Collecting Vintage Kitsch: The Epitome of Bad Taste and We’re Loving It

For almost a century Kitsch has been in vogue. The term ‘kitsch’ is even more vague than the term ‘Art Deco,’ according to Judy Spours in ‘Art Deco Table Ware.’ Kitsch is like Art Deco in that it is also defined as having no independent style.

“What is so intoxicating about bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of being displeased.” Jack Sternberg said about Kitsch.

Kitsch has also been described by Gillo Dorfles in his ‘Anthology of bad taste,’ as being the use of inappropriate materials to disguise an objects function.

“Trying to create an exclusive effect using mass production methods – produces this discord that is recognized as Kitsch,” Alain Lesieutre said, in yet another explanation of Kitsch.

Kitsch was extremely popular during the 1920s and 1930s; Bad taste was relished and reverse snobbery became fashionable.

One of the most popular makers of Kitsch items was the Carlton Works (Wiltshaw and Robinson) in England. In the 1930s they launched what was to become the most popular line, salad ware; brilliant lettuce color greens and reds for tomatoes. These bright colors were an earlier Minton influence from the Victorian era and the majority of them were Majolica.

There were many more manufacturers producing Kitsch items, among them were: Crown Devon, Beswick, Soho Potteries and Grimmwades.

Fox Riverwalk Antique Mall is bursting with many outrageously Kitsch items. A walk through the Mall is a journey through Kitsch Valley, to be savored and relished. Earlier Kitsch items are easily recognizable. If you like all things repugnant to what was accepted Victorian good taste – Kitsch is for you!

Kitsch does not come cheap, particularly the popular salad ware, which is highly sought after. A Carlton Ware lobster- footed salad bowl, in bright green and orange, will cost around 200 – 300 dollars.

Kitsch is in, Kitsch is always in after a time of war or depression, as history has repeatedly revealed. The browns, grays, bland and dull shades are cast aside in a quest for change and renewal – happy, bright and cheerful colors of orange, yellow and lime green are back.

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