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Meissen plate

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: 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 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 one of 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, pp. 412-413.

Meissen dish (Hausmaler)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen dish (Hausmaler)

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

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

MEASUREMENTS: D. 13½" 34.2 cm

OBJECT NAME: Dish

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1730-1735

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 63.267

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 529

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords and “K” in underglaze blue; “3” incised.

PURCHASED FROM: Julius Carlebach, New York, 1944.

This dish 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 dish was made in the Meissen manufactory but painted outside by an independent artist. Hausmalerei is a German word that means in literal translation ‘home painting’, and it refers to the practice of painting enamels and gold onto the surface of blank ceramics and glass in workshops outside the manufactory of origin. Beginning in the seventeenth century the work of the Hausmaler varied in quality from the outstanding workshops of Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland), to the less skilled efforts of amateur artists. Early Meissen porcelain was sought after for this purpose, and wealthy patrons of local enameling and gilding workshops purchased undecorated porcelain, often of out-moded or inferior quality, which was then enameled with subjects of their choice. Hausmalerei was at first acceptable to the early porcelain manufactories like Meissen and Vienna, and Meissen sent blank porcelain to Augsburg workshops for decoration, but as the market became more competitive they tried to eradicate the practice. It was a temptation for Meissen porcelain painters to take on extra work as Hausmaler to augment their low pay, and the manufactory cautioned or imprisoned them if Hausmalerei activity was suspected or discovered.

The dish has a variation of the Meissen “onion” pattern painted in underglaze blue at the manufactory. The gold decoration was applied later, probably in a workshop in Augsburg in the 1730s; the scrollwork on the gold band framing the center of the dish was typical of Augsburg ornamentation on porcelain, and fine dry point engraving on gold was another technique practiced by the Augsburg Hausmaler. The so-called underglaze blue “onion” pattern was a Meissen design incorporating various stylized motifs from original Chinese prototypes.

Underglaze blue is a pigment made from cobalt oxide that is applied to the surface of the porous raw clay or biscuit-fired porcelain before the high temperature glaze firing. At first, the Meissen manufactory struggled to find success in underglaze blue painting in imitation of Chinese and Japanese prototypes because cobalt oxide is a powerful flux and runs easily blurring the pattern under the glaze. After exhaustive trials involving a change to the porcelain body itself, this highly successful form of decoration entered production at Meissen in the early-to-mid 1720s. Cobalt was mined locally in the mineral rich Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) near the Saxon border with Bohemia, now the Czech Republic.

On Hausmaler see Ulrich Pietsch, 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: The Wark Collection from The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 43-46.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 504-505.

Meissen figure from the Monkey Band

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure of a monkey flautist

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

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

MEASUREMENTS: 5¾" 14.6 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1765-1766

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 65.386

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 379

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “14” impressed (series number).

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 Monkey Band, begun by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) in about 1747 and completed by him with Peter Reinicke ((1715-1768) by 1766, was a very popular series. The nineteen figures were based on drawings by Christophe Huet (1692-1765) in the manner of his singeries, the painted interiors featuring anthropomorphic monkey figures in the Chateau of Chantilly north of Paris and in the Hôtel de Rohan in Paris itself.

A music stand in the Monkey Band identifies the figure group with the opera seria Lucio Pipirio Dittatore by Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783) premiered in Dresden in 1742. German by birth, Hasse was a prolific and highly successful composer in the Italian style, and with his equally successful wife, the singer Faustina Bordoni (1700-1781), he worked for several European courts, but composed and directed music for the Dresden court for most of his active career.

Like the chinoiseries, the singeries represented an exotic fantasy, but one that expressed a form of mockery of human behavior. Monkeys were exotic pets, and captive chimpanzees were a source of great interest because of their obvious kinship to humans that both fascinated and repelled Europeans. Where did a chimpanzee or a monkey stand in relation to the human species? Eighteenth-century naturalists asked questions that sought to throw light on the nature of being human, and they looked for answers and understanding in the behavior of other animals.

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. The figure is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

Go to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum for more information on the Monkey Band with a recording of the fragment of notes visible on the music stand: http://risdmuseum.org/notes/151_live_from_risd_its_the_meissen_monkey_band

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. 458-459.

Meissen cup and saucer

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen cup and saucer

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 1½" 3.8cm; Saucer: D. 4¾" 12.1cm

OBJECT NAME: Cup and saucer

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE:1740-45

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1989.0715.08 a,b

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 521 a,b

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “A” in purple (painter’s mark); “63” impressed on saucer; “E” impressed on cup.

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

This cup and saucer 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.

The cup and saucer have yellow onglaze grounds on their exteriors. German flowers (deutsche Blumen) are painted in overglaze enamel on the two white reserves on the cup and on the interior of the saucer.

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 German flowers Meissen painters referred, among other publications, to Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s 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 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 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. 366-367.

Meissen rinsing bowl (part of a service)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Part of a tea service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Teapot: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Bowl: D. 7" 17.8cm; 2 cups: H. 2" 5.1cm; 2 saucers: D. 5¾" 14cm

OBJECT NAME: Tea service

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: 1989.0715.24 A,B,Cab,Dab

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 114 A, 115 B, 116 Cab, Bab

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; various impressed numbers (2,17,24).

