P R E S S I N F... Avant-garde since 1879 - The Rosenthal Collections and Brands

Avant-garde since 1879 The Rosenthal Collections and Brands
The Beginning
The 125-year history of Rosenthal porcelain begins with an ashtray:
with the “resting place for lit cigars”. This intricately painted ashtray
was the first major success for Rosenthal, the porcelain manufacturer founded in 1879. The company founder, privy councillor Philipp
Rosenthal, struck the zeitgeist of those days with this product: and
wrote the recipe for success for all following collections by the
Rosenthal company.
Rosenthal was then soon to adopt a pioneering role in the industry a role that was confirmed by a novel decision just a few years subsequent to the company’s foundation: In 1907 Rosenthal was the first
porcelain manufacturer to create its own independent brand by
Ashtray “Resting place
adding the name “Rosenthal” to the underside of each individual profor lit cigars”
duct. The “Rosenthal” brand still stands today for high quality, contemporary porcelain and is a source of fascination for people worldwide.
The Highest Quality Standards
Privy Councillor Philipp Rosenthal focussed quite deliberately on the
highest quality standards right from the outset and thus established the
extraordinary market position held by the Rosenthal porcelain articles.
The early products and service sets are characterised by wafer-thin porcelain, intricately manufactured shapes and rich, hand painted décors. Valuable
and magnificent vases still stand alongside elegant
service sets with numerous decorative accessories
in the company archives today. As was the fashion
at that time, form design at the turn of the century
was largely dominated by earlier epochs, predominantly the baroque
and rococo periods. The major Rosenthal services designed in this period are “Louis XIV” and “Louis XVI”, “Empire”, “Sanssouci” and
Early Avantgarde
The Art Nouveau period which reached its climax at the turn of the century, represented an important break with tradition for the young company. For the first time Rosenthal adopted a contemporary art trend and
translated it into future-oriented products. One of the most notable service sets created in this period is the “Donatello” form designed in 1905
which became tremendously successful with the
delicate “Blue Cherry” relief décor in underglaze
In the period between 1908 and 1910 Rosenthal
was granted a major honour and allowed to establish its own specialised art department, a privilege which had until then
been reserved for royal manufacturers. With the art department the company proved that it was not only highly skilled in terms of craftsmanship,
but also that it echoed the contemporary art of the period, initially Art
Nouveau and later also Art Deco. The main designers included famous
artists and sculptors such as Richard Aigner, Ferdinand Liebermann,
Gerhard Schliepstein, Constantin Holzer-Defanti and Wilhelm
“Corean Dance”
Success Stories in Porcelain – The Classics
A uniting element in the Rosenthal AG history is the tremendously
successful product ranges across all epochs. The service sets
“Monbijou” and “Sanssouci” which originate from these early years are
still successful today as part of the Rosenthal classic brand.
The undoubtedly most successful form is the Rosenthal service
“Maria” dating from 1916.
Privy councillor Philipp
Rosenthal had this angular
„Maria white“
porcelain set produced in the
Biedermeier style modelled on a silver tea set with
a decorative pomegranate relief. ”Maria” – named
after the company founder’s second wife – is still
one of the most extensive and best selling tea and
dinner services ever created. To mark the company’s anniversary in 2004 Rosenthal classic has enhanced the “Maria” set with precious gold painting and
a new, fresh summer décor called “Maria’s Maria Anniversary Decor “Maria’s Garden”
Another success story for Rosenthal porcelain is the
elegant set “Aida” dating from 1925. Numerous
gold and cobalt decors as well as high quality etched
golden rims have been created over the decades on
“Aida”, sometimes commissioned by some of the
world’s famous royal courts. This special history
was occasion for Rosenthal to re-issue the most
beautiful décors on “Aida” under the title “Heritage
Das Originale unserer Zeit (The Original of Our Time)
The 1950’s mark the most important period in which course was set for Rosenthal’s advance
to become a pioneer in contemporary, innovative product design. A young Philip Rosenthal,
the company founder’s son who joined the company in 1950, was impressed by the “industrial design” developments especially in the USA and became the first European porcelain
manufacturer who dared to embark upon a new design era. Realising that only “Originale
unserer Zeit” (“Originals of Our Time”; contemporary originals) would remain valuable; he
invited leading designers to Selb to create contemporary porcelain shapes for Rosenthal. The
contemporary diversity in design was the aim, not a pre-defined style. The idea for the
Rosenthal studio-line, firmly anchored as an independent brand now since 1961, had been
Since then, over 150 artists, architects and designers from all corners of the world have worked for the Rosenthal studio-line. As a result, Rosenthal has become a renowned pioneer for
contemporary product design and today is symbolic worldwide for high quality, innovative
Form „2000“
Milestones in Design
The first milestones in the Rosenthal studio-line were set by the
forms “2000”, which was developed in collaboration with the
American star designer Raymond Loewy and advanced to become
the first major studio-line success, the
form “E” by Richard Latham, the cylindrical form “Variation” by Tapio
Wirkkala, which was particularly innovative as the first application of “Rosenthal
porcelaine noire”, and last, but not least,
the tea set “TAC 1”, which was created by
the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius
„TAC 1“
and is still successful today in the collection and one of the major design classics.
