Margarete Heymann

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Grete Marks
Margaret Marks nee Heymann.jpg
Born Margarete Heymann
10 August 1899
Died 11 November 1990
Nationality German
Occupation Ceramic artist
Spouse(s) Gustav Löbenstein
Harold Marks
Teapot, 1930 ca.

Margarete Heymann (August 10, 1899 – 11 November 1990), also known as Margarete Heymann-Löbenstein, Margarete Heymann-Marks, and Grete Marks, was a German ceramic artist of Jewish origin and a Bauhaus student. Because she was Jewish she was forced to sell her successful business in Germany. She moved to Britain in 1936 and continued her work but her finest work is considered to be from Germany.


Heymann was born in 1899. She studied at the Cologne School of Arts and at Dusseldorf Academy before entering the Bauhaus School of Arts in Weimar in November 1920. In 1923, she founded the Haël Workshops for Artistic Ceramics at Marwitz with her husband Gustav Loebenstein and his brother Daniel,[1] where she manufactured her Modern ceramic designs. The company employed 120 people and exported its works to London and America.[2] In 1928 Gustav Loebenstein was killed in a car accident. After she was forced by the Nazi government to sell her factory to Hedwig Bollhagen and her business partner,[3] she emigrated to England, initially settling in Stoke-on-Trent.

She was able to move to England because of the assistance of Heals, whose London store had previously sold her work. She was able to find work in Stoke-on-Trent but the traditional potters there failed to take advantage of knowledge of modern design and manufacture. It was Mintons who decided after six months that her work was commercial. She continued to rent her own studios where she bought other peoples designs which she decorated.[2]

She later married the English educator Harold Marks, in London and in Staffordshire she painted and continued to experiment with pottery made from broken shards.

Her work was considered degenerate by the Nazis,[4] and her lack of success as a designer has been interpreted to be the result of her "gender, geography, genre and timing" conspiring against her.[5]


In 2012 the Keramik-Museum Berlin exhibited an overview of her work for the Haël Workshops for Artistic Ceramics,[6][7] which was followed by an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum.[4]

Marks story and one of her vases which is now in the British Museum was chosen by Neil MacGregor as the basis of a radio programme in Germany: Memories of a Nation - a history of Germany.[8]


  1. ^ Haël-Ceramics 1923 - 1933 - Exhibition at the Ceramics Museum Berlin,, retrieved 14 April 2014
  2. ^ a b Gret Marks,, retrieved 30 October 2014
  3. ^ Hedwig Bollhagen,, retrieved 14 April 2014
  4. ^ a b Grete Marks: When Modern was Degenerate, Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition, September 6, 2012–February 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice. "A Distant Bauhaus Star". New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ceramics Museum Berlin: Haël-Keramik 1923 – 1933". Grassi Museum Leipzig. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Haël-Ceramics 1923 - 1933 - Exhibition at the Ceramics Museum Berlin". Zeitlos Berlin. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Is this the perfect radio series? On Germany: Memories of a Nation, Antononia Quirke, New Statesman, retrieved 30 October 2014