8 Things You Need to Know About West German Art Pottery

This article was originally printed in Antique Trader
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West German Pottery maker van Daalen ensured quality in both commercial grade and studio art pottery. These yellow and black vases are popular and scarce, especially larger examples. Expert Forrest Poston says smaller van Daalen vases sell for $50 to $75, with $75 to $150 for mid-sized items. The largest vase shown would be reasonable at $350. Lean more about West German Pottery on page 26. Photo courtesy Karl Amann/Sammlung Amann Stuttgart

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This shot shows part of the display at the recent exhibition of W. German commercial and studio pottery recently presented in Amsterdam by Kevin Graham and Emiel Monnink. Photo courtesy Nicolas Verhaeghe
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While the form and glaze designers in West Germany were among the most inventive, they never forgot the past. This Jasba vase is suggestive of some ancient pottery in form and uses ancient, shamanic style decoration to great effect. With a height of 10", this vase could easily justify a price of $250. Vases like this are currently often sleepers, but many of them will jump as the market matures and collectors realize how much has been hidden by the Fat Lava craze. Photo courtesy Forrest D. Poston
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This Carstens vase is an example of the softer side of West German pottery but also significant because it has a Raymor import/export label. Raymor is best known for the Italian pottery the exported, and collectors often think that Raymor was a pottery producer. However, while the Italian pottery Raymor handled found its way to the United States, the West German pottery generally did not, so it's not clear just where Raymor was sending the pottery. Line and proportion on this vase are very good and give the vase an enduring soothing quality that raises this 8" example into the $150-175 range. Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Photo courtesy Forrest D. Poston
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Silberdistel was one of the smaller companies, and quality was high. They're best known for their all-over, heavily cratered volcanic glazes, and this blue is their best known color, which is not to say it's easy to find. There are always likely to be bubbles and broken crater edges on a glaze of this type, but they are the nature of the glaze and not damage. Value of this 10-inch example should be $250-300, while quality and scarcity of most Silberdistel items will push prices up as collectors become more aware of the smaller companies. Photo courtesy Forrest D. Poston
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The front vase in this Roth trio is a true example of fat lava, a term that has become increasingly misused as its popularity has grown. The rear vases show the powerful, often metallic, purple glazes Roth produced. Roth produced a large number of planters and some fairly weak pottery, but their best glazes are amazing. Roth made the bottle form 4107 in a wide variety of glazes and values can range from $125-300. The "see-through" vase, as they are often called by sellers in Germany is one of the hardest Roth forms to find and has a tendency to sag at the top. The metallic glaze is also prone to skips and gaps, so collectors need to be willing to tolerate small imperfections. Value is $300 and up. Photo courtesy Forrest D. Poston
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The majority of this grouping consists of uncommon items from Sawa, while the slightly different vase to the right is from Wormser Terra Sigillata. Most Sawa involves sgraffito decoration but with a lighter surface and pastel color. These vases are uncommon in color and a step above the already good Sawa quality. Value is a bit tricky since they rarely come to market, but items in the 8 inch range should bring $175 or higher based on decoration. The floor vase could easily top $350 in the decoration shown, higher in the palm tree design. Wormser items are not well known but always high quality and on the elegant side of West German pottery. Value on this vase should be $250 or better with room for increase when the company becomes better known. Photo courtesy Karl Amann/Sammlung AmannStuttgart

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