The Frick Collection
Goya's Last Works
 
Special Exhibition: The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain
 
:: The Japanese Palace of Augustus the Strong: Royal Ambition and Collecting Traditions in Dresden

:: The Arnhold Collection: From Dresden to New York

:: The Royal Porcelain Manufactory of Saxony,
c. 1710–13: “Red Porcelain” Production


:: The Royal Porcelain Manufactory of Saxony,
c. 1713–50: The New Medium, Court Culture, and European Tastes


:: The Royal Porcelain Manufactory of Saxony,
c. 1720-50: Chinoiserie Style, the Marchands- Merciers, and the Independent Decorators


The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710–50
March 25, 2008, through June 29, 2008

  The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Stand, Meissen porcelain, c. 1730, 2001.435. Photo: Maggie Nimkin
 

Stand, Meissen porcelain, c. 1730, 2001.435. Photo: Maggie Nimkin

The Royal Porcelain Manufactory of Saxony, c. 1720–50: Chinoiserie Style, the Marchands-Merciers, and the Independent Decorators

The chinoiserie style so popular in Europe in the eighteenth century was a response to the arrival of shiploads of porcelains, lacquerwork, and textiles from the Far East, as well as the visits of the exotic Siamese and Turkish embassies to Europe and the illustrated travelers’ accounts of faraway China and Japan. A number of signature Asian fantasies were invented by the Meissen painters, reflecting the creative genius of Johann Gregorius Höroldt (c. 1696–1775) and the influence of countless ephemeral sources such as Chinese woodblock prints and engraved pattern books issued in Europe. The Asian porcelains amassed by Augustus the Strong were also important design resources. Though the Arnhold Collection includes a range of chinoiserie-style figures, Meissen’s sculptural production largely emphasized European subjects.

Teapot, Meissen porcelain, c. 1729?31 1996.337. Photo: Maggie Nimkin  
Teapot, Meissen porcelain, c. 1729–31
1996.337. Photo: Maggie Nimkin

 

The growing French market for Meissen imports was dominated by the marchands-merciers. The earliest was Rudolphe Lemaire, whose contract was abruptly canceled in 1731 when his thinly veiled scheme to sell unmarked Meissen copies as Asian originals unraveled. Though a portion of the production was seized and ended up in the Japanese Palace, some pieces nonetheless reached France and quickly influenced production at the new French soft-paste manufactory opened at Chantilly. The marchands-merciers’ response to the importation of the small Meissen sculptures designed for the dessert was to transform them into high-style room decorations by mounting them in gilt-bronze, a taste that was decidedly foreign to the Saxon court but gained favor in the rest of Europe.

  <Teapot, Meissen porcelain, c. 1725?30, decoration attributed to Ignaz Preissler (1676?1741), Bohemia, c. 1725?30, 2001.468, photo: Maggie Nimkin>
 

Teapot, Meissen porcelain, c. 1725–30, decoration attributed to Ignaz Preissler (1676–1741), Bohemia, c. 1725–30, 2001.468, photo: Maggie Nimkin

The Arnhold Collection is particularly strong in the work of the independent porcelain decorators normally called Hausmaler (home painter), a twentieth-century label that belies the variety and virtuosity of this otherwise loosely associated group of artists. Before the founding of the Meissen manufactory, Asian porcelain, faience, and glass were decorated by skilled enamelers who used muffle kilns to fire their designs. These artists or workshops are recognized by their signature-style paintings and color palettes. Outdated Meissen wares sold by the factory without enameling were likewise “finished” by the independent decorators, leading in 1723 to the introduction of a series of underglaze blue marks that were meant to guarantee the authenticity of the decoration and protect the reputation of the manufactory. This culminated in the famous underglaze blue “crossed swords” mark still in use at Meissen today.

The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710–50, was organized for The Frick Collection by Director Anne L. Poulet and Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, guest curator of the exhibition. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by The Frick Collection in association with D Giles Unlimited, London, available in mid-April in the Museum Shop and online at shopfrick.org.

The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Arnhold Foundation.

 

 

The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710-50 Teapot, Meissen porcelain, c. 1725– 30, decoration attributed to Ignaz Preissler, c. 1725–30; 2001.468, photo: Maggie Nimkin Teapot and Cover, Meissen porcelain; c. 1725-30; h: 15.2 cm, without cover, to tip of handle h: 13.7 cm; The Arnhold Collection; photo: Maggie Nimkin Stand, Meissen porcelain, c. 1730, 2001.435, photo: Maggie NimkinCoffee Pot with Cover, Meissen stoneware, c. 1710–13, engraving executed in Dresden or Bohemia, 2001.449 (photo: Maggie Nimkin)