With lyrical porcelain painting, Berta Tappolet (1897–1947) displayed her signature creative flair, while she also pursued in various other genres the aim of perfecting each product with narratively dense ornament.
Berta Tappolet painted with free-flowing brushstrokes a cup and saucer as part of a tea service. The predominantly delicate pastel shades of the porcelain paint are applied transparently in watery layers, spreading across the surfaces in an even flow. A woman sits in a relaxed posture at the window, contemplating a harmonious dreamlike landscape enlivened by frolicking wildlife amid the vegetation along with fragmentary hints of buildings and further figures. Deftly placed patches of color round off the varied composition. Tappolet initially completed an apprenticeship drafting embroidery motifs in the studio of Bertha Bear (1872–unknown), together with her friend Luise Strasser (1894–1974). She then studied decorative painting for three years at the Kunstgewerbeschule München. After returning from Munich to Zurich, in 1917 the two friends opened a studio at Neumarkt 11 and then ran a “crafts workshop” on Jupitersteig from 1926 to 1935. Tappolet’s expressive painting style, which she had already perfected in book illustrations (such as Kinder im Garten), decorative furniture painting (on chests and cabinets), and murals, also animated her porcelain painting and textile art. Along with the designers Luise Strasser, Cornelia Forster, and Amata Good, Tappolet opened a shop in Zurich in 1937 called Cornelius, where the artists sold their works. The shop spread word of her talents, bringing her many orders. The ceramic workshop in Uster hired Tappolet and Strasser to paint decorative vases and pitchers, while Tappolet also executed painted ornament for the Langenthal porcelain factory. (Sabine Flaschberger)