The antiquarian







Theodor Rössler, Enamels

1918 - 1939


There is unfortunately not much published about Theodor Rössler, of Jablonec. The best published source I have found so far, in text is less than a page long, contained with the book Collectible Bohemian Glass 1880-1940 by Robert & Deborah Truitt.

We must assume Theodor Rössler was a glass decorator or enameller. As per the Turitt he went to a supplier “Jablone n. Visou to purchase enamels for his work. He was informed none were available.  Visou said he had some old, pre-war (WWI) cakes which may be useless he was welcome to them at no charge.  Rössler supposedly took the old material back to his studio and found, as expected they would not mix with turpentine or any of the other solvents he had on hand. He then found if he chipped off flakes of the cake and fired them on flat glass in this kiln that the flakes had fused to the glass and formed puddles.

This is a nice story but it doesn’t hold water. First, Rössler was not enameling flat glass. Ever piece of his glass I have seen, is of 3 dimensional shape not 2, examples are vase not plate glass / window glass.  Glass items are blow and molded in molten state. From mold it crimped then goes to the lehr or annealing oven. After removed for the lehr and after cooling is complete, it goes to a finishing shop for grinding, polishing, cutting and or enameling.

Now we are at the point the Rössler would complete his enameling, the only problem the glass is not flat. If there is any truth to this story: I think that he had old press cake and used a combination of solvents (with high boiling point) with the application of low heat and slowly dissolved the press cake while mixing. This result in, a enamel of high solids, with low solvent content and high viscosity. He may have also just used a layering technique and buildup. If I every get a piece under a microscope I will write about what I find.

As per Truitt, contour painting in the “Persian style” had bee done in the 19th century bye several firm, including Lobmery in Vienna and Galle in France. Again as per the story Rössler concoction resulted in his ability to apply his colors much closer to each other, without danger of inter mixing. This effect sounds like high solid, low solvent content enamels.

Rössler supposedly inspired by Oriental cloisonné, produced numerous figural painting with brightly colored costumes and emphasized the technique her refereed to “color cake”. Again as per the story when new supply of fresh enamel became available he was able to duplicate his efforts and continued to produce these figures. He continued working up to the beginning of WWII.

After the war and the formation of the Czechoslovakia, the Rössler family, being of German origin, was caught in the great extermination and expulsion of Czech Germans from Czech territories in 1945, and their descendants now live in Germany.

To me Rössler's work is more reminiscent of Harlequin than Oriental Cloisonné.  Judge for yourself.  His rose bowls are found in transparent glass:  in clear, yellow, violet, light taupe and green.  There are a variety of different scenes enameled on the different rose bowls.   

Rössler Enameled Rose Bowls



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