Wendt & Kühn Figurines
Wendt & Kühn Collection from Jordanwood
Welcome to the Wendt & Kühn Collection from Jordanwood. We are pleased to offer more than 450 beautiful German wooden figurines. All of the Wendt & Kühn wooden figurines are hand carved and hand painted.
To learn more about Wendt & Kühn figurines, see the amazing skilled creative process in the brief video tour below. And then read the history that follows about the beginning of Wendt & Kühn’s story in the early 20th century to the present day.
The Wendt & Kühn Story Begins
At Wendt & Kühn in Grünhainichen, our unique figurines tell a fascinating story that first began in 1915. In that year, two graduates of the Royal Saxon School of Applied Art, Grete Wendt (1887-1979) and Margarete Kühn started a company. One that would end up being world-famous 100 years later. To the present day, the traditional Wendt & Kühn manufactory calls Grünhainichen home and continues the life’s work of Grete Wendt and her friend Olly Wendt.
Grete Wendt observed life, traveled through Europe and designed a vast array of figurines – most notably the angels with musical instruments. From the moment she was awarded the gold medal at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris for these artistic figurines, the turned, milled and polished wooden pieces first needing to be joined together in order to produce the figurative composition, the Angel Musicians began to take the world by storm. And haven’t stopped to the present day. Perhaps she even sensed it at the time: Angels work wonders where mortals sometimes falter.
After working at Grete Wendt’s side, Olly Sommer, born in Riga and a graduate of the Dresden’s Academy of Applied Art, fell in love with Grete Wendt’s brother, married him and remained in Grünhainichen for the rest of her life. The mark she left on the collection is particularly evident in the wealth of colors and the popular Marguerite Angels who reminded her of her Baltic homeland.
Margarete Kühn, one of the original founders left the company after getting married.
Olly’s son, Hans Wendt, (1930-2008) guided the company through the ever-changing social order of the 20th Century. Today, two of his children, Claudia Baer and Dr. Florian Wendt, are at the third-generation helm of this family-run company. Looking forward to the future and yet at the same time faithfully bound to the traditional basic value.
Wendt & Kühn Design
Safe and secure behind our old solid walls in Grünhainichen lies a priceless treasure left to us by Grete Wendt and her friend Olly Wendt, a veritable treasure trove of design riches, in fact – more than 2500 unmistakable original sketches, designs and samples – the actual wellspring of our current collection.
Because we remain faithful to the original samples, our figurines and music boxes retain their genuine expression of form and color. Each individual article becomes a fascinating work of art radiating grace, beauty, tradition and exclusivity. And perhaps this is why our unique collection of exclusive, timeless and prized pieces appeals to so many collectors and enthusiasts. For those who give from their heart. Those who have come to treasure our Wendt & Kühn figurines as tasteful decorative items as well as elegant complements to festive occasions. And those who feel incredibly fortunate enough to be able to spread some joy with something extraordinary, including to themselves.
Ever since 1915, Wendt & Kühn has stood for fine German craftsmanship at its most beautiful. The artistic mastery and manual finesse in producing figurines has never once wavered, generation after generation. The treasured legacy bequeathed to us has been passed down through the decades in a spirit of conscientious further development accompanying contemporary interpretation.
The Workshops of Wendt & Kühn
How exactly do these precious tiny creations from the Wendt & Kühn workshops which have kindled such incomparable fascination come to be? Their origin lies in the rich treasure trove of artistic productivity with which the family-run company has been blessed, first from Grete Wendt and and then later Olly Wendt. It remains the basis for everything we produce – faithful to the originals – to this very day.
Mindful of our obligation to stay true to our historical designs, the genesis of our cheerful little figurines first starts in the lumberyard of our Grünhainichen workshops.
Wooden planks arriving here are first left out to dry. It takes a good two years before they are cut into square, flat or rounded profiles ready for further processing. Each wooden piece is thereafter worked on the lathe with different iron tools. The adept hands of the woodturners coax out initial physical contours and rotationally symmetric components which are then cut, milled and polished into their final shapes. But there’s still many more hours of meticulous handcrafting ahead before these simple basic forms become fully-fledged final masterpieces.
Miniscule parts are often glued together. Still embryonic in nature, the Grünhainichen Angels®, for example, thereby slowly take form from body, instrument and wings. Before the figurines can be painted in such intricate detail, a coating of usually white primer is applied.
It all starts with an even light-colored base undercoat to give the paint which comes later a warm radiance.To ensure that the later paint layers will have just the right thickness, the figurines are placed onto needle-like rods after being dipped in their primer bath and twirled like whisks.This spins off any excess primer and the now uniformly even base coat is left to harden.
Along with their inspired figurative form, the childlike miniatures owe their exuberance to their masterly painting.
Experienced hands painstakingly apply fine brush strokes to each figurine, accessory item and music box. The colors and the embellishments which bring these tiny beings to life were dictated decades ago in the original designs, which still serve as a guideline for our experienced painters today.
Finishing touches: The skilled hands of the toymakers now carefully attend to the very last details on these masterpieces in miniature, including marking each bottom with the initials “W. u. K.” to authenticate their origin.