Berta Hummel


Berta Hummel

Berta Hummel was born in Bavaria in 1909 and from an early age her talents at drawing became apparent. This creativity was luckily recognised by one of her teachers and she was enrolled at a religious boarding school where her skills developed.

By the time she was 18, Berta had joined at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where her artistic training varied from the painting of oils to the designing of clothes. While at the Academy, she stayed in a dormitory run by a religious order and here she struck up a close friendship with two Franciscan nuns.

By the time Graduation came in 1931, Berta had made her mind up and she entered the convent of Siessen at Saulgau and two years later was ordained Sister Maria Innocentia of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Berta Hummel

Berta didn't abandon her art and by late 1933 her drawings had developed to the extent that the Convent sent a letter with proof sheets of sketches she had done to a publishing company in Munich called 'Ars Sacra Josef Mueller Verlag'. Ars Sacra liked the pictures and so the work of Sister Maria Innocentia first became known to the public in the form of postcards and the like - some of which made their way into the United States before World War II.

Her postcards became popular and it wasn't long before Franz Goebel of ceramic company W. Goebel became interested in her work. In 1934 he asked if he could translate her sketches of children and serene religious figures into ceramics, she agreed and so the relationship between Sister Maria, Goebel and the Convent of Siessen began.  

Berta Hummel
 World War II"s arrival saw the convent turned into a repatriation centre for German nationals from other countries. Sister Maria stayed and looked after them, but conditions were very harsh and she became ill from a lung infection.

By 1944 she was so ill that she was admitted to a sanatorium for treatment where she was diagnosed as having chronic 4* tuberculosis. In 1946 she returned to the convent where she died aged just 37. is the Goebel backstamp. The most sought after pieces will carry the crown marks.

These were the backstamps used between 1935 and 1949 and could have been either incised or stamped onto the piece. Many of the Hummel figurines have been in production since the very beginning and have been released in various sizes and forms and undergone modelling changes.

 For example Merry Wanderer which is probably their most famous piece, was first sculpted in 1935 and has been produced in sizes as small as 6 to 6 1/4 inches and as high as eight foot, although the latter was a one off statue for the Goebel offices.

Berta Hummel
A small 6 inch model carrying the crown mark would probably set you back around $300, but one from a later period, carrying say the plain Goebel name backstamp from 1979 onwards, would only be around $100 or less. However, a 9 1/2 to 10 1/4 inch piece or 11" to 12" one with the crown mark would be more in the region of $650 $1000 Like any collecting subject it is therefore essential that you do your research before embarking onto the Hummel secondary market.


The market for Hummel is vast. They are very popular in the United States and indeed the world over,

"They' were not everywhere like bunnykins. Also from the secondary market point of view, people tend to hold on to their pieces, they are not in it to buy and make a quick profit,
Hummel collectors like to keep their collections.
  Collectibles Coach

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