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Petra on pottery

featuring West German art pottery, Fat Lava and more 20th century ceramics

Wall plates like the ones in this post always strike me as typically 1950s/early 60s and typically German. I think they are special compared to many other wall plates, because of the scenes they are depicting. They look a bit like movie stills. Instead of showing a portrait or a carefully posing figure, these figures seem totally oblivious of the fact they are featuring on a wall plate. They are having their own private moment and you as a spectator are not really part of it. You can see this casual way of depicting scenes from everyday life in paintings, in photography and film of course, but I don’t recall seeing such elaborate examples of it on pottery, save from mid-century German wall plates. Mind you, I don’t have a thorough insight yet because I am only starting to study them, but still.

Ursula Schönhaber made a whole series of these kind of plates for Ü-Keramik calling it decor Teenager (1960). My plate on the right is Teenager III  out of six (23 cm/9,1″ high). The plate to the left is by ES-Keramik (29 cm/11,4″ marked on the back “ES-Keramik”). I don’t know who designed this one or when it appeared on the market.

Beside the way the scenes are depicted, notice the modernity of them. Their content seems to be inspired by the Hollywood Teenage movies that were produced in great numbers in the 1950s and 60s. Girls in short tops, short skirts, smoking, hanging out with men in bars…These are independent women taking center stage and aspiring young, independent women were probably the ones to buy these plates.


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