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Miraculous World of Zsolnay Porcelain

October 14, Wednesday - April 18, Sunday
The Zsolnay factory was established by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880) in Pécs, Hungary, to produce stoneware and other ceramics in 1853. In 1863, his son, Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) joined the company and became its manager and director after several years. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by demonstrating its innovative products at world fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna, then at the 1878 World Fair in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix. In 1893, Zsolnay introduced porcelain pieces made of eosin. Tádé Sikorski (1852–1940) married Vilmos’ daughter Júlia and became the chief designer. In 1900 Vilmos’ son Miklós took over. Frost-resisting Zsolnay building decorations were used in numerous buildings specifically during the Art Nouveau movement. By 1914, Zsolnay was the largest company in Austro-Hungary.[1] During World War I, production of pottery and building materials were curtailed, and the factory produced for military use, for instance insulators. After World War I, the fortunes of the factory declined due to the Serbian occupation, loss of markets, and difficulty to secure raw materials. However, after the depression, conditions improved.

During World War II, its site of production in Budapest was bombed. With the rule of communism the factory was nationalized in 1948. Eventually, the Zsolnay name was dropped. The Pécsi Porcelángyár (Pécs Porcelain Factory) was used primarily to produce common tableware goods. However, in 1982 with the resumption of a market economy, the company regained its operational independence, was reorganized, and the Zsolnay name returned. In 1991, the Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture became a stock company, and five years later it was bought by a private equity enterprise.

In 2012, a Swiss-Syrian businessman called Bachar Najari bought the company from the city of Pécs.

Beside the factory, there is also the Zsolnay Museum in Pécs.