Adelbert Niemeyer was a leading representative of the applied arts movement in Munich during the Jugendstil period. He studied painting at the Düsseldorf academie of fine arts from 1883-1888, when he moved to Munich, where he continued his studies under Friedrich Fehr, having failed to gain admission to the academy. He was subsequently a student of the académie Julian in Paris and a pupil of Benjamin Constant in Paris. In 1892 he was one of the founders of the Munich Secession, the first artists association in Europe, against the unpopular academicism.
At that time the solution of the stylistic problems have been seen in the arts and crafts, what prompted a number of excellent talents, like Richard Riemerschmid, Peter Behrens, Bruno Paul und Albinmüller for example, to go from the fine arts in this area. In 1902 Niemeyer founded the „Werkstätten für Wohnungseinrichtungen“ in Munich, in partnership with the upholsterer Karl Bertsch, and the painter Willy von Beckerath which merged with the Deutschen Werkstätten in 1907.
From 1907 on he taught at the Kunstgewerbeschule Munich (later: Staatsschule für angewandte Kunst). He was a co-founder of the Deutsche Werkbund in 1907. He worked for the most forward-looking entrepreneurs of the time: the Porzellan-manufacturer Nymphenburg, die porclainmanufacturer Meissen, for Villeroy & Boch, also for Poschinger, Oberzwieselau, Richard Merkelbach, Höhr-Grenzhausen, and for the Schwarzburger Werkstätten for porelainart in Unterweißbach. Niemeyer remained until his death a tireless designer.
In 1915 the Dürerbund and the Deutsche Werkbund edited the „Deutsche Warenbuch“, to demonstrate the world quality “made in Germany”, with functional and objectively crafted commodities. The catalog contained also Niemeyers drafts for the Königlich-Bayerische Porzellanmanufaktur Nymphenburg, the Schwarzburger Werkstätten and for Villeroy and Boch. So the here offered piece.
In comparison to the other pitchers, his design is characterised by a clearly defined modern form and outstanding functionality in the handling. The pitcher rests on a wide ring, filling weight focuses on the lower half. It was named “Niemeyer” and became one of the most modern forms entered the Mettlach’s commercial catalogs at 1913 and changed the image of Villeroy & Boch until the thirties.
The here offered pitcher has also the originally stylized decor planned by Niemeyer. In the printing services of V & B and also in the yearbook of Deutsche Werkbund. Useally it was shown only in white or with a colored or gold edge. The rarely seen leaf and blossom decor is richly divided, symmetrical spreaded, and inspired by an ealy journey to the ottoman empire, especially by the Iznik-ceramic.
Sources: Preisliste V&B Mettlach, Juli 1913; Jahrbuch des Deutschen Werkbundes 1914, im. p.113; Deutsches Warenbuch o.J. (1915), p.88/ K197.
Furthermore: Heide Rezepa-Zabel: Das Deutsche Warenbuch, Reprint und Dokumentation, Berlin 2005, p.152, 428f.; Rudolf Trabold: Adelbert Niemeyer, Diss. Bonn 1990; Buddensieg 1995, cat. no. 985, p.405, p.77.
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