Our featured museum piece this month is by Hutschenreuther China Company of Selb, Germany. The Challenge an awe-inspiring sculpture that features the intricate design artistry of Gunther Granget. Standing a colossal 19 1/2 inches high and 14 1/2 inches wide, The Challenge features a nesting mother heron using her wings to protect her eggs while a large male heron hovers just overhead. As you can see from this image (which you can click to expand), there is a tremendous amount of detail featured in the sculpture. The birds are breathtakingly animated and the nest is sculpted to create a look life-like twigs and foliage. Hutschenreuther designed The Challenge in 1978 and did a limited release of only 200 of these pieces. At the time, the average trend price for the sculpture was $8,200. Within two years, Hutschenreuther sold all of these amazing sculptures. The copy that we feature in our museum is numbered “27/200”. Our estimate is that the value of this piece is $15,000 to $20,000 dollars. This estimate is based on the limited number of 200 sculptures produced and the almost non-existent movement of these items on the secondary market. This incredible sculpture is actually one of the first pieces that you will see when visiting our museum in person, and with good reason!
Hutschenreuther has a long history of creating beautiful figurines. The original Hutschenreuther porcelain company was opened in 1814. Carolus Magnus Hutschenreuther wanted to open the first privately owned porcelain factory in Germany. After a lengthy search, he decided to settle in Bavaria. Later, a second Hutschenreuther factory was built in Selb, Germany. This new factory was built by Carolus’ son, Lorenz. In 1917, Hutschenreuther of Selb acquired processes and skills needed to begin producing figurines via the purchase of the art division of Paul Muller Co. Hutschenreuther's managing director, Emil Mundel, was the driving force behind the acquisition of Muller’s assets. After acquiring sculptors and skilled laborers, Hutschenreuther began soliciting design help and ideas for sculpture and dinnerware from the Selb Technical School of Porcelain. By 1926, the art division of the company had won wide acclaim and its porcelain figurines were highly sought after. Today, Hutschenreuther remains in Selb, Germany, and its products continue to be very popular and highly collectible.
Although The Challenge figurine in our museum is not for sale, we do have one that is available for purchase in our inventory. Replacements, Ltd. also carries a wide selection of Hutschenreuther items in other patterns; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you'll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles. Our 500,000-square-foot facilities hold more than 12 million individual pieces in more than 425,000 patterns. Our retail store and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The retail store and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!
Want to know more about Hutschenreuther? Click here for an informative history.