Amphora Porcelain Portrait Vase Amphora Porcelain Portrait Vase Amphora Porcelain Portrait Vase Amphora Porcelain Portrait Vase Amphora Porcelain Portrait Vase
Märchenprinzessin (Fairy Tale Princess), A Jewelled Porcelain Portrait Vase

Designed by Nikolaus Kannhãuser
Manufactured by Riessner, Stellmacher and Kessel, circa 1899

Stamped with the firm's mark and impressed with AMPHORA and 02039 28

9 in (23 cm) high

cf. Richard L. Scott, The House of Amphora, 1890-1915, 2004, p.93
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The female figure held a central position in the Art Nouveau creations of Amphora's artists. In Paris at the beginning of the 1890s, the book graphics and posters by Eugène Grasset, Paul Berthon Chéret and Georges de Feure foreshadowed the flat stylisation of figurative motifs that would come to typify Art Nouveau. The genre's highest achievements are reserved for the poster designs of Czech painter Alphons Mucha, the genius of the Parisian style which took his name, 'style Mucha'. Mucha's design of a woman's face framed by long flowing hair represented by undulating ornamental lines was an especially popular and fashionable motif appearing in his posters and on decorative accessories. By 1900, its variations could be found throughout the arts, either as a main theme or as one of the decorative elements of a composition.

Alfred Stellmacher had been a leader in ceramics production for 17 years when in 1892 he encouraged his son and sons-in-law to establish a porcelain factory in Turn-Teplitz, Austria (now Czech Republic). Though established in names of its owners, Riessner, Stellmacher and Kessel (RSt&K), the firm consistently marked pieces with the word 'Amphora' by the late 1890s and became known by that name.

At Amphora, designs of idealized female heads with elaborate hairstyles first appeared on vases in 1895. These vases have a colour-toned background on which there is an elegant head masterfully executed in light strokes of cobalt underglaze. Gold relief emphasises the contours of the white enamel details. The quality of this work demonstrates that both artist and designer were accomplished painters. Among the finest painters at Amphora at the time that these vases were produced were Hans Klier and Nikolaus Kannhäuser.

This vase entitled 'Fairy Tale Princess' came from a series that was produced by Amphora in 1899, which consisted of painted female busts, splendidly dressed, wearing abundantly decorated crowns on their heads. Kannhäuser can be credited with creating these works because he became the head painter after Klier's departure from the company. It is thought that this series originated during the preparation of Amphora's collection for the 1900 Exposition in Paris. The popularity of this particular model kept it in the company's product line for a long period.