JBS-Madonna. Early Phanolith. Diameter 70 mm. The relief is modeled in great detail and precision. The figures contrast in their liveliness and movements to the outer decor. Despite of the small size, the flowers are elaborately worked out. In the enlarged view one can easily determine different species. The execution of the religious motif combines old traditions with JBS´s own creative view on the world. The Phanolith already exhibits a slight translucency. The firing of the model was not perfect, yet. The white porcelain gives a blurred impression. This early madonna demonstrates, how JBS proceeded in his style, design, technology and topics in parallel. Later on, the topic was remodelled for the convex lid of a small jar with model number 7103.
Rural Scene. Early Phanolith. Height 52 mm. Though not perfect with respect to the firing of the model, the translucency of the Phanolith is systematically explored as a means to evoke three-dimensionality. Due to its darker tint, the dog, the dead hare and the person´s arm on the stick, the tree-like item are percieved in the background. The dog is modeled in such detail that its breed can be imagined. At the woman\'s neck, translucency is used to evoke shadow. The ease, in which the three persons interact, is remarkable and reminds one of JBS´s ease in his drawings. The overall scene shows great intimacy, though the clothing brings in an historic context. Scene based on Bertel Thorvaldsen\'s (1770-1844) design of four seasons.
Tobacco jar. It was in use in the Stahl family. On the inside of the lid, there is a special enclosure for a wet sponge. The backside of the item is without decoration. The
relief is strongly modeled. Nevertheless, translucency is explored in the lower parts of the scene. The smile of the central figure reminds one of Leonardo´s Mona Lisa.
The tobacco jar is a first item that demonstrates a significant improvement of the porcelain and the perfection in its processing. For later items beginning with number 7000 an even more refined porcelain was used. Its exceptional translucent properties allowed for the realization of extremely thin reliefs. The picturesque quality of these masterpieces was coined with the name Phanolith.
Phanolith masterpiece. Section of model 7046 from 1901 showing the mastery of Jean-Baptiste Stahl in using translucency as a means to enhance the illusion of three-dimensionality. Like a painter, he uses the tint of the white porcelain to mimic changing lights, shadows, depth and plasticity. Light seems to shine onto the stage from a source in the front. Scene from "Flying Dutchman". 31 cm x 38 cm.
Exceptionally large and elaborately worked out wall plate in Phanolith. Dimensions: 220 cm x 60 cm. For the first time, the plate was shown at the World Fair 1900 at Paris. As a highlight of the stand of Villeroy & Boch, it entered the Spetz collection in Issenheim, Alsace, France. The unique Phanolith plate seems to be colored like a few of the smaller wall plaques. Most certainly Paul Winkel was JBS´ co-worker in these kinds of colored plates. Winkel headed the painters section at Villeroy & Boch. Both were close friends.