Ware, George W.
Porcelain, old and new, pp. 29-35 PDF (3.9 MB)
Meissen. Spirited steed, by P. Scheurich. Modern. (Courtesy, Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, Meissen) primarily produced for the nobility and their rich friends, no expense was spared in making the finest products. Each factory employed the ablest modelers and deco- rators in order to excel, and this accounts for the excep- tionally fine quality of early porcelain, which is so ardently collected today. The best specimens rank with classical paintings and sculptures as a collector's joy. EACH OF THE EIGI-T MAJOR 18th century German E factories, which will be described briefly in the order of their establishment, employed outstanding artists and strove to excel, with the result that each made its artistic contributions. Generally, the best period of the factories was during their first 30 to 50 years of operation, par- ticularly during the rococo period, which offered a style of modeling and decorating particularly adapted to porce- lain. The finest procelain was being made in Germany about the time George Washington was surveying the wilds of America, and almost a half century before Na- poleon's armies marched across Europe. The artistic quality of porcelain began to decline to- ward the end of the 18th century when the factories began competing on a commercial basis, and the former high standards have never again been equaled. Con- sequently, connoisseurs are interested in pieces made during the best periods of the factories and spend much time and money to obtain them. The porcelain factory at Meissen, now in the Soviet Zone of Germany, was Europe's first and is still the most important of the old German porcelain factories. It has operated continuously as a royal or state factory since its establishment in 1710. It has had its glorious days and INFORMATION BULLETIN its periods of depression and decline, but it richly de- serves its international fame for outstanding productions over a long and interesting period. The best period of Meissen extended from 1720 to 1760. After Boettcher's death, August the Strong secured the services of a number of leading artists, including Johann G. Hoeroldt, who proved to be the most re- nowned porcelain painter of all time. He and his asso- ciates are famous for their paintings of oriental char- acters, chinoiseries and flowers, and later the beautiful baroque and rococo decorations of court scenes, land- scapes and harbors. In 1731, Johann J. Kaendler was engaged as chief modeler, was soon acknowledged as a master and became the inspiration of many porcelain artists throughout Europe. It was not until Kaendler's genius was joined with that of Hoeroldt that Meissen porcelain attained its maximum variety, grace and beauty and reached the peak of its fame around 1750. These two great artists enjoyed a long and successful career together and the period from 1731 to the beginning of the Seven Years War in 1756 is known as the Hoeroldt-Kaendler period. This was the golden age of Meissen and its creations' included a large variety of figurines, dinner services, candelabra, desk sets, animals, birds and vases of all kinds. THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN considerable confusion, especially among Americans, as to the difference between Meissen and Dresden porcelain. Since the Meis-' sen factory is only 14 miles from Dresden, Meissen porcelain is frequently thought of as Dresden and vice versa, but there is a definite distinction. Porcelain is not manufactured in Dresden, though several factories are located nearby. Enormous quantities of white porcelain are bought by Dresden firms only for decorating, mark- ing and resale thoughout the world as "Dresden china." Meissen. Crinoline group, by J. J. Kaendler. About 1740. (Courtesy, Museurn tuer Kunst und GCewcbe, Hamburg) JUNE 1951 30
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