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

These parts of a tea service 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 pieces from a tea service have a border of forget-me-nots in fine relief on their upper sections and are painted in overglaze enamel with naturalistic flowers.

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) the 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 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.

This tea service represents a transition from the earlier to the later style bearing characteristics of both the German and naturalistic flowers and this is not uncommon for this date of manufacture.

In the eighteenth century tea, coffee, and chocolate was served in the private apartments of aristocratic women, usually in the company of other women, but often with male admirers and intimates present. In affluent middle-class households tea was served in an informal gathering in the family’s private apartments, or made available to guests following a dinner. Tea and sugar were expensive items and kept under lock and key by the mistress of the house or a housekeeper. Coffee was more popular in Germany than tea, and many services included a coffeepot and a teapot. Coffee houses were exclusively male establishments and operated as gathering places for a variety of purposes in the interests of commerce, politics, culture, and social pleasure.

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 history of tea and coffee consumption see Weinberg, B.A., Bealer, B.K., 2002, The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug. On coffee see Ukers, W. H., 1922, All About Coffee and 1935 All About Tea; on the practice of drinking tea, coffee, and chocolate see Bowman, P.B., 1995, In Praise of Hot Liquors: The Study of Chocolate, Coffee and Tea-drinking 1600-1850; On the coffee house see Ellis, M. 2011, The Coffee House: A Cultural History.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 382-383.

Meissen cup and saucer

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen cup and saucer

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 2⅝" 6.7cm; Saucer: D.5⅛" 13.1cm

OBJECT NAME: Cup and saucer

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1735-1750

SUBJECT:

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.39 a,b

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 1608

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PROVENANCE: Dr. William P. Harbeson collection.

PURCHASED FROM: Sotheby-Parke Bernet, New York, 1972.

This cup and saucer 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.

It was fashionable in elite and affluent eighteenth-century households to keep captive exotic birds like this large scarlet macaw, and there was an extensive market in bird species during the eighteenth century as a part of global trade. The dog, a Bolognese type spaniel, was a popular breed of the period and the Meissen sculptor Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) produced a lively model of one in 1769. The subject for the overglaze enamel painting on this cup and saucer probably came from a private commission for a dinner service and a tea and coffee service; pieces from the latter are in the porcelain collection in Dresden, and a substantial number of parts of the dinner service were in the Ole Olsen collection in Copenhagen until 1927.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Enamel painters specializing in landscapes, harbor, and river scenes with staffage (figures and animals) were paid more than those who painted flowers, fruits and underglaze blue patterns. Most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage or salary. The cup has a restored silver handle.

For more examples from this service see Pietsch, U., 2010, Passion for Meissen: The Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection, p. 282: It is often assumed that items from this service were painted by a Hausmaler, but so many pieces still are extant that it was probably not the case as it was very difficult to acquire enough unpainted Meissen to paint a complete table service.

A Chinese version of the design imitating a European source is in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and can be seen at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O185799/cup-and-saucer-unknown/

An interesting account of the animal trade is in Robbins, L. E., 2002, Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth-Century Paris.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. 278-279.

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 coffee pot and cover

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen coffeepot

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: H. 9¼"

OBJECT NAME: Coffeepot

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: 1992.0427.13 a,b

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 198 a,b

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in inderglaze blue; “N” or “2” incised.

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

This coffeepot 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.

The shape of the coffeepot is based on contemporary silver models and it is painted in polychrome overglaze enamels with sprays of naturalistic flowers.

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 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 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 preference 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.

In the eighteenth century tea, coffee, and chocolate was served in the private apartments of aristocratic women, usually in the company of other women, but also with male admirers and intimates present. In affluent middle-class households tea was usually served by a senior female member of the family, often in an informal gathering in the family’s private apartments. Tea and sugar were expensive items and kept under lock and key by the mistress of the house or a housekeeper. Coffee was more popular in Germany than tea, but most services included a coffeepot and a teapot. Coffee houses were exclusively male establishments and operated as gathering places for a variety of purposes in the interests of commerce, politics, culture, and social pleasure.

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 coffee see Ukers, W. H., 1922, All AboutCoffee; on the practice of drinking tea, coffee, and chocolate see Bowman, P.B., 1995, In Praise of Hot Liquors: The Study of Chocolate, Coffee and Tea-drinking 1600-1850; See also Weinberg, B.A., Bealer, B.K., 2002, The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug. On the coffee house see Ellis, M. 2011, The Coffee House: A Cultural History.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp.400-401.

Meissen teapot and cover

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Part of a tea service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Teapot: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Bowl: D. 7" 17.8cm; 2 cups: H. 2" 5.1cm; 2 saucers: D. 5¾" 14cm

OBJECT NAME: Tea service

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: 1989.0715.24 A,B,Cab,Dab

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 114 A, 115 B, 116 Cab, Bab

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; various impressed numbers (2,17,24).

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

These parts of a tea service 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 pieces from a tea service have a border of forget-me-nots in fine relief on their upper sections and are painted in overglaze enamel with naturalistic flowers.

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) the 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 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.

Specialist gold painters applied ornament on the rims. This tea service represents a transition from the earlier to the later style bearing characteristics of both the German and naturalistic flowers and this is not uncommon for this date of manufacture.

