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Found 355 Resources

Box Chronometer, Marine, Hamilton #1

National Air and Space Museum

Toaster, T-9, Sunbeam

National Air and Space Museum
Manufactured by Sumbeam Corp

Designed by George Scharfenberg, the T-9, with streamlined styling and etched decoration, was one of Sunbeam’s most popular toasters

Flat Iron, Petipoint

National Air and Space Museum
Manufactured by Waverly Tool Co

The Petipoint iron is a fine example of industrial design based on aircraft streamlining. Clifford Brooks Stevens and Edward P. Schreyer incorporated sleek cooling wings into their design.

Aerodynamic streamlining made aircraft fly more efficiently and transformed aircraft design in the late 1920s and the 1930s. Streamlining is evident in the drag-reducing engine cowling and wheel pants of Earhart’s Lockheed Vega, and it culminated in the sleekly modern Douglas DC-3.

The dynamic look of streamlined aircraft captured the imagination of industrial designers, who translated that look into a new design expression. They borrowed motifs from the airplane’s curvilinear appearance and incorporated them into railroad locomotives, automobiles, architecture, appliances, and household objects.

The Petipoint iron is a fine example of industrial design based on aircraft streamlining. Clifford Brooks Stevens and Edward P. Schreyer incorporated sleek cooling wings into their design.

Streamlined design was characterized by horizontality, speed lines to denote motion, and a lack of ornamentation. In industrial design and architecture, it often used such materials as Vitriolite, Bakelite, glass block, chrome, and stainless steel. Streamlined moderne, as the style became known, was a cultural symbol of the Depression era.

Conservation of a Monument to Daguerre

National Portrait Gallery
The Jonathan Scott Hartley monument to Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre at the National Portrait Gallery was recently restored, in May 2014. The monument can be seen at the corner of 7th and F streets, in Washington DC's Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood. See the restoration process in this video. The monument is on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The restoration project received federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee For more on the monument, visit our blog: http://face2face.si.edu/my_weblog/2011/06/who-is-that-frenchman-on-seventh-street-part-one-.html Monument to Jacques-Louis-Mandé Daguerre / By Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845-1912) / Bronze and granite, cast 1890 Lent by Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center Music "Button Mushrooms," "By Grace" and "Squiggly Line" by Podington Bear From Free Music Archive (/http://freemusicarchive.org) Used via Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. https://soundcloud.com/podingtonbear

Meissen figure of Dottore

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of Dottore from the Italian Comedy

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 5½" 14 cm.

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1744

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 75.192

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 88

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARK: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Dottore is a stock character in the Commedia dell’Arte, or Italian Comedy. His costume is that of a man with an academic degree, and he posed as a doctor of medicine or a lawyer, an alchemist or a philosopher. His character is that of a pompous individual of high social rank who loves wine and food, who enjoys the sound of his own voice but makes little sense in his speech, wandering from one topic to another. He is modeled here in the pose of an orator holding forth to his audience. His servant Harlequin, another stock character of the Italian Comedy, makes fun of his master’s foibles.

Johann Adolf II Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels likely commissioned a set of Italian Comedy figures for table decoration in 1743. The Meissen sculptors Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775), Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1695-1749), and Peter Reinicke (1711-1768) collaborated on the project, and Peter Reinecke modeled the Dottore figure. The Meissen sculptors based most of their Italian Comedy figures on engravings by François Joullain (1697-1778) in Louis Riccoboni’s (1676-1753) Histoire du Théâtre Italien (History of the Italian Theater) published in Paris in 1728. Born in Modena, Riccoboni moved to Paris and began to write his own plays in French based on the Commedia dell’Arte plots and stock characters of his native Italy. The plays were highly successful with Parisian audiences, and because often performed in public places the Italian Comedy reached a wide cross-section of society and influenced French painters, especially Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), who in turn influenced other French artists of the eighteenth century: Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Pater (1695-1736), Nicholas Lancret (1690-1743), François Boucher (1703-1770, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806).

Origins of the Commedia dell’Arte are in dispute, but the form of the Italian comedy that emerged in the sixteenth century was fundamentally one that grew from the carnival, from popular story telling, rustic romps, and improvised street theater. The characters did not change much, only the plots varied, but the Italian Comedy’s wider influence through history can be seen in Punch and Judy marionettes, the work of mime artists, in the movies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, in twentieth century modernist art and theater, and in contemporary situation comedies on TV.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then carefully cut into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the Commedia dell’Arte figures see Chilton, M., 2001, Harlequin Unmasked” the Commedia dell’ Arte and Porcelain Sculpture; Lawner, L., 1998, Harlequin on the Moon: Commedia dell’Arte and the Visual Arts.

