Loetz Colors - Photos & Other Variables

Sometimes what you see is not always what you get!  There can be much variation in the way Loetz colors are presented in photographs. There can also be confusion based on the names that Loetz used for their ground colors.

Let's look at the names of the Loetz colors first. The colors “metallic-red” and “fire-red” are good examples of how the names of Loetz colors can be confusing.  Both are included in the list of Loetz “reds” yet both of these colors look more “orange” than red. (Click here for a complete list of Loetz colors). Below are two documented examples of “fire-red” and “metallic-red”, respectively.

fire-red DEK 296metallic-red PG 166 

Photo variables - There are many variables that can create color distortions in a photograph including lighting, type and quality of camera, and photo enhancement programs. An example of photographic variances can be seen in these three examples of the decor "camellia-red" Aeolus.  In the Aeolus decor "camellia-red" is a pale pink. (In later decor executions such as Ausf 226, camellia-red is a brighter pink).  The photo of the vase shown on the right is the most accurate of what one should expect when looking at an example of camellia-red Aeolus with the naked eye.

   "camellia-red" Aeolus

Other examples of how photos can distort colors are illustrated below. In the photo grouping of the three "green" vases, each photo shows a completely different looking vase yet they were taken of the same vase. The photo on the left was taken by a professional photographer for an auction catalog. The middle photo shows how bad lighting, using a flash and an inferior camera can dull colors and iridescence. The last photo demonstrates how photo software programs and lighting can enhance, add or distort colors.

The next group of photos illustrates how the use of various lighting arrangements can change the way that color appears to the viewer. While the photo of the "red" vase on the left is sharper and shows the silberiris decoration in greater detail, the ground color of this "fire-red" DEK 295 example actually looks closer to the "orange" color shown in the photo of the same vase on the right. The photo on the right is not of good quality but it is closer to the true color of Loetz "fire-red".

DEK 295

PG 2/679Finally, we present two photos depicting the same PG 2/679 vase. Which of these photos do you think most accurately reflects the decor standard described as: "lemon-yellow ground with volcano (reddish brown) threads"? The answer is neither! This example illustrates the importance of knowing decor descriptions and being able to see several examples of a particular decor to help determine which are the most reflective of the decor standard. Loetz was very consistent in the colors used in their productions so examples in the same decor should look almost identical in color.

When considering the purchase of a piece of Loetz that you cannot see in person, ask the seller if they can provide a photo of the piece taken in the daylight. If that is not possible and color is important to you, ask the seller if they will allow you to return the piece if it does not look similar to the photos when you receive it.

If you are a seller, good photos not only help you acheive higher prices for your pieces but they also help to build confidence and repeat business.  Invest in a good camera, lighting and a photo booth.  In time you will learn how to take good photos. It will be well worth the investment.

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