Drawing / Painting School of Mettlach

Portrait making in the drawing school

In April 1851, Eugen von Boch created a drawing school in Mettlach.  All those who were artistically active in Faiencerie were allowed to attend the drawing lessons.  Eugen von Boch who himself painted admirably wanted to raise the artistic level of his employees and to promote the economic and artistic development of the faience.

The Mettlacher drawing school was thus regarded as an intermediary of a technical and artistic training in the time.

The existence of a variety of pencil and sketched drawings suggests that the teaching was comparable to that of an academy.  There was no motive that was not on the teaching program.  Animals and people with the details of their anatomy and landscapes as well.

The simple stylized plant elements, which were probably intended to decorate the architecture, seemed to have been made (according to the assessment of existing works) in the initial stage of the lesson.They are exactly represented but appear a bit stiff, without much swing and too honest.

The illustrated landscapes have the typical romantic note of the 19th century: old buildings, chalets in the mountains etc. Perspectively, they are correct.  The representations are animated by plants and trees which alleviate the otherwise dry character of the scene but otherwise there is no human being, no animal to be discovered.

The historical coloring of art in the nineteenth century has an big influence of the drawing school.  As far as the representation of human beings is concerned, it is found that the working with living model was not necessarily important.

Portraits of Dürer, Holbein, etc., are portrayed in the forms of the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance .  Both the right and the left profile, also the half profile, are practiced.  This is not self-evident, because everyone has the tendency to draw mostly only the left profile.  Clothing and hairstyle are only sketchy, the face is the most important and the "student" shows it.

It was the duty of the male youths of the painting and the stone mass department to visit this school.  The lessons took place during working hours, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10-12 o'clock. The pupils did not suffer the loss of any wage.

The school was set up under the roof of the earthenware factory , which later became the biscuit stock.

The following persons were active as masters in the Mettlacher drawing school (from 1885 to 1915): 

  • Jean Beck (from 1885 - 1890 employed in the company, head of the drawing school and decoration chief until 1890) [1]
  • Peter Winkel (was employed in the company on October 1, 1880; from 1890 he was head of the drawing school)
  • Heinrich Zimmer (works leader, was hired on 18.10.1876 in the company)
  • Johann Zimmer (brother of Heinrich Zimmer, was hired on October 15, 1880 in the company)
  • Jean-Baptiste Stahl (modeller, started his career on April 1, 1895 in the company)

A well-known exception of a teacher in Mettlach at this time who taught the students of the company in painting not in the drawing school but in his own studio in Mettlach-Keuchingen , was the late-romanticist "Wilhelm Göttinger" fromRosette1 Zeichenschule Frankfurt am Main.  He came  to the company on 15 January 1897 as a ceramic painter.

The first world war was the reason that the successful school was discontinued in 1915.  At the time, however, it was reported that there was still teaching (1915-1919), especially in the colour and delft painting.

In 1920 the drawing and modeling school was reopened in the same hall.  However, the lessons took place after the end of the work and the participation was voluntary.  One started with 18 male teenagers.  Peter Winkel for painting / drawing ( a diligent artist of the "old Munich school") and for modeling Jean-Baptiste Stahl were the teacher (again).  The pupils of the flower painter "Albert Lessel"  who had entered the company on 20 April 1876 (died on 02 Juin 1925) recieved no direct instruction from him but very many useful suggestions.

There are very little evidences on the development of the drawing school in the period after 1920.  The finding of two small workbooks in the 1990s on the attic of the building in which the head office was based gave further indications.  One of them had the inscription "old school", the other " factory school ".  From these perspective it is clear that in the 1930s lessons were also held in the painting and drawing school.  Worthy of mention is also that a course leader named Ludwig Winkel was the son of former drawing teacher Peter Winkel.

From 1936, the painting and drawing school which had existed so far, was further expanded and the newly created factory school was opened on 03 March 1939. But when you look at it closely, it was now no school for drawing and drawing, but a company school where the following lectures were held:

  • History of the company 
  • Manufacturing process, shaping and models
  • Faults, their formation and avoidance
  • Preparation of the product for burning

How long this company school existed, is not known.  But it seems quite clear that the "old" school of painting and drawingSignatur Krug 1525 Dec587 was not carried forward after 1938

[1] Jean Beck was born in Mettlach in the age of historicism in 1862 and was trained as a ceramist in Villeroy & Boch's decoration department.  At the age of 17 he went to Munich and studied 6 semesters at the Kunstgewerbeschule.  During his further studies at the University of Munich (Kunstgeschichte und Stillehre) and Dresden, he worked as a volunteer in the Mettlacher earthenware factory .  In the middle of the 1880s, he became a decoration designer and head of the drawing school at Villeroy & Boch in Mettlach.  In 1890 he left Mettlach again and went back to Munich, where he died in 1938.  For Mettlach, he has created #1526/587 and the wall plates #1044/126, #1044/127, #1044/141 and #1044/142 (signed objects).



Zeugnis Zeichenschule

Signatures of the teachers Peter Winkel (drawing) and Jean-Baptiste Stahl (modeling)


1. Mettlacher Turm (Ausgabe Dezember 1987 / Nr. 36): Vereinszeitschrift des Mettlacher Steinzeugsammler Vereins, Artikel: Dr. Therese Thomas: Über die Mettlacher Zeichenschule als Vermittlerin einer technischen und künstlerischen Ausbildung

2. Mettlacher Turm (Ausgabe März 1989 / Nr. 41): Vereinszeitschrift des Mettlacher Steinzeugsammler Vereins, Artikel: Alfred Funk: Weitere Informationen zur Mettlacher Zeichenschule

3. Mettlacher Turm (Ausgabe September 1990 / Nr. 47): Vereinszeitschrift des Mettlacher Steinzeugsammler Vereins, Artikel: Dr. Therese Thomas - Ein Stückchen weiter in der Geschichte der Mettlacher Zeichenschule

4. Mettlacher Turm (Ausgabe Dezember 1998 / Nr. 75): Vereinszeitschrift des Mettlacher Steinzeugsammler Vereins, Artikel: Dr. Therese Thomas - Zur Geschichte der Mettlacher Zeichen- und Malschule - Ein interessanter Fund

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