See the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/comm/hd_comm.htm

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, Jefferson J. Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection pp. 446-447.

Meissen figure of Harlequin

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of Harlequin

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 5½" 14 cm.

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1745

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1987.0896.30

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 245

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: E. Pinkus, New York, 1943.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Peter Reinicke (1715-1768) modeled this figure of Harlequin from the Italian Comedy series in about 1745. Meissen produced many versions of Harlequin as a solitary figure or in figure groups. This figure is based on the engraving by François Joullain (1697-1778) in which Harlequin is depicted masked with his thumbs in his belt and with a slapstick supported in his left hand. There are several variations of this figure, but it is an attitude that many people would recognize instantly as Harlequin.

Johann Adolf II Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels commissioned a set of Italian Comedy figures for table decoration in 1743. The Meissen sculptors Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775), Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1695-1749), and Peter Reinicke (1711-1768) collaborated on the project. The Meissen sculptors based their Italian Comedy figures for the Duke of Weissenfels on engravings by François Joullain (1697-1778) and Jacques Callot (1592-1635) in Louis Riccoboni’s (1676-1753) Histoire du Théâtre Italien (History of the Italian Theater) published in Paris in 1728. Born in Modena as Luigi Riccoboni, he followed his father onto the stage, but was not satisfied with the improvised and chaotic nature of the Italian comedy. He moved to Paris and started his own company which faltered at first until Riccoboni began to write his own more refined plays in French based on the Commedia dell’Arte comedic plots and stock characters. The plays were highly successful with Parisian audiences, and because often performed in public places the Italian Comedy reached a wide cross-section of society. The subject of the Italian comedy characters influenced painters, especially Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), who in turn influenced other French artists of the eighteenth century; his student Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Pater (1695-1736), Nicholas Lancret (1690-1743), François Boucher (1703-1770, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806).

Ten of the engravings used by the Meissen sculptors were by the Parisian engraver, print-seller, dealer and auctioneer, François Joullain (1697-1778) published in Riccoboni’s Histoire du Théâtre Italien.

Origins of the Commedia dell’Arte are in dispute, but the form of the Italian comedy that emerged in the sixteenth century was fundamentally one that grew from the carnival, from popular story telling, rustic romps, and improvised street theater. The characters did not change much, only the plots varied, but the Italian Comedy’s wider influence may be seen in Punch and Judy marionettes, the work of mime artists, in the movies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, in twentieth century modernist art and theater, and in contemporary situation comedies on TV.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

On the Italian Comedy see Meredith Chilton, 2001, Harlequin Unmasked: The Commedia dell’Arte and Porcelain Sculpture, pp.111; Lawner, L., 1998, Harlequin on the Moon: Commedia dell’Arte and the Visual Arts, and on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History see http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/comm/hd_comm.htm

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 450-451.

Meissen figure of Scaramouche

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of Scaramouche

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 5¼" 13.3 cm.

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1745

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 64.440

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 220

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: None

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Peter Reinicke (1715-1768) modeled this figure in about 1743 to 1745. There are two versions of Scaramouche and it is not clear in which order they were modeled. This figure belongs to the Duke of Weissenfel’s series.

Scaramouche, one of the stock characters of the Italian Comedy troupe, was a rascally and unreliable servant who got himself into trouble through his own acts of mischief. He got himself out of trouble by ensnaring an unwitting and innocent individual who then fell victim to the fury of the characters that Scaramouche himself had injured. Scaramouche is seen here in a characteristic dancing pose, and dance was an important part of the Italian Comedy performances.

Johann Adolf II Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels commissioned a set of Italian Comedy figures for table decoration in 1743. The Meissen sculptors Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775), Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1695-1749), and Peter Reinicke (1711-1768) collaborated on the project. The Meissen sculptors based their Italian Comedy figures for the Duke on engravings in Louis Riccoboni’s (1676-1753) Histoire du Théâtre Italien (History of the Italian Theater) published in Paris in 1728. Born in Modena as Luigi Riccoboni, he followed his father onto the stage, but was not satisfied with the improvised and chaotic nature of the Italian comedy. He moved to Paris and started his own company which faltered at first until Riccoboni began to write his own more refined plays in French based on the Commedia dell’Arte comedic plots and stock characters.

