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Style Other / Ref.13024

VILMOS ZSOLNAY (attributed to), Earthenware plate with a swan decoration, late 19th century


Depth: 2'' ⅜  6cm
Diameter: 15''   38cm

19th century.

This round earthenware plate is attributed to by Vilmos Zsolnay (1828-1900) because of its decoration and the trace of signature on the back. It was made in the late 19th century.

The polychrom decoration of this plate depicts a swan in a countryside landscape. The white color of its feathers, and its spotted in black neck are detached from the background colored with hot shades. We can see, indeed, an ocher ground lightened up with a small grass area and a gate on the background. The swan is plunging its beak in a pot where is growing a tree of which the leaves and branches fit closely the upper part of the plate. The blue sky, tainted with green, is covered with small and stylized clouds. The Lower part of the plate depicts also two Art Nouveau scrolls friezes inhabited with plants and flowers, framing two small rabbits.

The history of the Zsolnay manufactory starts in 1853, in Pécs in Hungary on Miklos Zsolnay’s (1800-1880) initiative. During ten years, beautiful pieces were created, but Vilmos Zsolnay, the founder’s son, becomes manager and decides transform the familial business into an art manufactory with an international renown, by producing innovative pieces and participating to the big exhibitions that rhythm the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, he participates to the International Exhibition of Vienna in 1873, where his creativity was noticed, then the one in Paris, in 1878, where he wins a Gold medal. Innovator, he creates in 1893, ceramic pieces covered with eosine – high quality varnish that gives to earthenware an iridescent metallic appearance – thanks to which he wins the Légion d’honneur, and which still stays today typical of his production. The manufactory somehow resists to the events that mark the first half of the 20th century, such as the two World War or event the 1930’s crisis. Nevertheless, it is nationalized in 1948, under the communist regime that asks to destroy the most prestigious art pieces and their moldings. The manufactory has to wait until the end of the 20th century to find again its independence and original name.

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