In the eighteenth century tea, coffee, and chocolate was served in the private apartments of aristocratic women, usually in the company of other women, but often with male admirers and intimates present. In affluent middle-class households tea was served in an informal gathering in the family’s private apartments, or made available to guests following a dinner. Tea and sugar were expensive items and kept under lock and key by the mistress of the house or a housekeeper. Coffee was more popular in Germany than tea, and many services included a coffeepot and a teapot. Coffee houses were exclusively male establishments and operated as gathering places for a variety of purposes in the interests of commerce, politics, culture, and social pleasure.

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 history of tea and coffee consumption see Weinberg, B.A., Bealer, B.K., 2002, The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug. On coffee see Ukers, W. H., 1922, All About Coffee and 1935 All About Tea; on the practice of drinking tea, coffee, and chocolate see Bowman, P.B., 1995, In Praise of Hot Liquors: The Study of Chocolate, Coffee and Tea-drinking 1600-1850; On the coffee house see Ellis, M. 2011, The Coffee House: A Cultural History.

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 382-383.

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 cup and saucer

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen cup and saucer

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 2⅝" 6.7cm; Saucer: D. 5¼" 13.3cm

OBJECT NAME: Cup and saucer

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1740-1750

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1984.1140.36 a,b

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 1256 a,b

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “53 impressed on cup; “P” impressed on saucer.

PURCHASED FROM: A. Neuberger, New York, 1962.

This cup and saucer 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.

The cup and saucer have flowering prunus in relief on their exterior surfaces, and this type of decoration revived in the 1740s, is reminiscent of the early Böttger porcelains with similar ornament based on Chinese Dehua (blanc de Chine) porcelains with the prunus branches in high relief; prototypes with this pattern were in the royal collections in Dresden and made available to Johann Friedrich Böttger as models for early Meissen porcelain. In 1745 Johann Joachim Kaendler revived some of the patterns from the first decade of Meissen’s production that were, like this pattern, particularly admired. For an example of a similar cup and saucer, but with a yellow ground, enamel-painted chinoiseries and gilding see Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, p. 450, with on p. 451 a white teapot made at about the same date with prunus blossoms in relief.

The motif of the flowering prunus came from Chinese sources where fruit trees depicted in late winter and early spring bloom symbolize resilience and rebirth after winter and are the harbingers of spring.

The manufactory employed “mechanics” (Mechaniker), men who could maintain and oversee the use of machinery for the processing of materials, but also invent tools and devices that extended and supported the skills of mold makers and turners, ensuring a standard in uniformity and quality in the production of table services in particular. Most of Meissen’s vessels were made in plaster of Paris molds rotated on a wheel with the turner (Dreher) using a template or profile to guide the shape to an even thickness so as to avoid distortion in the firing. Oval forms were made using machines designed to carry a profile that followed an eccentric movement guided by a jig. All wares were turned in rough form and the porcelain allowed to air dry until it could hold its own shape before refining the surface with iron turning tools, smoothing away blemishes with a sponge, and polishing with a small piece of ivory or horn: all these mechanical devices and tools were made in the manufactory, sometimes improved upon and made by workers themselves. (See Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, p. 100).

On blanc de Chine in the Hickley Collection, Singapore, see Kerr, R., and Ayers, J., 2002, Blanc de Chine Porcelain from Dehua, and especially the contribution by Eva Ströber, “Dehua Porcelain in the Collection of Augustus the Strong in Dresden.”

For evidence of the Meissen Manufactory’s technical workers the methods employed see Rückert, R. 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 220-221.

Flax Cloak

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.
"KAITAKA PAEPAEROA" CLOAK WITH WIDE "TANIKO" BORDERS ON THREE SIDES (ACCORDING TO D.R. SIMMONS THIS IS AN EAST COAST BAY OF ISLANDS STYLE). THERE ARE 97 CONTINUOUS WEFT ROWS AT THE NECK, & 96 AT THE LOWER BORDER WHICH ARE 1.5 CM WIDE. THE GARMENT IS SHAPED BY INSERTS INCLUDING TWO LATERIAL WEDGE-SHAPES, AND TWO MESIAL WEDGE-SHAPED COMPOUND INSERTS. THERE ARE TWO PANELS OF DECORATION EMPLOYING RED, GREEN, AND BLUE WOOL THREAD IN SHORT LOOP ORNAMENTATION. THE "TANIKO" COLORS ARE BLACK, BROWN AND NATURAL COLORS WITH RED, ORANGE, BLUE AND GREEN WOOL COLORS ON THE TRIANGLES. THE CLOAK IS BADLY WATER STAINED. THE EXTENSIVE WATER STAINING MAY POSSIBLY BE A RESULT OF THE 1865 FIRE IN THE SMITHSONIAN CASTLE, OR PERHAPS ALSO WAS SUSTAINED FROM USE OR DURING THE OCEAN VOYAGE FROM NEW ZEALAND TO THE U.S.? HAS ORIGINAL PEALE TAGS, 526 & 529. THE CLOAK WAS EXAMINED BY MARTHA COOPER, 1967, BY D.R. SIMMONS 1974, AND DESCRIBED BY DESMOND KAHOTEA, 1984.