Riccoboni’s plays were highly successful with Parisian audiences, and because often performed in public places the Italian Comedy reached a wide cross-section of society. The subject of the Italian comedy characters influenced painters, especially Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), who in turn influenced other French artists of the eighteenth century; his student Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Pater (1695-1736), Nicholas Lancret (1690-1743), François Boucher (1703-1770, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). Ten of the engravings used by the Meissen sculptors were by the Parisian engraver, print-seller, dealer and auctioneer, François Joullain (1697-1778) and published in Riccoboni’s Histoire du Théâtre Italien. Origins of the Commedia dell’Arte are in dispute, but the form of the Italian comedy that emerged in the sixteenth century was fundamentally one that grew from the carnival, from popular story telling, rustic romps, and improvised street theater. The characters did not change much, only the plots varied, but the Italian Comedy’s influence may be seen still in Punch and Judy marionettes, the work of mime artists, in the movies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, in twentieth century modernist art and theater, and in situation comedies on TV.

The Meissen Italian Comedy figures were used for decorating the dessert table for official and festive banquets. They formed part of the design in conjunction with decorations sculpted in sugar and other materials to create an elaborate display for the final course of the meal. The practice of sculpting in sugar, marzipan, butter, and ice for the festive table goes back for many centuries, and porcelain figures were a late addition to the tradition.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors and gold.

On the Saxon court confectionary see Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, 'The Hof Conditorey in Dresden: Traditions and innovations in Sugar and Porcelain", in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.121-131.

See also Ivan Day, 'Sculpture for the Eighteenth-Century Garden Dessert', in Harlan Walker (ed.) Food in the Arts: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking, 1999.

On the Italian Comedy see Meredith Chilton, 2001, Harlequin Unmasked: The Commedia dell’Arte and Porcelain Sculpture; Lawner, L., 1998, Harlequin on the Moon: Commedia dell’Arte and the Visual Arts, and also On the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History see http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/comm/hd_comm.htm

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 448-449.

Meissen figure of a deer: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: A pair of does

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4½" 11.5 cm

OBJECT NAME: Animal figures

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1758

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 76.375 A,B

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 359,360

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARK: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

These animal figures are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in , Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials

Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) modeled the two does in about 1758 from an original group that comprised a doe and two dogs. The figures may be based on one of series of prints by Johann Elias Ridinger (1698-1767) titled Deer in the Wild. Ridinger was a painter, draughtsman, etcher and engraver, and a publisher of prints specializing in animal subjects. On the other hand, the figures may have originated from Kaendler’s own observations of live animals. In his work books held in the Meissen Manufactory archives, Kaendler frequently refers to models that he changed or amended over the years; from a clay model taken from the existing molds it was possible to refashion a figure or figure group.

Deer were high status game in the extravagant hunts conducted by the royal and princely courts in eighteenth-century Europe. A hunt was obligatory during the many court festivities held to mark betrothals, marriages, peace treaties, and feast days, but hunting inflicted a heavy toll on the environment. Game like red deer and wild boar were kept in hunting preserves that enclosed large tracts of woodland, and their presence in large numbers degraded the new growth of the forest. It was common practice to shoot game driven in herds across the line of fire, and in order to maintain sufficient numbers animals were caught in the wild and transported to the hunting preserves. Eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers criticized the royal and princely hunting administrations for the damage caused to the environment, especially the shortage of wood caused by degradation of the forests.

These small figures of animals were used for decorating the dessert table for festive banquets associated with the hunt, and these figures were probably part of a herd of deer. They formed part of the design in conjunction with decorations sculpted in sugar and other materials to create an elaborate display for the final course of the meal. The practice of sculpting in sugar, marzipan, butter, and ice for the festive table goes back for many centuries, and porcelain figures were a late addition to the tradition.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then carefully cut into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The animals are painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

On the hunt see Kroll, M., 2004, ‘Hunting in the Eighteenth Century: An Environmental Perspective’ in Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.9-36.

On the dessert table see Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, 'The Hof Conditorey in Dresden: Traditions and Innovations in Sugar and Porcelain', in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp. 121-131.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 482-483.

Meissen figure of a deer: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: A pair of does

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4½" 11.5 cm

OBJECT NAME: Animal figures

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1758

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 76.375 A,B

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 359,360

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARK: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

These animal figures are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in , Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials

Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) modeled the two does in about 1758 from an original group that comprised a doe and two dogs. The figures may be based on one of series of prints by Johann Elias Ridinger (1698-1767) titled Deer in the Wild. Ridinger was a painter, draughtsman, etcher and engraver, and a publisher of prints specializing in animal subjects. On the other hand, the figures may have originated from Kaendler’s own observations of live animals. In his work books held in the Meissen Manufactory archives, Kaendler frequently refers to models that he changed or amended over the years; from a clay model taken from the existing molds it was possible to refashion a figure or figure group.

