Ceramics is a technique that is associated with masters of Antiquity, with red-figure and black-figure pots. At that time it was possible to classify these works as works of art, but later ceramics existed in the field of craftsmanship. At the turn of the XIX-XX centuries Russian artists, inspired by folk culture, decided to try themselves in ceramic plastics. Painters, sculptors, graphic designers - M. Vrubel, V. Serov, A. Golovin, and many others turned to this technique in search of new artistic means.
In common mood of searching for new aesthetic landmarks, there appeared several unique workshops of applied art - Abramtsevo, Talashkino, Murava society, ceramic workshops in the Stroganov school, in the Central School of Technical Drawing of Baron A. Stieglitz, at the School of Society of the encouragement of the arts. All of them presented the heyday of ceramic art of the early XX century, which managed to combine the colorfulness of Russian folk art, the volume of sculpture, the color of painting.
M. Vrubel combined symbolism with modernism in his work, he was the first who felt what was happening in the world of art - a sense of anxiety, mysterious beauty, the so-called «fin de siècle». He became the «discoverer» of the ceramics technique in Abramtsevo's workshop. He revealed the decorative features of majolica and mastered all the features of technique.
His creative heritage includes dozens of works made in ceramics - sculptural «portraits» such as «Egyptian», «Volkhova», «Lel», «Berendey», monumental decorative items, for example, the fireplace "Meeting of Volgo Svyatoslavich with Mikula Selyaninovich». As well as decorative items - various vases and pots. For example, in the collection of the Bureau «Gamayun» there is a vase that has the stigma of the workshop «Abramtsevo» and is a very typical work for M. Vrubel - a simple form of a vase with relief flowers, poured with «fused» enamel of lilac-gray hues, all covered with craquelures, making this large-sized vase brittle and tender.
M. Vrubel’s experiments in the field of this «new» technique, which gives a completely different aesthetic impressions, inspired other artists to experience in ceramics. For example, V. Serov, who was good in all endeavors - in painting, graphics, sculpture. In our collection there is a work, which was opened quite recently - the vase «Flying Demon». She did not participate in the exhibitions of Abramtsevo ceramics, but it obviously refers to the work of V. Serov. It is known that in the 1890s the «demonic» theme was interesting not only to M. Vrubel, but also to other artists. V. Serov’s vase has an interesting design - a voluminous, high-relief figure of a flying Demon wraps a vase with a narrow throat and a wide base. The work looks very decorative and expressive due to the soft semi-nude figure with golden wings which contrasts with the bright blue enamel of the vase.
These works can be called works of art, not handicrafts - all of them are made by professional artists, who are famous not only in the field of ceramic plastics. We can say that Russian ceramics of the turn of the XIX-XX centuries is a special area of artistic creativity of those times.
Artistic and ceramic manufacture "Geldwein-Vaulin"
Model by L. Brik
Mark in mass with a contour inside, resembling a silhouette of a head
Majolica, colored glaze
H - 23.3 cm
Sculpture of a woman with a fan
A figure depicting a woman in an oriental costume with a fan in her left hand is a genuine work performed in the Artistic and ceramic manufacture «Geldwein-Vaulin» by the sculptor L. Brik.
Sculpture is similar to the one which is kept in the State Museum of History of St. Petersburg is a part of a small group of works (one of the sculptures of the series is kept in the State Hermitage). Figures of women in oriental clothes are united by one manner: schematic and careless. They entered the museum in the 1960s from O. Vaulina, daughter of P. Vaulin. On the back of the sculpture there is a paper sticker with the name «L. Brick» (sticker with the «owner’s» name or made by a museum employee in the 1960s with the words of Olga Vaulina). The authorship of Brik is confirmed by the articles of T. Kudryavtseva with memories from the archives of P. Vaulin (the archive entered the State Hermitage from the family of the ceramist). «Such small products, produced in small batches, were samples made by artists or sculptors who were working on larger art panels for special architectural facings. Pyotr Kuzmich gave the opportunity to artists and sculptors working in the factory to perform any small ceramic products at their request. So, for example, the sculptor Brick performed several small table statuettes, very interesting in composition and glaze».
There is a brand with a wavy outline resembling a silhouette of a curly head on the back of the work.
Sculptural works were not included in the main assortment of production and were produced in limited quantities. The sculpture was divided into two groups: reproductive and decorative plastics. Replicas from the originals of Antiquity are stored in the State Hermitage and the State Museum of History of St. Petersburg.
The figure depicting a woman in an oriental suit with a fan in her left hand, is a rare example of the decorative plastic of the Kikerino workshop.
Specialist in porcelain: Т. Kumzerova
The Artistic and ceramic manufacture «Geldwein-Vaulin» was founded in 1906 at the station Kikerino of St. Petersburg province by the artist-ceramist P. Vaulin (1870-1943), who received international fame for the fireplace created by M. Vrubel's design for the World Exhibition in 1900 in Paris. From July 1890 to October 1903, P. Vaulin worked in Abramtsevo and in the S. Mamontov’s pottery workshop in Butyrki. The Artistic and ceramic manufacture «Geldwein-Vaulin» became the direct successor of the Abramtsevo workshop. Vaulin brought many artists from Abramtsevo to work in Kikerino. There were produced projects of A. Golovin, S. Chekhonin, P. Kuznetsov, A. Mateev, N. Roerich, E. Lansere, V. Borisov-Musatov and others.
The workshops specialized in architectural ceramics; they produced panels, friezes, tiles for facades, icons, iconostases. Ceramics decorated mansions, houses and villas, public and church buildings in Saint Petersburg. Kikerino ceramics can be seen in other cities of Russia: Astrakhan, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara.
Ceramic stoves and fireplaces, which were manufactured by the firm «Geldwein-Vaulin», were preserved in some interiors of the old Saint Petersburg apartments.
P. Vaulin was not an artist, but a technologist. «I prepared all the colors, glazes, enamels by myself, according to my recipes. I designed and built the furnace,»- wrote ceramist. Cooperating with the leading masters of the era, the ceramist also took a great interest in designing and performed a number of works in his drawings: decorative dishes, vases, panels, fireplaces.
In 1920, the Kikerino workshop was revived as the State Porcelain and Ceramic Factory «Horn», whose technical director from 1920 to 1930 was P. Vaulin. Since 1926, the factory switched to the production of art dishes, vases, statuettes for import abroad. Later, the former artistic manufacture began to specialize in electrical porcelain, sanitary ware, shells, chemical dishes.
Artistic and ceramic manufacture "Geldwein-Vaulin"
Majolica, colored glaze