FROM CARD: "D. R. SIMMONS: PAEPAEROA CLOAK WITH TANIKO ON THREE SIDES (EAST COAST STYLE). DECORATIVE RED AND BLUE WOOL STITCHING IN TWO PANELS AT LEFT AND RIGHT BOTTOM, ORANGE, RED, BLUE WOOL USED IN TANIKO. WEFT LINES 1.5 CM APART WITH EIGHT VERTICAL INSERTS ON EITHER SIDE. NOV. 1974."

Peale catalogue identifies # 523 - 530 as "Blanket mats called "Kaitoke" woven by hand from thread made of the native flax (Phormium tenax)." Additional information from D.R. Simmons, Curator, Auckland Institute and Museum, Auckland, New Zealand, 1973. Simmons notes that these cloaks would more properly be called Kaitaka, i.e. flax cloaks with patterned taniko borders, because Kaitoke = earthworm.

Meissen pitcher

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen pitcher with attached lid

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: H. 7" 17.8cm

OBJECT NAME: Pitcher

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1735-1740

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 71.200

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 799

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; four roundels impressed (former’s mark).

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art exchange, New York, 1948.

PROVENANCE: Ex Coll. Friedrich Girtanner, Zurich.

This pitcher 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.

The pitcher with its twig handle has silver gilt mounts with a hinged thumb piece in the shape of a leaf attached to the handle. Within a purple onglaze ground there are two white reserves on each side of the pitcher that carry the quail pattern, another reserve under the spout and four small ones on the lid have onglaze enamel painted flowers in the Japanese Kakiemon style.

The Meissen painters copied the quail pattern from Japanese export porcelain in the Dresden collection of Augustus II (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, who had a particular liking for Japanese porcelain in the Kakiemon style. Initially the French dealer Rodolphe Lemaire ordered the pattern from Meissen for the Parisian luxury market where he sold the items as Japanese originals in the Kakiemon style, where with high demand he could obtain a good price, especially as Japanese production declined in the 1720s. Following discovery of Lemaire’s deception in which he was aided by Count Carl Heinrich von Hoym, cabinet minister and former Saxon envoy in Paris, the pattern remained in production at Meissen and became one of the most popular imitations of Kakiemon prototypes.

In Japan the quail pattern was adapted from the school of painters associated with the master and court painter Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-1691) who was inspired by Chinese paintings of the Song Dynasty (907-1276). Pattern books based on the works of the Tosa and Kano schools were available to Japanese artisans in the mid-seventeenth century and the quail motif was in common use as an ornament for objects made in metal, lacquer, wood, and ceramics. Quail with millet and fall grasses were often depicted in paintings and on screens that referred to the beginning of the fall season with poetic associations of a melancholy nature.

On this pitcher the quail forage under a winter flowering prunus, and this version of the pattern seems to have been designed for Japan’s export market and not for the Japanese who would expect to see quail in association with fall foliage. In Europe it was at first assumed that these ground birds were partridges.

Kakiemon is the name given to very white (nigoshida meaning milky-white) finely potted Japanese porcelain made in the Nangawara Valley near the town of Arita in the North-West of the island of Kyushu. The porcelain bears a characteristic style of enamel painting using a palette of translucent colors painted with refined assymetric designs attributed to a family of painters with the name Kakiemon. In the 1650s, when Chinese porcelain was in short supply due to civil unrest following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Manchu in 1644, Arita porcelain was at first exported to Europe through the Dutch East India Company’s base on Deshima (or Dejima) in the Bay of Nagasaki. The Japanese traded Arita porcelain only with Chinese, Korean, and Dutch merchants through the island of Deshima, and the Chinese resold Japanese porcelain to the Dutch in Batavia (present day Jakarta), to the English and French at the port of Canton (present day Guangzhou) and Amoy (present day Xiamen). Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, obtained Japanese porcelain through his agents operating in Amsterdam who purchased items from Dutch merchants, and from a Dutch dealer in Dresden, Elizabeth Bassetouche.

On the quail pattern see Ayers, J., Impey, O., Mallet, J.V.G., 1990, Porcelain for Palaces: the fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750, pp. 296-303, and Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 310-317. See Band I for a full discussion of the Hoym-Lemaire Affair.

On Kakiemon porcelain see Impey, O., Jörg, J. A., Mason, C., 2009, Dragons, Tigers and Bamboo: Japanese Porcelain and its Impact in Europe, the Macdonald Collection, and Takeshi Nagataki, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon

For comparison see Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collectionfrom the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 272-274; On colored grounds see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp. 267-274.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain adn Hausmalerei, pp. 138-139.

Meissen cup and saucer (part of a service)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen coffee and tea service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Two cups: H. 1¾" Two saucers: D. 5¼"; Coffeepot and cover: H. 9" 22.9cm; Teapot and cover: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Milk jug and cover: H. 5½"14cm; Sugar bowl and cover: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Bowl: H. 3½" 8.9cm

OBJECT NAME: Coffee and tea service

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1740

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: Two cups and saucers 1981.0702.05; Coffee pot and cover 1981.0702.06ab; Teapot and cover 1981.0702.07ab; Milk jug and cover 1981.0702.08ab; Sugar bowl and cover 1981.0702.09ab. Rinsing bowl 1981.0702.10

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 354;355;356;357;358;894

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “O” impressed on sugar bowl; “21” impressed on rinsing bowl.

PURCHASED FROM: Ginsburg & Levy, New York, 1943.