Deer were high status game in the extravagant hunts conducted by the royal and princely courts in eighteenth-century Europe. A hunt was obligatory during the many court festivities held to mark betrothals, marriages, peace treaties, and feast days, but hunting inflicted a heavy toll on the environment. Game like red deer and wild boar were kept in hunting preserves that enclosed large tracts of woodland, and their presence in large numbers degraded the new growth of the forest. It was common practice to shoot game driven in herds across the line of fire, and in order to maintain sufficient numbers animals were caught in the wild and transported to the hunting preserves. Eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers criticized the royal and princely hunting administrations for the damage caused to the environment, especially the shortage of wood caused by degradation of the forests.

These small figures of animals were used for decorating the dessert table for festive banquets associated with the hunt. They formed part of the design in conjunction with decorations sculpted in sugar and other materials to create an elaborate display for the final course of the meal. The practice of sculpting in sugar, marzipan, butter, and ice for the festive table goes back for many centuries, and porcelain figures were a late addition to the tradition.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then carefully cut into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The animals are painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

On the hunt see Kroll, M., 2004, ‘Hunting in the Eighteenth Century: An Environmental Perspective’ in Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.9-36.

On the dessert table see Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, 'The Hof Conditorey in Dresden: Traditions and Innovations in Sugar and Porcelain', in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp. 121-131.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 482-483.

Meissen figure group of the judgment of Solomon

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure group of the judgment of Solomon

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 6¾" 12.2cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure group

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750-1760

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.61

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 158

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARK: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1942.

This figure group is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Modeled by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) the figure group represents the Old Testament story in Kings 3:16-18 when King Solomon resolved a dispute between two women who lived in the same dwelling. Both women had recently given birth to sons, but one child died. The mother who lost her child switched her dead baby for the living one, and a dispute arose between the two women when the mother of the child who remained alive suspected wrongdoing. They took their dispute to King Solomon who called for a sword and declared that he would divide the living child in two and settle the matter. The true mother of the living child cried out in anguish that she would rather the other woman took the child than let it be killed. Solomon’s judgment was to return the living child to the woman he judged to be its natural mother, believing that through her desperation to keep the child alive no matter what the personal cost, she revealed the truth.

An Old Testament subject is marginal to the repertoire of devotional Meissen figures and figure groups from the New Testament commissioned by the Elector Friedrich Augustus III (1696-1763) and his wife Maria Josepha (1699-1757). When his father, Elector of Saxony Augustus II (1670-1733), became King of Poland in 1697 he assumed the title only by renouncing his Lutheran faith and becoming a Roman Catholic. The people of Saxony feared that their strong Lutheran state would be compromised by this development, but it was his son Augustus III and his consort Maria Josepha who had closer ties to Rome, and even then Lutherans remained free to practice their religion in Saxony. The Meissen devotional subjects and items of chapel furniture were modeled mostly for the small Catholic elite in Dresden, but also for Pope Clement XII and Cardinal Alessandro Albani in Rome, and for the Habsburg court in Vienna (on Meissen’s religious sculptures see Daniela Antonin “In Roman Style: Meissen’s Religious Sculptures” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp. 76-83).

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The group is painted in overglaze enamel colors and gold.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 432-433.

Meissen figure of a ballad seller

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a ballad seller

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4⅞" 12.4 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 78.431

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 506

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1944.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

This figure of a ballad seller comes from Marcellus Laroon’s (the Elder 1653-1702) Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life, a set of engravings published in 1687 by Pierce Tempest (1653-1712). Laroon’s drawings of the vendors, entertainers, charlatans, and rogues who inhabited the commercial heart of London in the late seventeenth century is a rich compendium of urban street life when the city was the foremost financial, marketing, and maritime center in Europe.

The ballad seller depicted here, modeled by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775), was known as Roger Teasdale, and his partner, Mrs. Parker, was modeled by Peter Reinicke. In Laroon’s original work the two ballad sellers are seen together with the caption “A Merry New Song.” The ballad is a form of narrative poetry, often sung to well-known tunes, and with a long history of use as a popular form of storytelling or the delivery of news about significant events of the time, usually with a ribald, scurrilous or satirical twist. Published in 1720, the ballad called The Infallible Doctor is a rare example of a quack doctor’s patter that might apply to the figure of the quack doctor, ID number 74.140.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors. Figures from The Cries of London series were used for table decorations and collected for cabinet displays in private apartments.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

On ballads see the Bodleian Library website: http:/www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads/images.htm

On the figures of Mrs. Parker and Roger Teasdale see Yvonne Adams, Meissen Figures 1730-1775 The Kaendler Years Atglen PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2001, p.41.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, p.458-459.

