amount of soiling to the foot ring, as might be expected from age and use.
Dimensions – 6" DIAM. × 8" H