This cup and saucer is from a coffee and tea service in 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 cup and saucer has large tree peony flowers distributed along rooted brown twigs with two or three upright thorny stems in blue rising behind. The brown rim lines derive from original Kakiemon pieces in which a brown pigment applied to the rims before glazing was said to give some protection against chipping. The pattern has a symmetry that is not characteristic of Japanese Kakiemon-style porcelains, but for the European market Arita painters adapted some of their patterns to suit the preference for greater symmetry and less empty space. No Japanese prototype for this onglaze enamel painted pattern has come to light and it is possible that it is an adaptation by Meissen designers based on Japanese Kakiemon-style vessels in the royal porcelain collection in Dresden.

Kakiemon is the name given to very white (nigoshida meaning milky-white) finely potted Japanese porcelain made in the Nangawara Valley near the town of Arita in the North-West of the island of Kyushu. The porcelain bears a characteristic style of enamel painting using a palette of translucent colors painted with refined assymetric designs attributed to a family of painters with the name Kakiemon. In the 1650s, when Chinese porcelain was in short supply due to civil unrest following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Manchu in 1644, Arita porcelain was at first exported to Europe through the Dutch East India Company’s base on Dejima in the Bay of Nagasaki.

The Japanese traded Arita porcelain only with Chinese, Korean, and Dutch merchants and the Chinese resold Japanese porcelain to the Dutch in Batavia (present day Jakarta), to the English and French at the port of Canton (present day Guangzhou) and Amoy (present day Xiamen. Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, obtained Japanese porcelain through his agents operating in Amsterdam who purchased items from Dutch merchants there and at the annual Leipzig Fair, and from a Dutch dealer in Dresden, Elizabeth Bassetouche.

For two more examples of this pattern see Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, p.265; see also Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 195-198. Julia Weber identifies this pattern as one produced for the Parisian dealer Rodolphe Lemaire.

On the origins of Arita porcelains see Takashi Nagatake, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 172-173.

Meissen cup and saucer (part of a service)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen coffee and tea service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Two cups: H. 1¾" Two saucers: D. 5¼"; Coffeepot and cover: H. 9" 22.9cm; Teapot and cover: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Milk jug and cover: H. 5½"14cm; Sugar bowl and cover: H. 4¼" 10.8cm; Bowl: H. 3½" 8.9cm

OBJECT NAME: Coffee and tea service

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1740

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: Two cups and saucers 1981.0702.05; Coffee pot and cover 1981.0702.06ab; Teapot and cover 1981.0702.07ab; Milk jug and cover 1981.0702.08ab; Sugar bowl and cover 1981.0702.09ab. Rinsing bowl 1981.0702.10

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 354;355;356;357;358;894

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “O” impressed on sugar bowl; “21” impressed on rinsing bowl.

PURCHASED FROM: Ginsburg & Levy, New York, 1943.

This cup and saucer is from a coffee and tea service in 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 cup and saucer has large tree peony flowers distributed along rooted brown twigs with two or three upright thorny stems in blue rising behind. The brown rim lines derive from original Kakiemon pieces in which a brown pigment applied to the rims before glazing was said to give some protection against chipping. The pattern has a symmetry that is not characteristic of Japanese Kakiemon-style porcelains, but for the European market Arita painters adapted some of their patterns to suit the preference for greater symmetry and less empty space. No Japanese prototype for this onglaze enamel painted pattern has come to light and it is possible that it is an adaptation by Meissen designers based on Japanese Kakiemon-style vessels in the royal porcelain collection in Dresden.

Kakiemon is the name given to very white (nigoshida meaning milky-white) finely potted Japanese porcelain made in the Nangawara Valley near the town of Arita in the North-West of the island of Kyushu. The porcelain bears a characteristic style of enamel painting using a palette of translucent colors painted with refined assymetric designs attributed to a family of painters with the name Kakiemon. In the 1650s, when Chinese porcelain was in short supply due to civil unrest following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Manchu in 1644, Arita porcelain was at first exported to Europe through the Dutch East India Company’s base on Dejima in the Bay of Nagasaki.

The Japanese traded Arita porcelain only with Chinese, Korean, and Dutch merchants and the Chinese resold Japanese porcelain to the Dutch in Batavia (present day Jakarta), to the English and French at the port of Canton (present day Guangzhou) and Amoy (present day Xiamen. Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, obtained Japanese porcelain through his agents operating in Amsterdam who purchased items from Dutch merchants there and at the annual Leipzig Fair, and from a Dutch dealer in Dresden, Elizabeth Bassetouche.

For two more examples of this pattern see Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, p.265; see also Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 195-198. Julia Weber identifies this pattern as one produced for the Parisian dealer Rodolphe Lemaire.

On the origins of Arita porcelains see Takashi Nagatake, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 172-173.

Meissen cup and saucer

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen cup and saucer

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 1⅞" 4.8cm; Saucer L. 5⅜" 13.7cm, W. 4⅞" 12.4cm

OBJECT NAME: Cup and saucer

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: ca. 1730-1740

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1987.0896.09ab

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 435ab

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “22” in gold (gold painter’s number).

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

This cup and saucer 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.

