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

  Coffee Pot with Cover, Meissen stoneware, c. 1710?13, engraving executed in Dresden or Bohemia, 2001.449. Photo: Maggie Nimkin
 

Coffee Pot with Cover, Meissen stoneware, c. 1710–13, engraving executed in Dresden or Bohemia, 2001.449. Photo: Maggie Nimkin

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

Although the formula for manufacturing true porcelain was developed in China by the sixth century, it remained a mystery in the West until the discovery of the Arcanum, or secret formula, in 1708 by the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682–1719) under the patronage of August II (1670–1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. In 1710 the royal manufactory was officially founded within the walls of the Albrechtsburg castle in the town of Meissen, fifteen miles upriver from the Saxon capital city of Dresden. After nearly three hundred years of continuous operation, the products of this prestigious state industry are commonly known as “Meissen porcelain” by scholars and collectors alike. Despite the successful firing of white porcelain in 1708, five years were needed to perfect the paste and glaze. Therefore, the first Meissen products debuted in 1710 at the prestigious Leipzig Fair — the annual marketplace where high-end Saxon manufactures were normally launched and modern luxury items were exhibited and sold — were in the factory’s red stoneware, called at the time “red porcelain.” The red wares took their basic forms from the king’s silver, his Asian porcelains, and the rarities of the electoral Kunstkammer yet are characterized by their novelty and subtle invention. Polishing of the surfaces imitated glazing; marbleized pastes replicated the polished jasper and hard stone vessels so highly prized by European princes; and black glazes evoked rare export lacquerwork. Applied ornament contrasted with engraved designs that sometimes featured crowned armorials, indicating that the intended recipients were royals.

Incense Burner in the Form of a Seated Buddhist Divinity, Meissen stoneware, c. 1710?13, 1929.167. Photo: Maggie Nimkin  
Incense Burner in the Form of a Seated Buddhist Divinity, Meissen stoneware, c. 1710–13, 1929.167. Photo: Maggie Nimkin

 

The red ware was retired when white Meissen porcelain took its place in 1713. Though the transition was quick, the repertoire of forms remained somewhat consistent until the arrival of a succession of court artists between 1720 and 1730 to oversee production and train apprentices. The factory’s artistic and scientific leadership was profoundly influential and was without parallel or significant competition for more than forty years. The Cabinet contains the early “red porcelain” production of the period c. 1710–13. The exhibition continues in the Lower Galleries, where Chinese and Meissen porcelain with Japanese Palace provenance are presented in a symmetrical arrangement evoking their original style of baroque display. One gallery explores the new medium and its response to European tastes and Saxon court culture. The other features chinoiserie-style Meissen, production for the French market, and the work of the independent painters, the Hausmaler.

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)