RARE CERAMANO 'TUNDRA' VASE BY HANNS WELLING
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A large bottle-form vase with a ring-style handle in the rare Tundra décor, designed for CERAMANO in the 1970s by the inimitable glaze artist Hanns Welling. Vertical stripes of pale yellow-green start at the mouth of the vessel and end irregularly part way down the body. The underglaze is a mottled, silvery bluish-gray, and the piece stands 13" tall. A top-notch collector's item!
HANNS WELLING was responsible for some of the most sophisticated output of several of the best post-war German art-pottery manufacturers—Keto, Ruscha, and CERAMANO, among them. He served as the last's artistic director in the early 1970s—otherwise, little is recorded about his relationships with these firms. Many famous CERAMANO shapes and décors are ascribed to him: Pergamon, Koralle, Minerva, Ceralux, and Tundra. Welling also designed tableware and collectibles for Goebel Porzellan GmbH.
CERAMANO was the brainchild of Jakob Schwaderlapp, the founder of Jasba Keramik. He set up the sister company in 1959 to produce high-end ceramics that would complement Jasba's mass-produced lines and respond to the growing demand for innovation in the decortive arts. The manufacture of more artistic and experimental items had heretofore been the province of small workshops; Schwaderlapp had the idea to replicate the look and feel and the creativity of artisanal work using modern factory methods. CERAMANO went public with the debut of an extensive product range at the Frankfurt Trade Fair. The celebrated Hanns Welling was introduced as the man in charge—responsible for the company's marketing as well as for all of its shapes and décors (glaze and pattern combinations). Welling remained at the helm until 1962 when the position of head designer was handed off to Gerda Heuckeroth, later known for her amazing body of work at Carstens.
To achieve its goals, CERAMANO employed many of the top ceramic artists of the day, notably (in addition to Welling and Heuckeroth) the Hungarian designer Dudas Laszlo. Unsurprisingly, the items it produced were generally of high quality and varied nature. Many of the more expensive pieces were completely handmade on a wheel; most vases were built using the company's signature reddish-brown clay. Compared with other German ceramics firms, an unusual amount is known about the décors of CERAMANO owing to its practice of listing their names on vessel bottoms. Top décors include Rubin, Toscana, Stromboli, and Pergamon, plus rarities like Saturn, Achat, and Incrusta. Along with the décor name, bases were generally engraved (by the décor artist) with the model number and the artist's initials. This practice enhanced the "studio" semblance of CERAMANO's pieces. Willi Schwaderlapp, Jakob's son and partner, took over the company in 1964, after which it was split off from Jasba entirely.
[Note: shape numbers usually have three digits. They are sometimes followed by a slash (virgule) and a second number, ranging from one to six, that denotes the piece's relative size. Whether or not and how much text is included on the base seems to depend on the size of the vessel in most cases. "Handarbeit" (handmade) is also a common marking. Vases from later periods were provided with paper labels.]
CERAMANO continued to develop economically with the takeovers of Waku Feuerfest and Steinzeug und Mosaikplattenfabrik in the 1970s, which allowed for expansion into the production of, respectively, tableware and architectural tiles. The company's export share slowly increased for a time, but CERAMANO's gambit ultimately proved unsuccessful. As the 1980s progressed, interest in art pottery waned sharply. CERAMANO finally closed its doors in 1989. (Jasba is still in operation, producing industrial tiles exclusively).
- Hanns Welling, 1959–1961
- Gerda Heuckeroth, 1962–1964
- Dudas Laszlo, 1960s
Maker – CERAMANO
Production Period/Year – 1970s
Designer – HANNS WELLING
Design Period/Year – 1970s
Origin – WEST GERMANY
Styles/Movements – MID-CENTURY MODERN; ABSTRACT
Materials – CERAMIC
Colors – DOVE GRAY, LIGHT YELLOW
Condition – Excellent Vintage Condition. Wear consistent with age and use.
Dimensions – 5 ½" DIAM. × 13" H