• FA-123361 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
  • FA-123360 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Collection
Glass and Ceramics
Epoch
1910 - 1919
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

Wheel-thrown ceramic with borax glazing, probably 1911-1919

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A self-portrait at the potter’s wheel? Is this a potter who has chosen to model himself (or herself) at their workplace, thereby immortalising themselves in clay? It’s certainly a puzzling piece.

We know it was made in Vienna before 1934, the year it was incorporated into the collection of the Technisches Museum Wien. The porcelain mark ‘KGwSch’ stands for Kunstgewerbeschule Wien, or Vienna School of Applied Arts. The School was founded in 1867, emerging from the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry, the predecessor of the present-day University of Applied Arts. The piece is part of a smaller lot of ceramics. All its rounded parts were turned on a potter’s wheel and the entire figure is coated in coloured borax glazes.

The ‘HB’ mark on its underside was deciphered in an old Museum exhibition text as ‘Braunauer’, although no evidence exists for this attribution. It is more than likely that the trademark stands for ‘Hertha Bucher’ (born in Leverkusen in 1898; died in Vienna in 1960), who is also represented with a vase within the small group of objects. If so, this could well be a self-portrait of the ceramics artist, who was born in Germany but lived in Vienna and trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule Wien [Vienna School of Applied Arts] from 1911 to 1919. Present-day auction catalogues would seem to support this assumption, with ceramics marked ‘HB’ attributed to Hertha Bucher.

This highly gifted ceramicist boasts an exceptional career as an artist. During her training she was already working for the Wiener Werkstätte and, in 1920, established her own ceramics studio. Her name is also associated with famous manufactories such as Augarten and Gmundner Keramik. It may well be that the very young Hertha Bucher decided to create her own portrait as part of her studies at the Vienna School of Applied Arts and to leave behind this representative work by a female artist. It is a motif that is rarely found among our collection exhibits.

Provenance: School of Applied Arts of the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry, Vienna
Artist: presumably Hertha Bucher
Production date: pre-1934, presumably 1911-1919

Inv.Nr. 7552/3
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