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4(36)/2013
doi:10.5277/arc130408

Krystyna Kirschke, Paweł Kirschke
The exhibition of Modernist ceramics of Richard Blumenfeld in Ofen- und Keramikmuseum Velten (Germany)

    The museum of tiled stoves and ceramics Ofen- und Keramikmuseum Velten, which was established in Velten near Berlin in 1905, apart from permanent exhibitions organizes special temporary exhibitions thematically connected with the production of various kinds of ceramic ware. Since May 19 until November 30, 2013 the museum holds an exhibition titled KunstKeramik der Moderne. Zum 150. Geburtstag des Veltner Ofen- Und Keramikunternehmers Richard Blumenfeld.
    Due to the uniqueness and the large range of ceramic products manufactured in Blumenfeld’s workshops they have been used in constructing hundreds of modernist buildings. The customers of the company included the most distinguished German architects of those times, such as Bruno Möhring, Peter Behrens, Hans Poelzig, Bruno Taut, Otto Rudolf Salvisberg, Walter Gropius, Willy Hoffmann, Mies van der Rohe, Erich Mendelsohn, Fritz Höger or Hermann Dernburg cooperating with equally renowned sculptors such as Paul Rudolf Henning, Hans Schmidt, Ernst Freese, Felix Kupsch, Karl Lehn, Richard Kuöhl, Ulrich Nitschke, Hans Klakow and Paul Hermann.
    The exhibition in Velten is especially interesting as it presents not only the descriptions or both old and contemporary photographs showing the company’s operations during Modernism but also the original fragments of the ceramic materials from those buildings. This way of displaying the exhibits enables the visitors to associate the artifacts with the composition of whole buildings, providing a documentary account of the designers’ ideas and testifying to the close cooperation of the architect with the artist-sculptor. Among a lot of great designs by Blumenfeld’s company both in Germany and abroad presented at the exhibition there is a reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon and the ceramic tiles produced in 1929–1930 for A. Wertheim department store in Wrocław. The choice and form of the presentation of the exhibits are so impressive that they are remembered by the visitors for a long time, and after leaving the museum it seems obvious that this virtually eternal material which is the product of a fusion of all the elements will always be used in architecture.

Key words: Richard Blumenfeld, Ofen- und Keramikmuseum Velten, Modernism, Art Déco, ceramic building materials

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