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Art Deco Zsolnay porcelain advertisement

Hungarian title:

Art Deco Zsolnay reklámterv

Artist: Size:
Bagóczki, Viktória A3 (cca. 30 x 42 cm)
Year: Condition:
1930s Mint.
Paint on cardboard.

Price: $400


This lovely painted artwork was created as an advertisement design in the 1930s. The designer was Viktória Bagóczki, a Hungarian graphic artist in the 20th century whose drawings, graphic designs and maquettes can appear time after time from the past. It is interesting to see the variety of her works: she designed pitchers, cups, vases, but she also created advertisement designs and portraits of people and plants. This maquette was commissioned by the internationally noted Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture. It is one of the biggest Hungarian ceramics company, manufacturing porcelain, tiles, and stoneware.

„The Zsolnay factory was established by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880) in Pécs, Hungary, to produce stoneware and other ceramics in 1853. In 1863, his son, Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) joined the company and became its manager and director after several years. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by demonstrating its innovative products at world fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna, then at the 1878 World Fair in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix. In 1893, Zsolnay introduced porcelain pieces made of eosin. […] Frost-resisting Zsolnay building decorations were used in numerous buildings specifically during the art nouveau movement. By 1914, Zsolnay was the largest company in Austro-Hungary. During World War I production of pottery and building materials were curtailed, and the factory produced for military use, for instance insulators. After World War I the fortunes of the factory declined due to the Serbian occupation, loss of markets, and difficulty to secure raw materials. However, after the depression, conditions improved. During World War II its site of production in Budapest was bombed. With the rule of communism the factory was nationalized in 1948. Eventually, the Zsolnay name was dropped. […] However, in 1982 with the resumption of a market economy, the company regained its operational independence, was reorganized, and the Zsolnay name returned.”

The maquette displays a Zsolnay porcelain vase with several tulip-like flowers in it in front of a background with a natural colour provided by the paper itself. The design operates with several clever ideas. The vase stands on the top of the ‘Z’ letter as if it was a table. The typographic design in blue below is simple, but spectacular with the initial emphasized. The vase seems to be transparent, which first can be strange, but by this feature, the image of the flowers reminds of the floral motifs used on Zsolnay porcelain pieces.

The style of the painted artwork indicates the period of creation which also matches the historical circumstances. So probably, the advertisement design was created during the interwar period, when Zsolnay could develop again. The sleek, elegant font type and the emphasis of typography are typical Art Deco characteristics, as well as the simple, stylized, moderate floral motifs. The showy solutions of the typographic design and the meta-modality of the design (a vase is depicted but the whole image could appear on a vase) contribute to a certain kind of playfulness as well.