The quatrefoil shaped cup and saucer has a basket weave design on the exteriors with flowers in relief (erhabene Blumen) enclosed in reserves. On the interiors elaborate scrollwork in purple, iron-red and gold frame waterside subjects in polychrome onglaze enamels. The delicate scrollwork design belongs to the earlier baroque style at Meissen. On the interior of the cup two men in a small boat sail at the entrance to a harbor with buildings in view behind them. On the saucer a man rides a white horse while leading another brown horse beside him. In the background is a coastal landscape with a harbor in the distance.

Sources for enamel painted subjects like these ones came from the vast number of prints after paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters of the seventeenth century that formed a major part of Meissen’s output from the early 1720s until the 1750s. The Meissen manufactory accumulated folios of prints, about six to twelve in a set, as well as illustrated books and individual prints after the work of many European artists, especially the work of Jan van Goyen (1596-1656), Jan van de Velde (1593-1641), and Johann Wilhelm Baur (d.1640). Many of these landscape and waterside scenes were imaginary, and paintings of existing locations were often altered by the artist. Meissen painters were also encouraged to use their imagination in enamel painting using the prints as a guide. These subjects can be seen on items like fans, enameled copper objects, and painted interiors as well as on porcelain and faience. Their appeal lay in the pleasure of contemplating the tranquility and beauty of the landscape, or the fascination with trade represented in the harbor scenes. Printed images enriched people’s lives and a series of prints might take the viewer on a journey, real or imaginary. Prints performed a role in European visual culture later extended by photography and film, and they provided artisans and artists with images, motifs, and patterns applied in many branches of the applied arts.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Enamel painters specializing in landscapes, harbor, and river scenes with staffage (figures and animals) were paid more than those who painted flowers, fruits and underglaze blue patterns. Most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage or salary. Decorative scrollwork was the responsibility of another painter specializing in this form of decoration.

On Meissen sources for enamel painted subjects see Möller, K.A. “ ‘…fine copper pieces for the factory…’ 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.84-93; Cassidy-Geiger, M., 1996, ‘Graphic Sources for Meissen Porcelain’ in Metropolitan Museum Journal, 31, pp.99-126.

On sets of prints see Goddard, S. H., 1984, Sets and Series: Prints from the Low Countries.

Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 298-299.

Orrery

National Museum of American History
This crank-operated device shows the orbital motions of Mercury, Venus, and the Earth around the Sun, and the Moon around Earth. The circular wooded base rests on three short feet, and is covered with an ornately engraved paper plate. One cherub on this plate holds a sign that reads “Designed for the / NEW PORTABLE / ORRERIES / by W. Jones.” Another cherub holds a sign that reads “and made and sold by / W. & S. JONES / 135 Holborn / London.” There is also “A TABLE of the principal AFFECTIONS of the / PLANETS / Jan’y 1st 1794 / Published as the Act directs by / W. & S. Jones” William S. Disbrow, a physician in Newark, N.J., who attained fame as a collector of art, books and scientific specimens, gave this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1902. William Jones (1763-1831) and his brother Samuel (d. 1859) made and sold mathematical, optical and philosophical instruments. They began in business at 135 Holborn in 1792, and moved to 30 Holborn in 1800. Ref: William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery on a Simple Construction (London, 1784). Henry C. King and John R. Millburn, Geared to the Stars. The Evolution of Planetariums, Orreries, and Astronomical Clocks (Toronto, 1978), pp. 207-210.

Piece Of Tapa, Turban

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.
FROM CARD: "15090-8. INVENTORIED 1975."

15090 - 15098 originally catalogued as just Polynesian. An unknown person pencilled in Hawaii? at a later date.

This type of fringed kapa with fibers visible is atyical for Hawaii. 2-layer, both very fine, thin and transluscent, especially inner layer.

Sagale Buadromo, Director of the Fiji Museum, and Mereia Luvunakora, Assistant Registrar of the Fiji Museum, identify this object as a Fijian tapa cloth turban (i sala). Dr. Adrienne Kaeppler, Curator of Oceanic Ethnology, concurs with this identification.

According to Troxler (1971), as the tapa for an i sala was beaten to be so thin and was also bleached in the sun, it had the appearance of a fine muslin. This type of tapa was used as a turban to dress a Chief’s head, considered to be the holiest body part. Hence, an I sala was a symbol of nobility, with lower ranked Chiefs forbidden from wearing an i sala before a Chief of higher rank. According to Luvunakoro, the i sala was only worn by male Chiefs during special occasions or ceremonies and they stopped being worn when the Christians arrived in the 1830s. Neich & Pendergrast (1997) note that the textured asymmetrical triangular designs commonly found on i sala is formed by pulling one edge of a hole, formed during the beating process, over the other edge. These triangular patches were considered to be decorative and were sometimes created, even when there was no need for a patch. The pleats found on the i sala were created by folding it horizontally in increments of about one to three centimeters. According to Smithsonian Oceanic Ethnology curator, Adrienne Kaeppler, the i sala was traditionally stored folded, firstly along the pleat lines and then folded again in half. The top half of the i sala is much finer and fairly transparent compared to the bottom half, which is thicker and opaque. The i sala is also covered with a textured pattern of asymmetrical triangles. Community Scholar, Mereia Luvunakoro noted that it is likely that it would have been paired with a smaller masi, which would not have been pleated and would be the size of a large handkerchief. This piece would have been worn over the head and the larger pleated piece would have been wrapped around it. Tapa has a brown stain. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) was carried out on the stains in August 2013 by the Smithsonian Conservation Scientist, Jennifer Giaccai, and again by Smithsonian Archaeologist, Eric Hollinger. The results were compared to a known human blood sample. The XRF readings of the stained area detected a very high peak in iron, whereas the known human blood sample had a much lower iron peak, which suggests that the stain is not human blood. Other Fijian turbans in the collection were also examined, to help determine which creases were from storage and which ones were ethnographic. After comparing the i sala with others in the Smithsonian collection, it was concluded that the crease along the middle and the pleats are ethnographic. Bibliography: Neich, R. & Pendergrast, M. 1997, Pacific Tapa, David Bateman Ltd., Auckland, pp.104-5. Troxler, G.S. 1971, Fijian Masi: a traditional art form, The Piedmonth Press, Greensboro, North California, pp.6-7

