Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel

In 1892, following seventeen years of experience in ceramics production, Alfred Stellmacher (1837-1906, pictured) established the porcelain factory Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel in Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia (now Tronvany, Czech Republic) with his sons-in-law, Karl and Hans Riessner and Rudolf Kessel and his son, Eduard Stellmacher. Each brought considerable talent and knowledge to the venture, with Alfred having already won a Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889. Karl Riessner, who studied at the Art Academy in Prague, managed finances and Hans Riessner, a graduate of the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, was technical director. Rudolf Kessel managed trade issues and Eduard Stellmacher, who studied at the Arts and Crafts Academy in Dresden, was the artistic director. Eduard’s brother-in-law and classmate, Paul Dachsel, was also a creative designer.

Turn-Teplitz was a kaolin-rich area home to upwards of 30 ceramics manufacturers, but thanks to their ingenuity and creativity RSt&K stood head and shoulders above the rest. Alfred’s overarching goal was the creation of artistic, rather than functional, pieces and most were marked ‘Amphora’; by the mid-1890s their pottery became known as Amphora and the company colloquially referred to as the Amphora Porcelain Works. Their wares were made of Alfred’s own invention named Elfenbeinporzellan (ivory porcelain) owing to its soft yellow coloring and matte finish. Early works emulated the prevailing Orientalist and Neo-Baroque styles but by the late 1890s began to exhibit influences of Art Nouveau in their sinuous lines, curvilinear forms, and whimsical and natural motifs. RSt&K’s output was renowned for its remarkable combination of stylistic diversity with a high standard of quality.

They exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and received numerous awards from that year through 1904 while expanding their reach and opening new locations in Hungary and Germany. Paul Dachsel and Eduard Stellmacher left the company in 1904 to open their own ventures and RSt&K would never again match the superior work it had created prior to their departure. The Golden Age of Amphora ceramics was effectively at an end, though the company continued operating until it was nationalized by the Czechoslovakian government in 1945.

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Auction Results Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel