Hans Stoltenberg Lerche

Düsseldorf 1867 — Rome 1920

An Art Nouveau artisan and sculptor with remarkable technical ability, Hans Stoltenberg Lerche received training as a ceramicist in Germany from 1884 to 1886. Initially engaged as a painter and illustrator for German magazines, he turned his attention to handicraft and sculpture, first studying sculpture and painting in Naples from 1886 to 1890, then studying under Eugène Carrière in Paris from 1891 to 1900.

The fanciful decorative patterns he transposed into majolica, glass, enamels, and jewelry were largely inspired by the marine flora and fauna that had fascinated him during his studies at the Naples Aquarium. He moved to Rome in 1900, where he lived for a long time and gained a certain popularity as a portrait artist. If his creations in glass and ceramic were distinguished by their Art Nouveau style, his sculpture provided a more realistic representation. The many busts and sculptures he designed for Goldscheider Factory were produced by melting tin or zinc and majolica. Despite maintaining his Norwegian citizenship and staying in close contact with the Norwegian communities in Rome and Paris, Stoltenberg Lerche spent little time in Norway. From 1911 to 1920 he designed a number of pieces for the Fratelli Toso glass furnace in Venice working alongside the master glassmaker, Vittorio Toso, and his sophisticated creations were shown at the Venice Biennale (1912, 1914, 1920) and the Monza Biennale (1923). He died while planning an ambitious retrospective exhibition of the glassware he had designed for the Venice Biennale and the Oslo Blomqvists Kunsthandel.