Spruchbretter 1880–1940 from the collection Carl Maier


Aphorisms, words of wisdom, blessings, primarily in wood – but also in leather, leatherboard, silk, fabric or cork – and branded with images; it is above all since the mid-19th century that these decorative objects have become common features within house and home. The technique of pyrography was already known to the ancient Egyptians, and it was developed artistically and technically through the centuries by artists including Albrecht Dürer. In the collection of Stuttgart collector Carl U. Maier’s, more than 600 Spruchbretter (inspirational quote plaques), produced between 1880 and 1940, pyrography’s tradition of connecting word and image – between folk art and poetry, wall decoration and bourgeois invocation ritual – is brought to life.

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