Rosenthal began to expand its product range early on. The contemporary service was complemented with the so-called “triad” – sets of matching glasses and cutlery. Important pillars
supporting the extensive Rosenthal range today include innovative glass series such as the
“Self-Cooling Glass” by Michael Young or “Vero” by Michael Boehm and design-oriented cutlery collections such as “Taille” by Tapio Wirkkala or “Dialog” by Lino Sabattini.
“Triad” with “Romanze”
Cutlery “Taille”
Self-Cooling Glass
Design Highlights Today
Highlights of today’s Rosenthal studio-line include the following service sets in the current
collection: “Zauberflöte” (Magic Flute) by Björn Wiinblad, one of the most complex technical
collections with a
relief on the plate
rim; the organic
form “Suomi” by
Timo Sarpaneva,
which served as the
basis for an extraor„Magic Flute“
dinary artists’ collection in its first year 1976; the two geometric forms
“Cupola” by Mario Bellini and “Il
Faro“ by Aldo Rossi, both dating
from the 1980’s; “Moon” by
Jasper Morrison, a modern classic with an almost minimalist
„Il Faro“
style, and the “Yono” service collection by Platt & Young.
Rosenthal will continue to
uphold this unique design competence with the new “Free
Spirit” collection by Robin Platt
to mark the anniversary in 2004.
„Yono Cyrrus“
Young Design by Thomas
With the Thomas brand, founded in 1904 as the “Porzellanfabrik
Thomas & Ens” and acquired by Rosenthal in 1908, the company has
built up a young, functionally–orientated second brand over the decades. The practical, design accentuated
collections by the Thomas Trend Factory
complement the Rosenthal product
range perfectly. Thomas has carried an
extremely successful design classic over
a period of several decades with the
“Trend” service and its follow-on collection “Loft” (both by Queensberry Hunt).
„Thomas Kitchen“
The “Vario” collection by Yellow Design
marks a further milestone setting new
standards with its innovative mix of
materials. The latest new service by
Thomas is the “Coup” collection by
Konstantin Grcic which was awarded
three design prizes in its first year 2003.
A particular focus of the Trend Factory is
the subject of cooking; international food
„Free Spirit“
Thomas pasta plate
trends have been the source of inspiration for the range, resulting in collections such as
“Amici” or “Trend Asia”. New ideas have been presented under the Thomas “Kitchen” range
made from stainless steel. The anniversary year also sees the new cooking collection “Genio”
as well as the special cutlery collection “Tema” by Stefan Diez.
Myth and Versace – The Perfect Combination
The artistically imaginative service form “Mythos” by Paul Wunderlich, created in 1993, plays
a very special role. It was as if this soft, elegant design with its delicate winged handles had
been created especially for an extravagant setting. And so “Mythos” became the basic underlying shape for the imaginative décor creations by the Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace
A unique lifestyle world has emerged over the past ten years from this partnership under the
brand name “Rosenthal meets Versace” that includes porcelain service sets, top quality glasses, cutlery and luxurious gift accessories. The core stylistic elements in this exclusive collection are the medusa head from the ancient Greek epoch, a classical meander band, an intertwining arabesque and naturally expressive colours coupled with high quality gold. Following
Gianni Versace’s death, his sister Donatella has continued the successful partnership with
„Medusa Red“
„Medusa Lumière“
The Art of Bestowing Gifts
High quality accessories, decorative center pieces and gift articles have played an important
role at Rosenthal, not just recently, but since the early company days. While these used to be
impressive magnificent vases and intricately worked accessoiries by the art department, the
1950’s saw the arrival of contemporary design in the gift area.
The first, extremely successful
commercial gift accessories
included, for example, the asymmetric orchid jug known as
“Pregnant Luise” by Fritz
Heidenreich and the delicately
painted decorative articles by
Raymond Peynet. The Rosenthal
Early vase
„Pregnant Luise“
vases with Peynet-Dekor
gift collections were later to be
enhanced especially by Tapio Wirkkala with his natural structures and Björn Wiinblad with
his almost inexhaustible array of highly imaginative creations.
