MAREI KERAMIK 'TOSCANA' CHIMNEY VASE 2004

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An extraordinary chimney vase with a rare, abstract décor known as 'Toscana' in fluorescent green, dark blue, and violet from MAREI KERAMIK.  Marked with form no. 2004, it stands 21.0 cm high.  Produced in the 1970s.

MAREI KERAMIK was founded in 1948 by Jean Fuss and his son in the town of Rheinbach near Bonn in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia when Fuss and then partner Josef Emons dissolved their terracotta business.  (Emons established ES Keramik with his sons in the same year.)  Fuss & Emons had been formed in 1921 when the two men left employment with Klein & Schardt, the predecessor of Ruscha Keramik.  Its output consisted of flower pots, ornamental ceramics, and eventually drainage pipes.  With the start of WWII, production came to a near standstill—with the exception of the inserts for so-called "Hindenburg lichter," an important source of wartime emergency lighting.  The full program was resumed as conditions normalized after the war, but the two men chose to go in different directions.  MAREI is a syllabic abbreviation of the first part of the company's legal name, MAjolikafabrik RhEInbach Jean Fuss & Sohn.  Fuss's son tragically died in an accident in 1951.

The focus of MAREI's initial production program was flower pots and vases with simple surface designs.  However in 1957, daughter Hildegard Fuss and her husband Wolfgang Bruchhausen joined the family business—the latter would soon assume management of the company.  Soon thereafter they engaged the well-known designer Bodo Mans enrich the MAREI product line.  When Mans left a year later he was succeeded for a short time by Walter Weiland.  Weiland in turn moved on to Fohr Keramik where he rose to head of design.

It was once generally thought that MAREI had been a fairly small company and that their output peaked in the 1950s.  However research has shown that it was something of a manufacturing powerhouse and that some of its best work was produced in later decades.  Catalog discoveries have credited to MAREI many pieces previously attributed to Roth Keramik.  (The work of historians has been confounded by MAREI's practice of reusing both form numbers and glaze names over the years.)

MAREI's most important design work dates to the 1960s and '70s and is represented by decorative, vitrified, vases, jugs, and wall tiles, many of which bear  resemblances to the products of Keto, Ruscha, and Roth.  Their most iconic designs include the so-called Penguin Vase and the Chimney Vase series.  The MAREI brand would survive until 2016 when the firm closed its doors.

Production Period – 1970-1979

Country of Origin – WEST GERMANY

Maker – MAREI

Attribution – MARKED

Materials – CERAMIC

Colors – GREEN, BLUE, VIOLET

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

Height (cm) – 21.0

Width (cm) – 14.0

Depth (cm) – 8.5

Quantity Available – 0