While borders may change and territories expand and contract, art continue to press on. Art—a fundamental expression of human creativity—is challenged by conflict, sometimes changed by conflict, but rarely killed by conflict.
The piece of art pottery, pictured above, was birthed in a time and region of tremendous conflict—and has survived beautifully.
Having been made in the German-occupied region of Eastern France called Alsace—just before or at the beginning of World War I—is this piece German or French? Jugendstil or Art Nouveau? And does its strong Secessionist (Austrian) sensibility make it something altogether different?
And what of the workshop that produced such a piece? Surely they could not have continued for long to devote themselves to the production of such “unimportant” items as decorative art pottery? Were the craftsmen German or French? Did they get along? What resentments simmered? Did love affairs bloom while the rest of the world was falling apart?
One can speculate—even invent—the backstory. What is known is this: something beautiful emerged from something terrible and has survived to be cherished by someone who will never know the whole story.