GATEWAY Theatre, Kenosha, Wisconsin: 'Don Quixote' benches in the grand lobby.
Manuel Ramos Rejano was born in Palma del Río (Córdoba) Spain on October 19, 1851. Having perfected a ceramic enameling process, he founded his ceramics factory in the district of Triana in Seville. At thirteen, he arrived in Seville intending to join the Spanish army, but took employment instead in a hardware store until he was 25. His brother motivated him to open the Bazar Sevillano shop in Seville, initially a toy and fine-jewelry store which eventually added pottery. Through this he met potters Francisco Diaz Alvarez, Fernando Soto Jimenez, and Mensaque (of Mensaque Rodriquez and Co.). During this time he perfected techniques for clearcoating without impurities. As production increased, he moved the factory in 1905 to San Jacinto. Its output in the early Twentieth Century along with that of competitors Manuel Garcia and Carlos Montalvan Pickman started a new boom in Seville ceramics, receiving awards at the 1930 International Fair of Liège and the Grand Prize of the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition of Seville (1929). Besides the benches depicting the Don Quixote legend in the Grand Lobby of the 1927 Gateway Theatre in Kenosha, his work was seen in the 1929 Latin American Exhibition of Seville in ceramic decorations on the exhibition buildings, the fronts for Metro Buenos Aires, Madrid’s Palacio de Comunicaciones interiors, and Hospital Day Laborer Maudes on commission from architect Antonio Palacios. Manuel Ramos Rejano died in Seville on October 26, 1922. The factory continued on with a change in the name to Vda. Rejano Ramos and Sons and later as Rejano Ramos Sons until its final closure in 1965.
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