At 26, Katharina Neumann is a real shooting star of the manufactory. She began her training as a manufactory porcelain painter at Nymphenburg in 2008 and today she is already working as the right hand of Mr. Schnitzler, head of painting. "You never stop learning here," says Kathi, as everyone in the 15-member team calls her, "because new colours and designs are constantly being developed at Nymphenburg". Despite the diversity of her duties, the artist from Vaterstetten has a special preference: skulls. Four out of six skull editions so far have already taken shape in her adept hands.
Porcelain painters need patience, inner calm, and of course discipline in order apply the many minute details to the glazed porcelain with precise brushstrokes. Neumann uses fine squirrel hair brushes, which she prepares to give them an extra thin tip. The richly detailed bodies of the hummingbird and the plumage, which is painted in gold, platinum, and an iridescent pearly lustre colour, are particularly challenging, because the wings are shaded to indicate the enormous speed of the bird in flight.
It takes about a week to finish a skull. It's not uncommon for smaller or larger special orders to be received in between, because Katie Neumann's second passion is lettering: monograms, prize trophies, and special filigree painted decorations - whenever something is particularly tricky, she reaches for the brush. To balance out the meditative practice of porcelain painting, Neumann plays a lot of sport in her spare time. Her weekday schedule includes yoga and volleyball, while at the weekend she likes a little more adrenaline. That's when Kathi gets on her mountain bike or wakeboard. In winter she likes to go snowboarding with friends, preferably in Austria – on the Steinplatte mountain or in Fieberbrunn, where there are great spots for jumps and off-piste boarding. And what is her favourite colour? Blue! Both the signature Nymphenburg blue and the typical Bavarian light blue. "It goes on beautifully and is very smooth to paint with."