Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Johann Friedrich Böttger
Teapot with Cover, ca. 1710–13
Böttger stoneware, black glaze
Gift of Henry H. Arnhold (2014.9.14)
One of the greatest private holdings of early Meissen assembled in the twentieth century, the collection was formed in two phases, the first in Dresden between 1926 and 1935 by Henry's parents, Lisa (née Mattersdorff; 1890–1972) and Heinrich Arnhold (1885–1935) ; the second, by Henry in New York between 1972 and 2006. Heinrich Arnhold, trained as a lawyer and a member of a powerful banking family in Dresden, and his wife, who had studied medicine, were married in 1914 and became deeply involved in the cultural and intellectual life of the city. Their interest in collecting porcelain may have stemmed, in part, from the fact that Heinrich served on the boards of thirteen porcelain and ceramic firms in Saxony with which his bank was affiliated. He and Lisa began by making a few tentative purchases of porcelain, which were later sold, before deciding to focus on the acquisition of pieces from the early period at Meissen, choosing, almost exclusively, wares and vases rather than figures. The collection grew to include large vases, pieces from table services, as well as tea, coffee, and chocolate services.
In many ways, Henry Arnhold, in adding to the collection of his parents, continued to follow their taste and preferences. He took a new direction, however, in acquiring significant blue-and-white objects commissioned by Augustus II that bore the mark of his famed Japanese Palace, just as he did in acquiring fifteen cabinet and dessert figures in 2006. The result is a rich and profoundly personal collection of exquisite objects from the early, innovative period at Meissen.
Although well known to specialists, this remarkable collection had never before been the subject of a major public exhibition when it was shown at the Frick in 2008. Another group of works were presented in 2011 with the opening of the Portico Gallery.