Meissen plate (one of a pair)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Pair of Plates

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: D. 9⅞" 25.1cm

OBJECT NAME: Plates

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750-1760

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 63.244. AB

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 378 AB

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “22” impressed.

PURCHASED FROM: Arthur S. Vernay, New York, 1943.

These plates are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychoanalysis and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Sprays of natural flowers take up the center of these plates. The reserves on the flanges frame paintings in onglaze enamel of songbirds perched on branches that were likely based on hand-colored plates from Eleazar Albin’s (1713-1759)two volume work A Natural History of Birds, first published in London in 1731, with a second edition in 1738. The Meissen manufactory had a copy of the work, one of the earliest illustrated books on birds that Albin completed with his daughter Elizabeth. Keeping caged songbirds was popular with many people across a broad spectrum of the eighteenth-century middle class and the nobility, and their decorative potential was exploited especially in wall coverings, textiles, and ceramics.

The specialist bird painters (Vogelmaler) at Meissen were low in number compared to the flower painters, but the term “color painter” (Buntmaler) was a fluid term indicating that painters moved from one category to another as demand required, especially for flower, fruit and bird subjects.

The low relief pattern on the flanges of the plates is the so-called “New Dulong” (Neu Dulong) pattern named for the Amsterdam merchant who was a dealer for Meissen. Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) recorded modeling a trial plate for a table service for Monsieur Dulong in June 1743. The process of creating shallow relief patterns was laborious and required considerable skill, and the “New Dulong” pattern was the first to break away from the formality of the basket weave designs to introduce a flowing pattern in the rococo style.

These plates belong to the same or similar pattern as the tureen, cover, and stand (ID number 1992.0427.20 abc.)

On graphic sources for Meissen porcelain see Möller, K. A., “Meissen Pieces Based on Graphic Originals” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp.85-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On relief decoration see Reinheckel, G., 1968, ‘Plastiche Dekorationsformen im Meissner Porzellan des 18 Jahrhunderts’ in Keramos, 41/42, Juli/Oktober , p. 103, 104, 77-No. 60.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 412-413.

Meissen figure of a gardener

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a gardener

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4⅛" 10.5 cm.

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750-1760

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1992.0427.08

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 71

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARK: Crossed swords in blue on unglazed base.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he first purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Meissen’s figures of gardeners appeared more commonly in the 1750s. Some of the figures are far too finely dressed to be serious gardeners, and the models were often based on the prints and drawings after works by artists like Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, with more refined modeling in response to the rococo style. Peter Reinicke (1715-1768) modeled several gardening subjects and these figures possibly formed part of the decorated dessert table at court banquets. Designed by the court confectioners the figures stood in elaborate gardens constructed out of a variety of materials, but the artificial did not displace natural flowers, both cut and potted they were in constant demand at court for table and interior decoration.

Gardeners were stock characters in many eighteenth-century plays and operas; like house servants they observed the lives of their masters and mistresses, sometimes becoming entangled in the plot as in Pierre-August Caron de Beaumarchais’s (1732-1799) controversial Marriage of Figaro of 1784. Gardening in eighteenth-century Europe was a lucrative commercial business for those engaged in the supply of seeds and plants to satisfy the increasing demand for stock to fill a country estate, a modest town or country garden, and even a window box in a city center. Global trade and exploration brought new and exotic plants to Europe that generated enthusiasm for gardening and hothouse cultivation.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors and gold.

On the global collectors who brought non-native plants to European and American gardens see Stuart, D.C., 2002, The Plants that Shaped Our Gardens.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 460-461.

Meissen plates: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Two plates

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: D.9⅜" 23.8cm

OBJECT NAME: Plates

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1763-1774

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1992.0427.10 AB

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 78 AB

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “10” impressed.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

These plates are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Swags of flowers and a blue scale pattern frame the rims of the plates and a single exotic bird stands in the center framed by a trellis suggestive of a garden setting and painted in overglaze enamels. In the parks and gardens of the nobility colorful birds imported from overseas were a popular ornamental feature, and an aviary containing such birds was maintained at the castle of Moritzburg for the pleasure of the Dresden court. A possible graphic source for these birds is Gabriel Huquier’s Livre des Différentes Espèces d’Oiseaux de la Chine (Book of Different Species of Chinese Birds) published in Paris at an unknown date during the 1730s, or Jean Baptiste Oudry’s Oiseaux de la Chine (Birds of China) with engravings by Gabriel Huquier probably published in the 1730s.

