Holy Grail found – in Berlin

Posted by jerry on June 24th, 2006 — Posted in Journal

Everyone has to have a quest – it gives meaning to one’s shopping. It all began ten years ago. It was a Thursday – and what had started as a normal day took an abrupt downward turn when I dropped the lid of my teapot, and it broke into several pieces. The teapot was not expensive, but it was a classic Bauhaus-inspired style: Arzberg Form 1382, designed by Dr Hermann Gretsch in 1931.
I tried the Australian shops – no, they vaguely recalled seeing one once. A couple of trips to the UK yielded a withering look, an arched eybrow, and a slight sniff as I was told “That would be a German make – we don’t stock those”.

In Europe I asked a few places – in Copenhagen I was given blank looks. In France, more blank looks – perhaps my schoolboy French wasn’t up to it. Finally, I wound up in a conference in Berlin this week. I pondered – perhaps there might be a slim chance?

I took a chance during a lunch break and headed out down Friedrichstrasse, and down on the corner of Alexanderplatz, I found a porcelain shop. Alas it was the royal German manufacturer’s outlet. Then a glimmer of a sign: “Arzberg is the name of a town”, the assistant said helpfully, “Are you sure that you have the manufactuer’s name or is that a type?” I assured him it was indeed the manufacturer’s name. He shook his head sadly, he had never heard of this brand. I mentioned that it was a Bauhaus design – by Dr hermann Gretsch. His face lit a little, “Yes I know of the designer Gretsch”. His tone softened towards me. “Perhaps you could try a place across town, a department store that has many kinds of porcelain, called KaDeWe – it is quite famous you know.” I didn’t. But I had a map, and got him to point out the location. Then it was time to head back to the conference. But I had a clue – the trail had warmed slightly.

The following lunchtime I took a taxi to KaDeWe and set off to find a floor with porzellan. I made my way to the fifth floor, past the ladies fashions, the mens fashions, the ladies underwear, the manchester – perhaps this would be like so many other department stores – all clothes and no porcelain. But I kept going ever upwards on the escalators, and quite abruptly, there was the porcelain section. Royal Doulton, the German KPM (Royal German porcelain manufacturer) Wedgwood were all in evidence – everything but… I sighed. I was approaching the end of the porcelain department.

I looked around and spotted an alcove, and there emblazened in discrete signage was the familiar Arzberg inside a plain oval ring. Below the sign were some unfamiliar designs. Perhaps it isn’t made anymore in that style? – Finally I saw a shelf unit emblazoned with ‘Form 1382’ – a whole cabinet with the familiar Bauhaus design, and there on the top shelf was a very familiar teapot.

The loud ‘whooppeeeee’ that escaped my lips startled some nearby shoppers – one doesn’t normally make that kind of sound in THAT kind of store. Yes, I bought the teapot – and its smaller sibling.

Arzberg teapot style 1382

So you see, the holy grail is not a cup after all, nor a genealogy – as a certain movie would have us believe. It is in fact, a teapot. Eine teekanne. And it is real.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the design. From his development of Form 1382, Dr Gretsch was awarded the gold medal at the 6th Triennal in Milan in 1936 and another gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937.

Gretsch was born in Augsberg, Germany in 1895 (died 1950), and studied architecture in Stuttgard, but sat his final exam as a ceramicist at the Arts and Crafts school in Stuttgart. In 1930, he became a Government architect and the following year became artistic consultant at the Arzberg porcelain factory, and later chairman of the regional trade museum, as well as acting director of the regional trade school. In 1945 he returned to his original profession as an architect.

The Form 1382 series is also on display at the London Design Museum. Arzberg Porcelain Factory also has a website.

Cheers
Jerry

14 Comments »

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[…] For the last decade we have been trying to replace the broken lid of a teapot which is my absolute favourite. Jerry finally, after a long quest found it in Berlin. I love this teapot for it is a real teapot by that I mean it’s the shape you think of when you say the word teapot. Take a look at what I mean. […]

Posted on July 2, 2006 at 11:30 am

Comment by salt

Oh my goodness. I too own this teapot and use it nearly every day. And all I knew about it was that it was part of the “good” china used in my parents’ household, passed along to me as “those old things” when my mother’s apartment no longer had room to hold them. Thank you for providing me with a whole lot more than I previously knew about them!

