THE PROPERTY OF A LADY (LOT 355)
Post Lot Text
300 Years of Prowess:
Meissen Porcelain 1710-2010
The year 2010 marks the tri-centenary of the Meissen Porcelain Factory. This accomplishment alone is a standing testament to the ingenuity and creative fervor of its craftsmen. Its long and varied history-a rare exception to the axiom-that operating a porcelain factory is indeed a very elegant way to go broke.
Prior to the factory's inception, Augustus the Strong, the reigning monarch of Saxony and Poland, utilized Chinese porcelain as a symbol of power and wealth. Driven to discover 'The Secret of the Orient', Augustus became the patron and benefactor of what was to become the most widely recognized porcelain factory in the world.
In 1701, extravagant boasts by the German alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger landed the young miscreant in 'protective custody' where he was forced to make good on his claims that he could produce gold from base materials. Unable to meet this directive, Böttger was redirected to find the long sought recipe for translucent porcelain. In 1709, he laid claim to the rediscovery. White Gold, as it came to be known, was so closely related to Chinese porcelain that Europeans no longer needed to wait for their exotic imports to arrive from the Orient. By royal decree, the kiln was fired near Dresden and the demand for European porcelain began in earnest.
An early rivalry between two great artists, Höroldt and Kändler, fueled a feud that has influenced porcelain production across Europe and beyond for the last three hundred years. Johann Gregorius Höroldt, a wallpaper artist and tapestry designer by training, made his way to Meissen via the porcelain factory du Paquier. At Meissen, he developed a broad palette of enamel colors and as head of the painting workshop strongly advocated intricately decorated surfaces based on his ornamental and figural designs. In 1731, Johann Joachim Kändler arrived at Meissen. Kändler, a sculptor by training, embarked on creating an extensive repertoire of models and as master of the model workshop, urged his department to create luxuriantly sculpted wares and to fervently explore the plasticity of the material.
From it's founding to the present, precision, attention to detail and exacting line have been the trademarks of Meissen production. In celebration of this lauded factory's 300th anniversary, we lead this month's sale with a prized selection of models and wares from the 18th, 19th and 20th century; a tribute to the lasting creativity of the artists at Meissen.