Oral history interview with Val Cushing, 2001 April 16

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 46 pages An interview of Val Cushing conducted 2001 April 16, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Cushing's studio, Alfred Station, New York.
Cushing speaks of his early interest in drawing; applying to Alfred University without a portfolio and being accepted on an athletic scholarship to play football; his teachers at Alfred including Katherine Nelson, Charles Harder, Marion Fosdick, Kurt Ekdahl, and Dan Rhodes; his classmates at Alfred including Herb Cohen, Marty Moskof, Marty Chodos, Luis Mendez, Ed Pettengill, and Richard Homer; the influence of Marguerite Wildenhain, who came to Alfred to teach for two weeks in 1952 (Cushing's senior year); his first job making pots at Santa's Workshop in Adirondack Mountains in New York in 1951, and the value of throwing every day; learning that "technique is not enough"; his travels; serving in the military police in Fort Dix, New Jersey, during the Korean War; visiting the Metropolitan Museum to sketch pots; meeting his wife Elsie Brown, who was private-duty nurse in New York; Charles Harder as an administrator and teacher; attending graduate school at Alfred on the G.I. Bill from 1954 to 1956; his decision to become teacher rather than full-time potter at the suggestion of Charles Harder; teaching at University of Illinois in 1956 and then Alfred University in 1957; the "famous" dialogues between Charles Harder and Bernard Leach; the importance of designing functional handmade objects; the evolution of the American craft market; his work for Andover China; exhibitions; his close-knit ceramics community in the 1950s and 1960s; his relationships with galleries including American Hand and The Farrell Collection in Washington, D.C., Helen Drutt Gallery and the Works Gallery in Philadelphia, The Signature Shop & Gallery in Atlanta, Martha Schneider Gallery in Chicago, and Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, North Carolina; teaching at Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, Archie Bray, and Anderson Ranch; "the Alfred connection at Archie Bray" and his grant to study at Archie Bray in 1968; the importance of Alfred's summer school to the history of contemporary clay in America; the value of university training; Bob Turner's and Ted Randal's influence on his work through their "philosophic stance" and "presence as artists"; his working space and his 1983 NEA grant to adapt an existing barn for use as a studio; the influence of nature on his work; working with kick wheel, Soldner wheel, Venco Pug Mill, natural gas and electric kilns; his glaze expertise; opportunities for experimentation; his love of jazz music and its influence on his working methods; pricing his pots; commissions; ceramic workshops as theatrical "performances" and an American phenomenon; the role of specialized periodicals in the craft field; the difference between craft critics and painting and sculpture critics; and the place of ceramics in museum collections in the United States and abroad.
Cushing also talks about his involvement with NCECA [The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts], the American Craft Council, and the American Ceramics Society; the lack of political and social commentary in his work; his teaching experiences in Europe and Asia; his participation in the opening of The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan; and the importance of ceramic history for the contemporary ceramist. He also recalls Susan Peterson, Bill Pitney, Marv Rickel, Don Frith, Winslow Anderson, Ken Deavers, Joan Mondale, Joan Farrell, Don Reitz, Gerry Williams, Bill Parry, Ken Ferguson, and others.

Oral history interview with Polly Thayer, 1995 May 12-1996 February 1

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 89 pages. An interview of Polly Thayer (Starr) conducted 1995 May 12-1996 February 1, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Thayer talks about her childhood in an upper class Boston family, thriving on drawing in charcoal from casts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, under tutelage of Beatrice Van Ness; her social debut, 1921-1922; a trip in the summer of 1922 to the Orient with her mother and brother where she was caught in the Tokyo earthquake; Philip Hale's method of teaching drawing at the Museum School in Boston, 1923-1924, and, later, privately; Eugene Speicher's urging her to free herself from Hale's teaching; the difficulty of making the transition to painting; and winning of the Hallgarten Prize of National Academy of Design, 1929.
Studying with Charles W. Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts in the summer of 1923-1924, which countered the rigidity of her training at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School; travels in Spain and Morocco in early 1929, at the time her large painting of a nude, "Circles," won the Hallgarten Prize; the importance to her of a letter in 1929 from the critic, Royal Cortissoz, urging her to not fall into the trap of the Boston School and become formulaic in her work; her first one-person show at Doll and Richards, Boston, which resulted in 18 portrait commissions; her ease with which she did self-portraits early in her career, but not so later; and her difficulty in holding the attention of portrait sitters.
Studying with Harry Wickey at the Art Students League, who taught her by boldly re-working her drawings for "plastic" values, which Starr quickly achieved; sketching medical operations and back-stage at theatres, which gave her the dramatic subject matter she sought in the early 1930s; her portraits; getting married in 1933 and the affect on her work; and her work at the Painter's Workshop in Boston with Gardner Cox and William Littlefield. She recalls May Sarton whose portrait she painted in 1936, Charles Hopkinson, and Hans Hofmann.
The distractions from painting brought about by marriage, children, acting, an active social life and much travel; her increased involvement in social concerns through her conversion to Quakerism; the simplification of her paintings beginning in the late 1930s and her steady execution of portrait commissions, which took less time; her exhibitions in Boston and New York through the 1940s and the rarity of them after that; being a board member of the Institute of Modern Art, Boston, and its co-founder, Nathaniel Saltonstall; her approach to painting which amounts to seeking the invisible in the visual world; and the onset of glaucoma which has ended her painting career.

