AMOCA’s Mettlach collection and exhibitions are made possible by Robert D. and Colette D. Wilson, who accumulated a huge number of Mettlach pieces over a 30-year period. AMOCA now houses their entire 3,000 plus piece Mettlach Collection, the largest and most comprehensive collection of Mettlach wares (dating from c.1840-1915) in the world. There are always several hundred pieces exhibited at the museum; the exhibition theme and works included change periodically.
The current exhibition, Artists of Mettlach, and exhibits numerous examples of each of the known artists that designed wares for Mettlach.
By placing these vessels within the context of social history we are better able to understand their function and importance. The social history of Mettlach wares from past 500 years encompasses pleasure and pain, tradition and innovation, as well as extraordinary creativity in the decorative arts.
In 1836, a pottery founded by François Boch and located in Mettlach, Germany, merged with another founded by Nicolas Villeroy to form the famous ceramic company called Villeroy & Boch (V&B). By the late 19th century V&B had seven factories, but the one at Mettlach, most famous and celebrated for its production of Chromolith (etched, incised) wares and became known by the name of the village. Mettlach. The Mettlach factory also produced wares using adapted techniques of high and low relief, PUG (printed under glaze), Phanolith, Cameo and hand-painted wares in the form of steins, plaques, vases, jardinières, table wares, and more. These wares were exhibited in the “Crystal Palace Exposition” in London in (1851) and “World Fairs” in Paris in 1878 and 1900 and Antwerp in 1885.
Mettlach wares were exported to the U.S. by the late 19th century, including items made specifically for the American market. Displayed at the World Fair exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876) and Chicago (1893), Mettlach ware became even more widely known. Further, many steins, including those made by Mettlach, found their way to the U.S. with soldiers returning from WWI and WWII. As a result of these circumstances, a significant portion of the existing Mettlach pieces are located and collected in the US today.