Exclusive Showing of an Important Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain, March 25, 2008, through June 29, 2008
Although the formula for manufacturing true porcelain was developed in China by the sixth century, it remained a consuming mystery in the West until its discovery in 1708 by alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682–1719) under the patronage of August II (1670–1733), elector of Saxony and king of Poland. In 1710, the king established a royal manufactory outside of Dresden in the town of Meissen, and the porcelain created there has been known by that name ever since. Early Meissen porcelain and its decoration remained experimental into the 1740s. Examples from this period are particularly rare and have always been highly sought after. This spring, The Frick Collection will present a selection of Meissen porcelain from The Arnhold Collection, one of the greatest private holdings of early Meissen assembled in the twentieth century. Although well-known to specialists, this remarkable collection has never before been the subject of a major public exhibition, and a selection of approximately 100 examples will be shown exclusively at the Frick. The exhibition is also the museum’s first on Meissen porcelain, which was not collected by founder Henry Clay Frick, who focused instead on Chinese porcelain and objects from the French Sèvres manufactory. Never before has an illustrated and scholarly book been published on this important collection, and a much-needed volume is being produced by Dan Giles, Ltd. The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710–50 was organized for The Frick Collection by Director Anne L. Poulet and Guest Curator Maureen Cassidy-Geiger. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Arnhold Foundation.