Vase, bowls, ashtrays, desk accessories and expressive candleholders in contrasting black and
white or colourfully decorated and in contemporary creations by famous designers such as
Ron Arad, Platt & Young, Enzo Mari, Tadao Amano or Joseph Llusca form the focal points of
the Rosenthal gift collection today. Rosenthal will extending its range in this anniversary year
with the new collection “Rosenthal Home Designs” – high quality textiles, candles, plaids,
cushions and decorative accessories in seven colour schemes.
Black-White vases by Wirkkala
„Spirit“ by Platt & Young
gift accessories of the
„Andy Warhol Collection“
Rosenthal gift accessories have become popular collectors’ items following the collaborations with many
artists who often vary considerable in
style. Rosenthal picked up this trend
and went on to develop extremely
successful collectors’ collections
such as the artists’ collector cups on
the “Cupola” form, the popular
“Rosenthal City-Cups” or the miniaRosenthal studio-line minis
ture versions of the major Rosenthal champagne solitaires
services. Collectors’ plates with exclusive artists’ décors, continued successfully to mark the anniversary
with the new “Celebrity Art Plates”, and extraordinary champagne
solitaires of high quality glass complete the Rosenthal product range
for collectors and porcelain lovers.
„Cupola“ espresso cup
decorated by Otmar Alt
Living with Art
Rosenthal’s work with leading artists for limited edition objects
of porcelain and glass is truly exemplary. The first “Rosenthal
Relief Series” was created in 1968 at the suggestion of the then
manager of the “Documenta Exhibition”, Arnold Bode. The
series included works by famous artists such as Günter
Ferdinand Ris, Victor Vasarely,
Henry Moore and Lucio Fontana.
The limited edition series were
then later to be complemented by
three-dimensional objects, artists'
Vasarely relief
décors and services. The “Suomi”
form (1976) is rather a peculiarity
from an artistic viewpoint:
Salvadore Dali, HAP Grieshaber
and other famous artists painted
the large, flat surface of the core
“Suomi” elements with their own
designs, thus quashing the artificial
distinction between art and function. Artists’ tea sets, plates and „Suomi” by HAP Grieshaber
numerous limited edition objects of
porcelain, ceramic and glass were
„Hommage” Günter Grass
to follow.
In 2003 Rosenthal updated the
limited edition art series with the
“Homage Philip Rosenthal”. 17
famous artists including Otto
Piene, Paul Wunderlich, Günther
Grass and Günther Uecker each
designed a limited edition object of
art in honour of Philip Rosenthal.
Rosenthal is also presenting limited
edition objects in glass as part of an
„Hommage” Otmar Alt
unusual collection by the Czech
artist Borek Sipek during this anniversary year.
The boundaries between art and
function are fluent. In the late
1990’s Rosenthal also built up a
Glass object Borek Sipek
“Commercial Art Collection”. The
core element of this series is the
“Andy Warhol Collection” with colourful decors from the famous
pop artist’s works, and also original porcelain accessories by the
New York artist James Rizzi.
Beethoven by Andy Warhol
Stylish Tabletop Culture: The Hutschenreuther Acquisition
The brand portfolio was rounded off perfectly for Rosenthal with the acquisition of the traditonal brand Hutschenreuther on August 1st, 2000. The so-called “Lion’s brand”, which was
founded in 1814 by Carolus Magnus Hutschenreuther in the Upper Franconian town of
„Blue Onion“ pattern
„Medley New England“
Hohenberg/Eger, covers a broad collection range: from classic services for stylish tabletop
culture, to extensive porcelain and glass collections in sophisticated country house style and
high quality bone china sets right up to modern ranges. Key areas under the
Hutschenreuther brand also include artistic figurines modelled with the highest standard of
craftsmanship – usually depicting naturalistic animals – as well as atmospheric seasonal collections for Christmas and Easter.
The classic among the Hutschenreuther porcelain collections is
the traditional underglazed “Blue Onion” pattern on the “Maria
Classically stylish
tabletop culture is
also achieved by the “Lion”
collection or the bone
china sets “Ballerina”
and “Luna”. A distictiFlamingos by Gunter Granget
ve country house flair is
conveyed by the successful “Medley” series with their atmospheric mix of patterns, motifs and colour schemes. The cheerful, refreshing lifestyle world of the
“Medleys” is rounded off by numerous
Horses by Hans Achziger
accessories, glasses, tabletop textiles
and decorative articles. Following the
acquisition by Rosenthal, Hutschenreuther launched the new licence collection “Laura Ashley by Hutschenreuther” and the innovative, contemporary “Easy” collection in 2003 with
its numerous accessories for creative
tabletop and lifestyle settings.
„Lion d’oro“