The specialist bird painters (Vogelmaler) at Meissen were low in number compared to the flower painters, but the term “color painter” (Buntmaler) was a fluid term indicating that painters moved from one category to another as demand required, especially for flower, fruit and bird subjects.

Meissen trained its painters through apprenticeship before the Seven Years War (1756-1763), but in 1764 a drawing school was founded with a director, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712-1774), who was painter to the court and a member of the Dresden Academy of Art. It was state policy to steer Saxon manufactures towards the new style emerging in France, and in Meissen’s case an attempt to maintain a competitive edge against new porcelain manufactories, especially that of Sèvres near Paris.

These two plates, however, come from a dinner service in Meissen’s pre-war rococo style (ca. 1746-1756) and it was not uncommon for older stock to be painted at a later date.

The blue scale pattern and the gold rim lines were applied by other workers specializing in these decorative embellishments.

On the Meissen Manufactory following the Seven Years War see Anette Loesch “Meissen Porcelain from 1763-1815” in Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 34-51.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 416-417.

Meissen figure of a pikeman

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a pikeman

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4⅞" 12.4 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 78.430

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 507

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in blue on unglazed base.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1944.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

In 1745 Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) modeled a series of soldier figures to be presented as a gift from the Saxon court for Karl Peter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp (later, and very briefly, Czar Peter III of Russia (1762)) who liked to play with toy soldiers throughout his adult life. This figure of a pikeman comes from that series, but originally appeared as a Saxon soldier dressed in a scarlet and white uniform.

Pikemen were in the front line of an advancing army. They lowered their pikes, consisting of a wooden shaft with a steel point on the end, to hinder the cavalry from breaking through to the ranks behind them. The pikemen caused injury to the horses, unseating their riders who were then open to attack from soldiers carrying muskets or swords.

War was seldom absent from European soil in the eighteenth century, and those that involved Saxony/Poland included the Great Northern War (1700-1721) between Russia and Sweden; the War of Polish Succession (1733-1735) in which Saxony/Poland was at the center of a conflict that spread to many parts of Europe; the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748), which was a series of wars fought in an attempt to dismantle the Habsburg succession after the death of Charles VI in 1740; the Seven Years War of 1757-1763), a war that inflicted severe damage to Saxony at the hands of Prussia, and was the first global conflict with fighting between the French and the British in India and North America.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, p.456-457.

Meissen plate: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Pair of plates

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: D.10⅛" 25.7cm

OBJECT NAME: Plates

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1763-1774

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 78.428 AB

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 5 AB

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords with dot in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

These plates are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began collecting in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

The two plates with petal-shaped edges and brown rim lines have sprays of naturalistic flowers offset in their centers with scattered blooms on the rims, all painted in onglaze enamels. European flowers began to appear on Meissen porcelain in about 1740 as the demand for Far Eastern patterns became less dominant and more high quality printed sources became available in conjunction with growing interest in the scientific study of flora and fauna. For the earlier style of German flowers (deutsche Blumen) Meissen painters referred to Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s publication, the Phytantoza Iconographia (Nuremberg 1737-1745), in which many of the plates were engraved after drawings by the outstanding botanical illustrator Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770). The more formally correct German flowers were superseded by mannered flowers (manier Blumen), depicted in this looser and somewhat overblown style based on the work of still-life flower painters and interior designers like Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) and Louis Tessier (1719?-1781), later referred to as “naturalistic” flowers.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Flower and fruit painters were paid less than workers who specialized in figures and landscapes, and most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage. In the late eighteenth century flower painters were even busier and consumer taste for floral decoration on domestic “china” has endured into our own time, but with the exception of a manufactory like Meissen most floral patterns are now applied by transfers and are not hand-painted directly onto the porcelain.

On graphic sources for Meissen porcelain see Möller, K. A., “Meissen Pieces Based on Graphic Originals” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp.85-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 398-399.

