A few months ago, I recieved an email about plates by Hermann-Paul. Since H-P was a graphic artist, I assumed the writer had lithographic plates. They are made of either metal or stone. While writer asked for more information, it was clear she cared about pricing. If she hoped her plates were valuable, then she was likely to be disappointed. Litho plates are very rare but they don’t hold much value. Afterall, who mounts one on their wall? They can be desired by printers who make reproductions from “lifetime” plates. Since Hermann-Paul doesn’t have strong repro market, these plates didn’t have much value. I was curious so I asked her to send me some pictures.
The photograph on the left came as a shock. “Oh, you mean dinner plates.” Stylistically, there was little doubt. The plate contained a drawing by Hermann-Paul which was consistent with his late 19th century work. My first impression was “meh.” The long rectangular building looked out of place on a round dinner plate. It was black and white and kind of drab. Still, I’m not a ceramics guy so what did I know? A mark on the back provided a clue, “Geo. Rourard Paris.”
I discovered that Rouard took over the gallery A la Paix shortly after the Great War. That meant this was very likely a late 19th century drawing placed on a post-war plate. I’m not familiar with late 19th Century copyright law but it opened the possibility that the work was done without the artist’s consent. Rourard may have placed a public domain drawing on a post-war plate. Still, I didn’t want to mislead this person. I forwared the images to a dealer familiar with Hermann-Paul’s work.
It turns out they are more common than I thought. These plates turn up on eBay from time to time. They were probably intended for the tourist market – the plates shown here were from the UK. It’s not clear if Hermann-Paul collaborated from with Rourard but it seems unlikely. By the post-war period, his attention was focused on fine arts. At any rate, they’re not worth much since Hermann-Paul collectors want paper and ceramics collectors aren’t very interested.