Much prized by collectors, particularly the pre World War II pieces, the Rosenthal porcelain studio is a family based business that has continued for well over 100 years. In addition to the fine quality of the porcelain itself, the company has always drawn together the best available artists to render the fineness of detail and interpretation in its distinctive animal figurines, as well as its much loved heirloom quality dinnerware.
Here is a brief history of the company:
In 1884, Phillip Rosenthal began selling porcelain wares that were painted by hand by his wife, Maria. He sold these white ware pieces from door to door. He initially purchased the white ware that she used from Hutschenreuther, a manufacturer of porcelain.
By 1891, Rosenthal porcelain was successful enough so that its own porcelain factory was established in Asch, Bohemia. This began an era of porcelain production that still thrives today. Starting in 1897 and continuing until 1936, Rosenthal porcelain acquired a number of porcelain factories in a variety of locations. These locations include Marktredwitz, Sophienthal, Kronach, Selb, Waldershof, and Waldenberg.
The baroque designs and rococo curlicues of such Rosenthal porcelain dinnerware and occasional piece patterns like Moss Rose and Maria White enabled the Rosenthal porcelain to grow at a rapid rate. When World War II began, Rosenthal porcelain employed more than 5,000 people distributed throughout 10 companies. Production was halted during World War II. At the conclusion of the war, Phillip Rosenthal’s son, also named Phillip, made his way back to Germany to assess the remains of the Rosenthal porcelain business.
Phillip Rosenthal successfully rebuilt Rosenthal porcelain. He did so by modernizing the factories which were outdated. He also reestablished markets which had been lost during the war. In addition, Phillip changed the focus of Rosenthal porcelain from the well known designs that focused primarily on the baroque designs and rococo curlicues. Instead, he sought out a more streamlined and contemporary look.
In order to implement this new look, Rosenthal porcelain hired the best artists of that period of time. These included Hans Theo Baumann from Germany, Raymond Peynet from France, Tapio Wirkkala from Finland, and Raymond Loewy. These designers made simple yet elegant lines such as the Studio Line. Audrey Hepburn, Aga Khan, and Elizabeth Taylor are just a few of the many Studio Line fans.
Due in part to the popularity of the Studio Line, Phillip became president of Rosenthal porcelain in 1958. Although some of the older patterns of Rosenthal porcelain are still being produced, these days, the company remains primarily focused on working with modern fashion and design leaders in order to produce unique designs for the table.