The process to create each Hummel figurine, plate, bell or other item is quite lengthy, more than you might expect. As an example, after the figurine has been poured into the mold, removed, dried, cleaned and is placed in an electric kiln to be fired, a master painter will then add the first personalized touches to the face such as the eye lashes and eye pupils. The master painter will add his initials and sometimes the date to indicate that he and his team of painters were responsible for the painting of the figurine.
This page was updated on 7 March 2023.
The following special edition of March Winds HUM 43/0 seen here shows three of the basic steps on how a figurine is decorated. This is a good example of the painting progression using the Hummel Arbeitsmuster March Wind.
To the left is an Arbeitsmuster Red Line example where the MASTER PAINTER initials Ki 10.72 which means Franz Kirchner in October 1972 along with the trademark TMK-5. Notice that the HUM 63 number has the special addition of being filled in with black paint/ink and then glazed over for permanence.
- Arbeitsmuster – working sample
- Archivmuster – archive sample that remains in the factory
- Faience – very early special glossy finish determined unsuitable
- Malmuster – painting sample, considered “perfect”
- Masterpiece – figurine from master painter/sculptor
- Musterzimmer – special show room sample
- Progression Set – set of four of the same figurine in different stages of development
- Red Line – artist finished example to copy, considered “perfect”
The following are a handful of the Master Painter’s names with an example of their initials and a date when the sample figurine face was painted. Some of the latest versions have the name as well as the metal tag. Forgive me for the names and their initials I have written incorrectly and if you know the name, please let me know for a correction.
Many thanks to the Hummel enthusiast Peter Frank for finding a number of mistakes and offered the corrections so that this list may be more accurate. He also sent a copy of an original list of some of the earlier master painters from 1935 through 1940 and their marks as indicated dated 10 October 1978. Within this list are the names of the first master painters names as well as an image of their initials used on the figurines they painted. Thank you to Peter from all of us.
More examples will be added as they are located to provide excellent detail as to what you might find and what to look for that makes your M.I. Hummel figurine all the more special.
You may wish to also check some other web sites such as eow1.com/t-glossary.aspx for some great examples.
Miller, R. L. (2003). The no. 1 price guide to M.I. Hummel: Figurines, plates, more. Cumberland, MD: Portfolio Press.
Recklinghausen, H. A. (2013). The official M.I. Hŭmmel price guide: Figures & plates. Iola, WI: Krause Publications.
Schwatlo, W. (1994). M.I. Hummel collector’s handbook: Part I. Niedernhause, Germany: Schwatlo.