Meissen plate: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Pair of plates

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: D.10⅛" 25.7cm

OBJECT NAME: Plates

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1763-1774

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 78.428 AB

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 5 AB

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords with dot in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

These plates are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

The two plates with petal-shaped edges and brown rim lines have sprays of naturalistic flowers offset in their centers with scattered blooms on the rims, all painted in onglaze enamels. European flowers began to appear on Meissen porcelain in about 1740 as the demand for Far Eastern patterns became less dominant and more high quality printed sources became available in conjunction with growing interest in the scientific study of flora and fauna. For the earlier style of German flowers (deutsche Blumen) Meissen painters referred to Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s publication, the Phytantoza Iconographia (Nuremberg 1737-1745), in which many of the plates were engraved after drawings by the outstanding botanical illustrator Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770). The more formally correct German flowers were superseded by mannered flowers (manier Blumen), depicted in this looser and somewhat overblown style based on the work of still-life flower painters and interior designers like Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) and Louis Tessier (1719?-1781), later referred to as “naturalistic” flowers.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Flower and fruit painters were paid less than workers who specialized in figures and landscapes, and most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage. In the late eighteenth century flower painters were even busier and consumer taste for floral decoration on domestic “china” has endured into our own time, but with the exception of a manufactory like Meissen most floral patterns are now applied by transfers and are not hand-painted directly onto the porcelain.

On graphic sources for Meissen porcelain see Möller, K. A., “Meissen Pieces Based on Graphic Originals” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp.85-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 398-399.

Meissen figure of a girl dancing

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a dancing girl

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 3¼" 8.3 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750-1760

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1992.0427.09

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 73

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: None

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1941.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he first purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

This little figure dancing in a short tunic gathered into a band at her waist may belong to the ‘costumed cupid’ series, or ‘putti in disguise’. Her clothing suggests representation of one of the nationalities of Eastern Europe or the Balkans, a series also modeled in adult figures. The modeler may be Friedrich Elias Meyer (1724-1785) engaged to work at Meissen by Johann Joachim Kaendler(1706-1775) in 1748.

Many of the child and cupid figures are diminutive versions of adult subjects, especially gardeners, earlier modeled by Kaendler and again retouched and repaired by Acier in the 1760s. Child musicians, vintners and street traders (see the pastry seller 1993.447.03), children impersonating characters from the Italian Comedy (see 1987.0896.31), children dancing, are common themes. Drawings by, and engravings after, the French painter François Boucher, were the models for many of the child figures, especially the pastoral subjects and flower girls.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 474-475.

Meissen pitcher: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Pair of pitchers

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: H. 2⅜" 6cm

OBJECT NAME: Pair of pitchers

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1745

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1989.0715.14 A,B

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 320 A,B

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “3” impressed.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

These pitchers are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

These small pitchers are painted with German flowers (deutsche Blumen) in overglaze enamel within white reserves surrounded by a yellow onglaze ground color. European flowers began to appear on Meissen porcelain in about 1740 as the demand for Far Eastern patterns became less dominant and more high quality printed sources became available in conjunction with growing interest in the scientific study of flora and fauna. For German flowers as seen on these examples Meissen painters referred to Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s Phytantoza Iconographia (Nuremberg 1737-1745), among other publications, in which many of the plates of fruits and flowers were engraved after drawings by the outstanding botanical illustrator Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770). The more formally correct German flowers were superseded by mannered flowers (manier Blumen), depicted in a looser and somewhat overblown style based on the work of still-life flower painters and interior designers like Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) and Louis Tessier (1719?-1781), later referred to as “naturalistic” flowers.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Flower and fruit painters were paid less than workers who specialized in figures and landscapes, and most painters received pay by the piece instead of a regular wage. In the late eighteenth century flower painters were even busier and consumer taste for floral decoration on domestic china has continues into our own time, but with the exception of a manufactory like Meissen most floral patterns are now applied by transfers and are not hand-painted directly onto the porcelain.

Objects of this shape began as tea bowls with deep matching saucers into which the tea was poured in order to cool it down. They are described variously as tea bowls, bouillon cups, and cream pitchers.

On graphic sources for Meissen porcelain see Möller, K. A., “Meissen Pieces Based on Graphic Originals” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp.85-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 372-373.

Meissen pitcher: one of a pair

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Pair of pitchers

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: H. 2⅜" 6cm

OBJECT NAME: Pair of pitchers

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1745

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1989.0715.14 A,B

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 320 A,B

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “3” impressed.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

These pitchers are from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

These small pitchers are painted with "German" flowers (deutsche Blumen) in overglaze enamel within white reserves surrounded by a yellow onglaze ground color. European flowers began to appear on Meissen porcelain in about 1740 as the demand for Far Eastern patterns became less dominant and more high quality printed sources became available in conjunction with growing interest in the scientific study of flora and fauna. For German flowers as seen on these examples Meissen painters referred to Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s Phytantoza Iconographia (Nuremberg 1737-1745), among other publications, in which many of the plates of fruits and flowers were engraved after drawings by the outstanding botanical illustrator Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770). The more formally correct German flowers were superseded by mannered flowers (manier Blumen), depicted in a looser and somewhat overblown style based on the work of still-life flower painters and interior designers like Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) and Louis Tessier (1719?-1781), later referred to as “naturalistic” flowers.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Flower and fruit painters were paid less than workers who specialized in figures and landscapes, and most painters received pay by the piece instead of a regular wage. In the late eighteenth century flower painters were even busier and consumer taste for floral decoration on domestic china has continues into our own time, but with the exception of a manufactory like Meissen most floral patterns are now applied by transfers and are not hand-painted directly onto the porcelain.

