Mystery Art Nouveau Earthenware Stein

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Mystery Art Nouveau Earthenware Stein

Post  circa1900 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:12 am

Every once in a while you buy something on "gut instinct." This is one of those purchases. Knowing nothing about beer steins, I knew I was taking a risk but the material, manufacture and craftsmanship of this piece screamed quality to me. The matte green glaze on this piece and material suggests the Arts & Crafts era, while the design content is decidedly Art Nouveau/Jugendstil. As such, I would surmise that this piece dates from that transition period 1905-1912. As to whether it is American or European, the design content is French Art Nouveau, but the glaze and material is more akin to American Art & Crafts potters. There is an indistinct signature carved into the piece on the rocks near the right leg of the male figure on the stein lid. The thick glaze, however, obscures and defies translation. The stein is approximately 11" high and 5.5" in diameter, which suggests that this piece was more decorative than utilitarian. The bottom is unglazed with no markings.

Any attribution thoughts, guesses, comments, etc. are most welcome. I'd love to solve this mystery...hopefully to reinforce that my "gut instincts" were correct.

Update 9/14/2011: I received the following information about the mermaid stein (which as impractical as it may be...it really is a stein, not a humidor):

"...so this morning I scanned old issues of Prosit (the publication of Stein Collectors International). A stein of this design was written about and pictured in the December 1974 issue. In a short article, Jim Gruber wrote about a collection at Rosary Hill College in Amherst, NY. Of this stein he wrote - 'The Kissing Stein. The material appears to be of cast bronze of a very dark, almost black color. A sort of "light black" describes the unusual patina. The piece is approx. 12" in height with a base diameter of approx. 8 1/2". It appears to be about 1 1/2 to 2 liters in volume. It is signed by the artist whose name is impossible to read. To the best of my ability, I decipher the name as being "Endyangell". The signature is on the base of the lid beneath the nude male. It is a heavy piece, over five pounds. This is a beautiful masterpiece and has to be examined to be truly appreciated.' "

Ref: Gruber, J. (1974, Dec.). The Rosary Hill College stein collection. Prosit, Vol. 1, #38, pg. 247.

So, we now have an example of another exemplar in a dark bronze glaze, but the maker/manufacturer/artist is still a mystery. It occurred to me that maybe the signature isn't a signature at all. Maybe it's a phrase. "En My Angel(la)" loosely translates from Latin to "Behold, my angel." I do know that the "ENDY..." ascribed to the stein in the 1974 article is incorrect. My version certainly starts with "ENMY..."

Any thoughts?

Jeff

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Mystery Art Nouveau Earthenware Stein

Post  stella on Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:24 pm

Goodday,

We have had a look at your photos and have a couple of questions :
- Can you please let us know if the stein is made of faience or stoneware/grès ?
- please send us directly or post on the forum photos of the underside of the stein

We'll do our best to help you!

Thanks in advance!


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Stein Bottom

Post  circa1900 on Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:39 am

Hello again. As near as I can tell, the stein is made of stone/earthenware with a matte green glaze covering. Here is a picture of the bottom, which sadly does not have any identifying marks.

Jeff

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