Max Laeuger

Max Laeuger (or Läuger) was born in Lörrach in the extreme south-western corner of Germany on September 30, 1864. Lörrach later became famous for being the home of the school of espionage where Mata Hari learned her skills; it was also the home town of Johann August Suter, later to become John A Sutter, the protagonist in the terrible story of injustice at Sutter's Mill, California.

Laeuger taught himself to pot, studied at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic a hundred miles to the north-west of Lörrach (now Karlsruhe University) and eventually became a professor at that establishment. He is usually known as Professor Max Laeuger and some of his work is marked thus. In 1895 after travelling throughout Europe visiting the major cultural centres to study art he was appointed as the director of the art pottery department of Tonwerke Kanderne close to his home town. He stayed there until 1913 and later took up a similar position at Majolika-Manufaktur in Karlsruhe.

From 1921 he had his own workshop in premises formerly owned by the company and produced designs for them there. The work produced fell into three types; slip decorated wares designed by Laeuger but produced entirely by the factory, pieces made at the factory but decorated and glazed by Laeuger and one-off pieces by the professor made from beginning to end in his own workshop. All were marketed by Majolika-Manufaktur. The lesser pieces were impressed 'LAEUGER' or 'PROF. MAX LAEUGER' and the one-off pieces had the brushed initials 'ML'.

Through the thirties and into the Second World War he worked on his own, but after his workshop was destroyed in 1944 he returned to Lörrach where he died on December 12, 1952. Laeuger was a major figure in German ceramics. His designs and his glazes had 'organic' characteristics that are unmistakable and his work is much sought-after by collectors. Examples of Laeuger pieces are on display at the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe.


Leauger elephant