Past Exhibition

Complete Checklist

 
  • green and gilt porcelain vase in the shape of a masted ship, with intricate decorations

    Pot-pourri à Vaisseau
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, ca. 1759
    Soft-paste porcelain
    17 1/2 x 14 7/8 x 7 1/2 in. (44.5 x 37.8 x 19.1 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1916

    The highly original design for this pot-pourri à vaisseau (potpourri in the form of a ship) was created in 1757, most likely by the Sèvres manufactory’s artistic director, Jean-Claude Duplessis. The piece can be dated to about 1759, the year that Sèvres began producing potpourri ships of this size (initially, they were smaller). The painters and gilders responsible for its decoration juxtaposed grounds of apple green and dark blue, the latter enriched with gold in a caillouté (pebble-like) pattern. The colorful imagery and exotic birds on the front and back reserves are by Louis-Denis Armand l’aîné (act. 1745−88), a prominent artist who specialized in painting birds and landscapes. Armand also painted the birds on the two vases à oreilles shown here. Gold, the use of which was exclusive to the Sèvres manufactory, is generously applied along the contours of the piece to emphasize its bold shape.

  • set of two vases with green designs and birds in a landscape, curved handles on gold bases

    Pair of Vases à Oreilles
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, ca. 1759
    Soft-paste porcelain
    Each, h. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm), diam. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1916

    Probably designed by the silversmith Jean-Claude Duplessis, vases of this type are called à oreilles (with ears) because the foliar scrolls at the neck loop back to the shoulder to form ear-like handles. One of the most successful vase forms produced by Sèvres’s celebrated porcelain manufactory, vases à oreilles were made in five sizes, ranging from about four and a half to fifteen inches. Decorated with birds by Louis-Denis Armand l’aîné, these two were made en suite with the related pot-pourri à vaisseau. A set of pieces, or garniture, was intended to be displayed on a chest of drawers, pier table, or mantelpiece, often in front of a mirror.

     

  • set of three potpourris vases with one larger version, each decorated with figures in a landscape, surrounded by purple and gold

    Three Pots-pourris Feuilles de Mirte or à Feuillages
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, ca. 1762
    Soft-paste porcelain
    Larger vase: 14 3/16 x 8 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. (36 x 21.6 x 18.1 cm)
    Smaller vases: 11 x 6 3/4 x 5 1/4 in. (27.9 x 17.1 x 13.3 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1918

    Jean-Claude Duplessis adapted the shape of these vases from silverworks made some ten years earlier. Produced at the factory from 1761 to 1768, they were called either pots-pourris feuilles de mirte or à feuillages, a reference to the entwined myrtle leaves on the sides and neck of the vases, as well as to their eventual content (myrtle leaves were the essential ingredient in potpourri mixtures of dried flowers, herbs, and spices). All three vases are decorated on the front with a Flemish peasant scene in rich polychrome and on the back with a landscape bathed in soft light. These decorative scenes derive in part from engravings made after paintings by David Teniers the Younger and François Boucher. The seated peasants on the front of the larger vase are borrowed from 4ème Fête Flamande, an engraving by Jacques-Philippe Lebas after a painting by Teniers. The painter of these scenes is unknown.

     

  • white covered porcelain vase with rust colored diamond pattern and a gold chain

    Vase Japon
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1774
    Hard-paste porcelain with silver-gilt mount
    H. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm), diam. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
    Purchase in Honor of Anne L. Poulet, 2011
    On view late May

    Despite its name, the vase japon is an interpretation of a Chinese bronze Yu (or Hu) vase from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.). Its design and decoration derive from a woodblock print published in a forty-volume catalogue of the vast Chinese imperial collections compiled between 1749 and 1751 at the behest of the Qianlong emperor. Around 1767, a copy of this catalogue was sent to Henri Bertin, who at the time was France’s secretary of state and commissaire du roi at the Sèvres factory. The vase japon was made in 1774 along with two other vases of the same size, shape, and decoration. Each bears the mark of the gilder-painter Jean-Armand Fallot (act. 1764−90). However, of the three, only this example is adorned with a silver-gilt handle and chain, which, like its shape and surface pattern, are directly inspired by the Chinese model. The mounts bear the mark of Charles Ouizille, who, in 1784, became the official jeweler of Louis XVI.

     

  • white porcelain covered water jug with basin, decorated with a blue and gold and seascape scenes

    Water Jug and Basin
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1781
    Soft-paste porcelain with gilt metal
    Jug: 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. (21 x 14.3 x 13 cm)
    Basin: 11 7/16 × 9 7/8 × 3 1/8 in. (29.1 × 25.1 × 7.9 cm)
    Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934

    Jean-Louis Morin (act. 1754−87), who painted the marine scenes on this water jug and basin, was the son of an army surgeon and studied surgery himself before becoming a porcelain painter. He began his career at Vincennes, where he painted cupids and infants after François Boucher but, perhaps inspired by his family’s army connections, came to specialize in battle scenes and coastal views, then very fashionable.