Posted on July 2, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Comment by arzberg fan

Form 1382 is a classic – 2006 is actually its 75th anniversary. The line is still produced by Arzberg and this year there are even Limited Edition (500) numbered tea sets in black, red, blue and yellow that are VERY cool.

There is also currently an exhibition about Form 1382 at the European Industry Museum for Porcelain in Selb, Germany.

Anyone looking for pieces can contact the factory at info@arzberg-porzellan.de

Posted on July 13, 2006 at 3:20 am

Comment by Margarete

I have a set of dishes with the mark

PorzellanfabrikArzbergArzberg(Bayern)

9124

Can you tell me the designer name and the year.

Posted on January 16, 2010 at 11:19 am

Comment by jerry

As far as I can make out, the 9124 refers to the gold rim decorated style used in Form 1495, which may be a Hermann Gretsch design or variant of his famous Form 1382.

Cheers
Jerry

Posted on January 31, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Comment by David

I just bought a Form 1382 White 125 gram butter dish with lid at an Antique store for $7 US. I could buy the same thing new online for $50 US, or direct from Arzberg for 34.50 EU muhahaha! what a find!

Posted on September 13, 2010 at 5:55 am

Comment by Debra

My freind gave me a coffee pot today and it is white with small blue flowers over it on the base of the pot is writen Porzellanfabrik Arzberg(Bayern) and stamped into the base is the numbers 1382131 and under the 8 is the numbers 81 and under the last number is the number 2 it is the same shape as the 1382, could anyone help me with some more information about this peice. I would like to find out the date it was made and what price it might be worth.

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Comment by jerry

The 1382 indicates it is part of the Form 1382 design. It was designed by Dr Hermann Gretsch 1930 and introduced in 1931. The Porzellanfabrik Arzberg(Bayern) mark was introduced to the Form 1382 in 1931. In 1945 the factory was partly destroyed and was rebuilt in 1947. From 1947 the base mark was reduced to just ‘Arzberg’. So your piece was produced between 1931 and 1947.

Gretsch was design director for the Arzberg porcelain factory until his death in 1950. The Form 1382 is still produced today and is still available from the Arzberg factory and select stores in Germany. The pattern is referred to as “blaublute” (Blue flowers) It holds 1.45 litres – 6 cups.

The 2 possibly refers to the pot being a two piece form (pot and lid). It is likely this one?:
http://www.bauer-porzellan.de/main_bigware_34.php?bigPfad=24_36&items_id=866

The glaze has been modernised over the years – the early ones were a deep azure blue, the modern ones a more cornflower blue. You can be confident from the base marking that yours is a pre-1947 one.

Not being a porcelain dealer I could not hazard a value.

Cheers
Jerry

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Comment by Debra

Thank you Gerry I had a look at the site and yes it is exactly the same, I new that the coffee pot had some age as it was a relative of my freind and her relative travelled the world, the coffee pot is in excellant condition with no chips, cracks and is clean inside it does not look as if it has been used, it has been stored since the lady past away, it is a very nice peice, once again thank you for your help.

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Comment by Susan Healy

I have a set of china with the mark Porzellanfabrik Arzborg (Arlzberg) on the first straight line and Arzberg (Bayern) on the second straight line. The pattern is white with triple gold bands with 5 green bands. The handle of the tureen looks like a large bent pumpkin. There is a very delicate gold pattern in gold on the “pumpkin”.

Posted on December 11, 2011 at 8:08 am

Comment by Ann

What can you tell me about a teapot white with blue flowers. On bottom written in scriptstyle porzellanfabrik arberg arberg (bayern). Under that is 50 in gold. The lid inside also has the number 50..my parents were in germany in 1952

Posted on December 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Comment by Annieta

Hi, I have from my parents the stove with red flowers (in stead of the blue flowers) and a golden rim. I’m looking for the teapot for years and hope to find it once, where-ever in the world..:)) It’s such a beautiful piece. My parents bought the tea-set in 1937 and only the stove is left over….if anyone have the red-flowered teapot please let me know!!!

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 2:35 am

Comment by jerry

Arzberg is still in business and still makes most of the bauhaus inspired designs, so you may be able to buy it new from them

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 5:59 am

Comment by Charlee

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story! Thank you for sharing. I recently purchased a lovely teapot at a local thrift store and was just searching online for its origin. It is Form 1382 / 3 with very simple red lines. I am so excited to learn about Arzberg porcelain, and I plan to enjoy my new teapot for a very long time!

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 3:14 am

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