Objects of this shape began as tea bowls with deep matching saucers into which the tea was poured in order to cool it down. They are described variously as tea bowls, bouillon cups, and cream pitchers.

On graphic sources for Meissen porcelain see Möller, K. A., “Meissen Pieces Based on Graphic Originals” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp.85-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meißener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 372-373.

Meissen figure of a drinker

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a drinker

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 4¾" 12.1 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1745-1750

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 75.190

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 432

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords on an unglazed base.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1944.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

A figure of a man drinking, variously described as Dutch or Polish, was modeled by Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1685-1749) in the mid-to-late 1740s. Figures of this type were not seen in isolation, but formed part of a group representing the world of the rural peasant or city people of foreign lands displayed alongside sugar sculptures on the dessert table for the entertainment of guests. Small models of dwellings completed the illusion of place created in miniature form. The Saxon court held events in which its members impersonated people living on the land, creating for themselves a fantasy about those living on the opposite spectrum of the social hierarchy.

Figures of drinkers, or topers, were common to the repertoire of small-scale sculpture in many eighteenth-century porcelain manufactories, and in the fine earthenware and faience manufactories.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then carefully cut into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 424-425.

Meissen figure of a child wigmaker

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of Cupid with wigstand

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 3⅜", 8.5 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1750-1760

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1992.0427.17

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 281

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: None

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

The Meissen cupids, ‘costumed cupids ‘or putti in disguise, represent a large group of about eighty figures modeled by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) in the 1750s and remodeled by Michel Victor Acier1736-1799) after the Seven Years War in 1764. Usually, but not always, identified by the presence of wings on their backs, cupids represent many of the trades and artisanal activities, the Italian Comedy characters, and allegorical subjects of the larger figures. This figure features the artisan trade of the wigmaker.

Cupids, or putti, tumble through the skies in Italian paintings of the seventeenth-century Baroque period. They are present in sacred and secular architecture rolling and gamboling through churches and palaces, supporting and framing the sculptures of both religious and allegorical subjects. Their antecedents were angelic in the Christian religion, and in pagan antiquity Cupid or Eros was the agent for the arousal of sexual desire. The eighteenth-century French painter François Boucher (1703-1770), strongly influenced by Italian painting during his studies in Italy, painted most of his classical subjects with chubby putti emphasizing the representation of amorous desire.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors .

On Cupid see Grafton, A., Most, G.W., Settis, S., eds. 2010, The Classical Tradition, pp.244-246.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp.474-475.

Meissen figure of a boy

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a boy

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: 7¾" 19.7cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1775-1780

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 73.175

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 170

ACCESSION NUMBER:

(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords and star in blue on flat, unglazed base.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1942.

This figure is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in Germany, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

The boy stands with arms outstretched, and belongs to the later eighteenth-century Meissen models that represent children and family groups, subjects like The Good Mother and The Happy Parents. Many of these models were the work of the French modeler at Meissen, Michel Victor Acier (1736-1799), and the subjects appealed to the increasingly affluent middle class who bought figures and figure groups for display in their homes. Following the publication of Swiss born writer Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Émile in 1762, there was a surge of interest in the nurturing and education of children, and the importance of the parental role in their upbringing. Many of Acier’s subjects derived from engravings after the French artist Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), who specialized in painting themes with strong moral content.

Meissen figures and figure groups are usually sculpted in special modeling clay and then cut carefully into separate pieces from which individual molds are made. Porcelain clay is then pressed into the molds and the whole figure or group reassembled to its original form, a process requiring great care and skill. The piece is then dried thoroughly before firing in the kiln. In the production of complex figure groups the work is arduous and requires the making of many molds from the original model.

The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On Meissen porcelain after the Seven Years War of 1756-1763 see Anette Loesch, “Meissen Porcelain from 1763 to 1815” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp. 35-51.

On the modeling and molding process still practiced today at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’ The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, pp.61-67.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, p.476-477.
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