     

  • white porcelain water jug with handle and matching basin, each with blue and gold decorations and sprays of flowers

    Water Jug and Basin
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1776
    Soft-paste porcelain with gilt metal
    Jug: 7 9/16 x 5 1/4 x 4 7/8 in. (19.2 x 13.3 x 12.4 cm)
    Basin: 2 13/16 x 10 5/8 x 8 3/8 in. (7.1 x 27 x 21.3 cm)
    Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934

    Dressing and grooming (often done in the presence of friends and visitors) were important in the life of an eighteenth-century aristocrat, and the manufactory at Sèvres produced many accessories, often in sets, for these activities, including small boxes, jars, and brushes in different shapes and sizes. Large jugs and basins used to wash one’s hands with scent infused water were usually displayed on the dressing table during the morning ritual or in the garde-robe as precursors of the plumbed-in hand basin. At the time, clean water was a rare commodity, even for the wealthiest, and many doctors advised against bathing or even washing one’s face, fearing dangerous illness. However, the water jugs and basins made at Sèvres were always beautifully decorated, these with fruits and flowers in white reserves against a turquoise blue ground. The flowers and fruits — pink roses, mauve convolvuli, blue ranunculi, yellow anemones, pink peach, and purple plums, among others — were painted by Cyprien-Julien Hirel de Choisy (act. 1770−1800) in the style of a Flemish still-life painting.

     

  • round bronze tripod table with two white porcelain panels decorated with large sprays of flowers

    Tripod Table
    French, Paris, ca. 1783
    Gilt bronze, oak, and Sèvres soft-paste porcelain
    H. 29 1/2 in. (74.9 cm), diam. 14 5/8 in. (37.1 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1918

    Furniture incorporating Sèvres porcelain plaques was particularly fashionable in Paris in the second half of the eighteenth century. This table was probably designed and sold by the period’s leading marchand-mercier (dealer of luxury goods), the partners Simon-Philippe Poirier and Dominique Daguerre, who received exclusive rights from the Sèvres porcelain manufactory to commission porcelain plaques for furniture. Painted with colorful cut flowers, the table’s two circular plaques are among the finest produced at Sèvres in the early 1780s. They were probably painted by Edmé-François Bouilliat (act. 1758−1810), who specialized in painting flowers and became one of the most prolific decorators of plaques for furniture. The lower plaque bears the mark of the gilder Michel Barnabé Chauvaux (known as Chauvaux aîné, act. 1752−88), who painted the tooled gold borders.

     

  • photo of tea set,  milk jug, tea pot, sugar bowl decorated with polychrome birds on white background and blue and gold pattern

    Tea Service (Déjeuner)
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1767
    Soft-paste porcelain
    Teapot: 5 1/2 x 7 3/16 x 4 1/8 in. (14 x 18.3 x 10.5 cm)
    Sugar bowl: h. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm), diam. 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm)
    Cups: 2 3/8 x 3 11/16 x 2 7/8 in. (6 x 9.4 x 7.3 cm)
    Saucers: h. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm), diam. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm)
    Milk jug: 4 5/8 x 5 x 3 1/2 in. (11.7 x 12.7 x 8.9 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1918

    This tea service consists of a teapot, a sugar bowl (both named after Pierre Calabre, one of the factory’s stockholders), a milk jug, four cups, and four saucers. All the pieces are similarly decorated with polychrome birds in white reserved panels surrounded by a bleu céleste ground spangled throughout with gold dots. The birds were painted by Antoine-Joseph Chappuis (act. 1756−87), who specialized in painting birds and flowers on functional pieces like tea, dessert, and dinner services. In 1767, the year he decorated this tea service, Chappuis was also involved in painting birds on the 108-piece dessert service made for the Russian nobleman Count Kyril Razumovski (now at Waddesdon Manor, in Buckinghamshire, England). Some of the creatures on both services were copied directly from The Natural History of Birds and Gleanings of the Natural History by the English naturalist and diplomat George Edwards. Introduced to Sèvres in 1765 by the Duke of Richmond, who gave the manufactory his personal copies, these volumes allowed for a more accurate depiction of birds. Edwards’s red-beaked toucan is recognizable on one cup while a pink pompadour cotinga and a wall-creeper of Surinam adorn the teapot. Tea services were purchased separately or as part of a larger dessert service. MORE »

  • white porcelain round plate with floral decorations, bands of blue trimmed with gold

