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Unterstaub East German Studio Pottery

Unterstab Art Pottery mark
KTU mark for Kunsttöpferei Unterstab (Unterstab Art Pottery run by Ralf and Gudrun Unterstab)

I’m increasingly frustrated by how poor some of the early research into West and East German pottery turns out to be, but I’m also frustrated that changes in information are often not widely shared, just in whatever group they first get revealed in.  I would love to be doing my own research, but the necessary materials remain in Germany, leaving me to rely on those people in Germany who research the subjects.

The latest foul up involves Unterstab studio pottery from East Germany.  The last time I had work from that “family”, word was that one mark was from husband and wife team, Ralf and Gudrun

Ralf and Gudrun Unterstab vase with crystalline glaze
Ralf and Gudrun Unterstab vase, circa 1970.

Unterstab, while the simple KTU mark was Kerstin, their child.  Not much more information seemed to be available.

So I get the lovely crystalline glaze vase pictured here and decide to ask for a few more details and confirm some information.  It turns out that KTU stands for Kunsttöpferei Unterstab (translation Unterstab Art Pottery), and not only is it not by Kerstin, but there is and never was such a person.  Just how bad does research have to be to create a person who never existed just to match letters in a name?  I apologize to anyone I ever passed that information along to.  While I know where I got the wrong information, I don’t know if that was the “source”, so I’ll leave that be for now…but a lot of wrong and very wrong information has come from that same route.

So Unterstab pottery is Ralf and Gudrun (which I think is still accurate).  Luckily, this vase, which I believe is circa 1970, is just as lovely since good or bad research affects only the attribution, not the aesthetics.

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