For collectors and art enthusiasts alike, M.I. Hummel figurines are beloved works of art that hold a special place in the world of collectibles. These charming porcelain pieces depict children and animals in various activities and settings, each imbued with a sense of innocence and whimsy. But how did these figurines become so iconic, and why do they continue to capture our imaginations today?
The Origins and History of How Hummel Ceramic Figurines Came to Be
The story of these popular collectors’ items begins with a young artist named Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. Born in 1909 in Bavaria, Germany, she showed an early talent for drawing and painting.
After joining a convent in 1931, she started creating small porcelain figurines based on her drawings.
Her work quickly caught the attention of Franz Goebel, head of the Goebel Porcelain Factory. Goebel saw the potential in Sister Maria Innocentia’s figurines and offered to collaborate with her on a larger scale. Together, they refined the design and began producing them in larger quantities.
The first official Hummel figurine was produced in 1935 and quickly became a hit. People all over Germany fell in love with the charming, whimsical figures that captured the innocence and playfulness of childhood. By the end of the decade, Hummel ornaments had become a cultural phenomenon, and their popularity only continued to grow in the years that followed.
Recognisable Artistry and Design
At the heart of the appeal of these figurines is their unique artistic style. Sister Maria Innocentia’s drawings were characterized by a distinctive blend of realism and fantasy, with an emphasis on capturing the beauty of everyday life and childhood. Her figurines reflect this same sensibility, with their attention to detail and intricate designs.
Many depict children engaged in simple, everyday activities like playing games, reading books, or tending to animals. These scenes are often accompanied by a sense of whimsy and humor, with the children’s expressions and actions conveying a sense of joy and playfulness.
In addition to their design, the Hummel figurines available to buy are also known for their high quality. Each piece is carefully crafted from fine porcelain, with great attention to detail paid to every aspect of its construction. From the delicate features of the faces to the intricate folds of the clothing, every aspect of the ornaments is a testament to the skill and care of the artists who created them.
The Cultural Significance of These Works of Art
One of the reasons why Hummel’s pieces have endured as cultural icons is their deep connection to German and Bavarian culture. They often depict scenes from everyday life in rural Bavaria, from children playing in the fields to families gathering around the dinner table. As such, they have become symbols of the simple pleasures of country life, and of the values of hard work, family, and community that are so important to German culture.
These figurines also played a significant role in the development of the brand. The success of the early pieces allowed Goebel to expand the Hummel line to include other products, such as plates, clocks, and other collectibles. These products were marketed not only in Germany but around the world, helping to spread the popularity of Hummel figurines and cementing their place in popular culture.
The Continued Relevance
Despite their humble beginnings, these ceramic ornaments continue to be beloved by collectors and enthusiasts around the world. They remain popular for several reasons. For one, they are still produced today, albeit by a different company, and collectors can still acquire both vintage and modern pieces to add to their collections.
Additionally, the pieces have a timeless appeal that transcends trends and fads. They evoke a sense of nostalgia for simpler times and represent an idealized vision of childhood innocence.
Another reason for their continued relevance is their ability to evoke emotions in viewers. Sister Maria Innocentia’s designs often depict sentimental and heartwarming scenes, which can evoke strong emotional reactions from viewers. For instance, the piece “The Love Lives On” shows a young girl with her grandfather, holding a bouquet of flowers at his gravestone. This scene touches on themes of love, loss, and family, which resonate with people of all ages.
In recent years, these items have also gained a new level of appreciation among younger generations. Their popularity on online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy suggests that younger collectors are discovering the joy of collecting them, and are drawn to their unique aesthetic and sentimental appeal.
How to Recognise a Genuine Hummel Piece?
All authentic pieces will have the TMK logo and identification symbols on them. But if you’re still not sure, check the following characteristics.
Fake figures will have some altered, added, or removed features. For instance, the facial expression or a patch of grass can be different, or the head might be rotated to the opposite side. To make sure that your figurine’s features are the same as an authentic original, see if you can compare it to a picture of it online.
Fake pieces frequently weigh less than authentic ones. The Goebel firm employs a special porcelain mixture that gives the finished product a solid feel. Cheaper materials like plaster, chalk, or even plastic are frequently used in copies. Your figurine is not genuine if it is made of plastic.
Last but not least, Maria Innocentia herself defined the color scheme used in authentic Goebel-produced pieces. The colors of forged items are typically comparable but not exactly the same, making them simple to distinguish from the real thing.
On your figurine, look for any strange colors or tones. Refer to the hues of an original piece if you can. While they don’t have to be exactly the same, genuine pieces share the same color scheme.
Maria Innocentia’s figurines have come a long way from their humble beginnings. They have become cultural icons, beloved by collectors and enthusiasts around the world, and continue to evoke emotions and capture the imagination of viewers young and old. Through their unique artistic style, high quality, and cultural significance, these whimsical porcelain pieces have left an indelible mark on the world of collectibles and popular culture.