    Two Plates, Two Round and Two Square Fruit Dishes (Part of a Dessert Service)
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1782 and later decoration
    Soft-paste porcelain
    Two plates: diam. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)
    Two round fruit dishes: diam. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)
    Square dish at left: 1 5/8 × 8 3/8 × 8 1/4 in. (4.1 × 21.3 × 21 cm)
    Square dish at right: 1 5/8 × 8 1/8 × 8 1/8 in. (4.1 × 20.6 × 20.6 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1918

     

    These plates and dishes belonged to a much larger dessert service that has been dispersed (including two additional plates in The Frick Collection, not exhibited). Neither its original size (possibly as many as a hundred pieces) nor its original owner is known today. The plates and dishes were made and decorated in 1782. The turquoise blue ribbon and the white band with gold rosettes were added later, probably in the nineteenth century. The polychrome flowers vary from piece to piece, but all include roses, anemones, poppies, ranunculi, bellflowers, asters, delphiniums, convolvuli, carnations, and tulips in various combinations and colors. Several painters specializing in flowers were involved in the decoration of the service, including Edmé-François Bouilliat (act. 1758−1810), Marie-Claude-Sophie Xhrouet (act. 1772−88), and Jean-Baptiste Tandart (act. 1754−1800), each of whom signed one or two of the pieces shown here. Fruit dishes (compotiers) were used as part of a dessert service, especially intended for dried, fresh, or caramelized fruits. Dessert services often included a tea service similar to the one presented in this exhibition. MORE »

  • pair of blue and white gilt vases with handles, decorated with cherubs eating grapes

    Pair of Vases Duplessis à Enfants
    Vincennes Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1753
    Soft-paste porcelain 
    At left: 8 3/8 x 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (21.3 x 14.6 x 14.6 cm)
    At right: 8 3/8 x 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (21.3 x 14.9 x 14.9 cm)
    Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1918

    The earliest pieces of French porcelain in the museum’s collection, this pair of vases was made in 1753, when the porcelain manufactory was located in the royal château of Vincennes, east of Paris. Named after Jean-Claude Duplessis, who invented their unusual shape around 1750, such vases were sometimes produced with chubby little children in relief, as seen here. Symbolic of the four seasons, these figures are almost certainly modeled after drawings by François Boucher. On one side, Summer grasps a sheaf of wheat as Autumn raises to his lips a vine laden with grapes. On the other side, Spring holds a garland of flowers while Winter rests on his companion’s thigh, warming his hands over glowing twigs. These figures were painted by Antoine Caton (act. 1749–98), who only a few years earlier began his long career at the porcelain manufactory. Caton became a prolific genre painter of a wide range of subjects, including military, historical, mythological, and pastoral scenes.

     

  • pair of small white vases decorated with floral designs and trimmed with blue and gold, with gold handles

    Pair of Vases Duplessis
    Vincennes Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1755
    Soft-paste porcelain
    At left: 7 5/8 × 4 × 3 1/2 in. (19.4 × 10.2 × 8.9 cm)
    At right: 7 3/8 × 4 1/4 × 3 5/8 in. (18.7 × 10.8 × 9.2 cm)
    Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934

    Jean-Claude Duplessis is credited with designing the shape of these vases, one of the oldest produced by the porcelain manufactory in Vincennes. A successful model, it was made in at least five different sizes, always with a white ground and colorful flowers in relief; most are decorated with sprays of flowers and flowering branches. The floral garlands on this pair were painted by Denis Levé (act. 1754–1800), a specialist in flowers and ornaments who contributed to the decoration of several dinner services, including one presented by Louis XV to Christian VII of Denmark in 1768.

     

  • teal and white covered sugar bowl with chain pattern and floral decorations, gold trim

    Sugar Bowl (Sucrier Calabre)
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1756
    Soft-paste porcelain
    H. 3 15/16 in. (10 cm), diam. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm)
    Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick, 1934

    This sugar bowl is named after Pierre Calabre, one of the earliest stockholders in the porcelain manufactory. It was made in 1756, the year the manufactory moved from Vincennes to Sèvres, after a design invented in the early 1750s. The decoration is by Vincent Taillandier (act. 1753–90), who specialized in the painting of flowers on a small scale, among them, the roses, convolvuli, narcissi, cornflowers, and tulips seen here. This expensive type of decoration was favored by Madame de Pompadour, Madame Victoire, fourth daughter of Louis XV, and other important French aristocrats. Such sugar bowls were sold individually or as part of a tea set.

     

  • white covered porcelain sugar bowl with multi-colored floral decorations and gold trim

    Sugar Bowl
    Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
    French, 1764
    Soft-paste porcelain
    H. 4 7/16 in. (11.3 cm), diam. 3 13/16 in. (9.7 cm)
    Gift of Miss Marcelle Brunet, 1980

    Slightly bigger than the sucrier Calabre with green ribbons also shown here, this sugar bowl is decorated on a white ground with a variety of early summer flowers, including roses and convolvuli, painted by an unidentified artist.