Franz Detleff Goebel, along with his son William, founded the German porcelain company W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik in 1871. The family's factory in Bavaria introduced its first figurine in 1890, following a 300-year-old tradition of German porcelain and ceramic making.
In 1933, Goebel wanted to produce a new type of figurine, "a series of small ceramic figures that everyone could afford and enjoy" that would touch the heart and make people remember their own childhood experiences.
At the time, children were rarely depicted realistically in porcelain. The traditional Renaissance religious art portrayed them as cherubs and angels.
One day in a Munich shop, Goebel found art cards of children sketched by a Franciscan nun, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel (1909-1946). Hummel's children, inspired by her happy childhood in the tiny German village of Massing, were a joyous blend of the real and ideal. Her art captured the perfect spirit of innocence that Goebel wanted. A creative partnership was formed.
Hummel's first figurines, displayed at the Trade Show in Leipzig in 1935, were an instant hit. Her art survived the tyranny of Nazism and brought a purity of hope at a time of historical bleakness.
Today, Goebel artists in Roedental continue to base their work on the quiet nun's sketches which celebrate children. The figurines continue to be bought as special gifts and cherished as collectables.
"If we put her work into a time capsule for 100 years," praised art historian Ulrich Gertz, "when the capsule is opened her images will still be as strong and valid as they are today."
More Art & Artists Quotations
Hold on to the innocence of childhood memories.