Portrait of Vilmos Zsolnay

The history of today's Zsolnay Factory reaches back to the year 1853, when Miklós Zsolnay established the first manufacture of ceramics for his son Ignác. Ten years later, Vilmos Zsolnay, the younger brother of Ignác, took over the management and within a short period of time developed the small plant into a factory standard. The factory's first major success was reached at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna. On the basis of its displays, the factory received a great number of orders from England, France, Russia, and even from America. certificate of merit The success achieved during the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris was tremendous. The jury praised the Zsolnay collection as being unique and gave it the gold medal, the so-called Grand Prix. At the same time, Vilmos Zsolnay was made a member of the Legion of Honour. The next steps in this series of successes were Melbourne in 1880, Brussels (1888), Chicago (1893) and Antwerp (1894). At the exhibition organized in 1896, on the occasion of the millennium of the Hungarian Kingdom, the factory introduced its most beautiful pieces, made of eosin. The emperor awarded the Franz Joseph Order to Vilmos Zsolnay, and the city of Pécs gave him the title of Honorary Town Citizen. Antique Zsolnay Vase   After Vilmos Zsolnay's death, in 1900, his son Miklós took over the management of the factory, which by then had already become world-famous. During this time, the new style, the so-called Art Nouveau, was prevailing in decorative art productions. In the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and in other neighboring countries, no competitors could be found for the frost-resistant Zsolnay building decorations. Vilmos Zsolnay's great merit was his invention of several new technologies for the production of ceramics. In the course of his experiments, he developed a base material and glazes that yielded a quality equal to porcelain painting, but which at the same time allowed a much richer use of colours. His technique of firing glazes at high temperatures remains unique even today. The name Zsolnay has brought world fame to his family as well as to his factory. However, numerous difficulties and enormous efforts also accompanied the glorious past. Two world wars, the loss of material source, the collapse of markets and changes in international as well as in domestic politics all influenced the life of the factory, at times even endangering its further existence. Today, the Zsolnay porcelain Factory holds on to its great traditions, while at the same time stressing the importance of a continuous renewal Antique Zsolnay Eosin Vase 

From the 1950s onward, as the political and cultural atmosphere in Hungary became more open, the Zsolnay factory permitted designers to produce work that explored modern abstraction. Guest artists like Victor Vasarely and Eva Zeisel conceived beautiful pieces that revived earlier Zsolnay organic shapes and metallic glazes. Other designers revitalized the manufacture's architectural ceramic output, referring to the tradition of producing vividly colored weather-resistant tiles and ornamentation, examples of which can still been seen on buildings throughout Hungary, Today Zsolnay continues to create original designs along with new editions of past products that celebrate the manufactory's technical and stylistic achievements. present alike.


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