Meissen cup and saucer

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen cup and saucer

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 1⅝" 4.2cm; Saucer: D. 5¼" 12.1cm

OBJECT NAME: Cup and saucer

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1740-1750

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1984.1140.08 a,b

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 387 a,b

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “66” or “99” impressed on cup; “2” impressed on saucer.

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

This cup and saucer 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.

The cup and saucer have flowering prunus in relief on their exterior surfaces and this type of decoration revived in the 1740s is reminiscent of the early Böttger porcelains with similar ornament based on Chinese Dehua (blanc de Chine) porcelains with the prunus branches in high relief; prototypes with this pattern were in the royal collections in Dresden and made available to Johann Friedrich Böttger as models for early Meissen porcelain. In 1745 Johann Joachim Kaendler revived some of the patterns from the first decade of Meissen’s production that were particularly admired.The motif of the flowering prunus came from Chinese sources where plum trees depicted in late winter and early spring bloom symbolized resilience and rebirth after winter and the harbinger of spring.

The manufactory employed “mechanics” (Mechaniker), men who could maintain and oversee the use of machinery for the processing of materials, but also invent tools and devices that extended and supported the skills of mold makers and turners, ensuring a standard in uniformity and quality in the production of table services in particular. Most of Meissen’s vessels were made in plaster of Paris molds rotated on a wheel with the turner (Dreher) using a template or profile to guide the shape to an even thickness so as to avoid distortion in the firing. Oval forms were made using machines designed to carry a profile that followed an eccentric movement guided by a jig. All wares were turned in rough form and the porcelain allowed to air dry until it could hold its own shape before refining the surface with iron turning tools, smoothing away blemishes with a sponge, and polishing with a small piece of ivory or horn: all these mechanical devices and tools were made in the manufactory, sometimes improved upon and made by workers themselves. (See Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, p. 100).

On blanc de Chine in the Hickley Collection, Singapore, see Kerr, R., and Ayers, J., 2002, Blanc de Chine Porcelain from Dehua, and especially the contribution by Eva Ströber, “Dehua Porcelain in the Collection of Augustus the Strong in Dresden.”

For evidence of the Meissen Manufactory’s technical workers the methods employed see Rückert, R. 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 220-221.

Meissen cup and saucer (part of a service)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Parts of a tea and coffee service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Coffeepot: H.9¼" 23.5cm

Milk jug: H. 6" 15.3cm

Teapot: H. 4⅜" 11.1cm

Rinsing bowl: H. 3⅜" 8.5cm

Sugar bowl: H. 4" 10.2cm

Four cups and saucers: Cups: H. 1¾" 4.5cm; Saucers: D. 5¼" 13.3cm

OBJECT NAME: Tea and coffee service

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1763-1774

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1989.0715.05

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 13,14,15,16,17,18

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords with dot in underglaze blue; various impressed numbers (6,15,23,29,31,63).

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

This cup and saucer is from a tea and coffee service in 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 Seven Years War of 1756-1763 brought Meissen’s production almost to a halt when Saxony was under Prussian occupation. In order to preserve the ‘secrets’ of porcelain manufacture much of the Meissen manufactory’s infrastructure was destroyed. The Saxony economy was severely weakened by the war which brought sales and commissions close to a standstill, and in addition Meissen faced growing competition from enterprises like Sèvres, Wedgwood, and the Thuringian manufactories. This tea and coffee service represents the awkward period of transition as Meissen sought to produce models that would appeal in a different political, cultural, and economic context.

The shapes seen in this service date from before the Seven Years War and the overglaze purple enamel painted subjects are based on prints in the style of Dutch landscape artists like Jan van de Velde II (1593-1641) popular in Meissen products of the 1740s and 1750s. Polychrome flourishes in sea-green, purple, blue, and yellow decorate the handles and finials. The service is outmoded in style at a time when the manufactory was at a low point following the war and the ensuing economic crisis. At the same time Meissen began to replace pre-war designs with those influenced by the French Sèvres porcelain manufactory.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Enamel painters specializing in landscapes, harbor, and river scenes with staffage (figures and animals) were paid more than those who painted flowers, fruits and underglaze blue patterns. Most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage or salary.

On the post Seven Years War period at Meissen see Loesch, A., “Meissen Porcelain from 1763-1815” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, 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. 350-351.

Meissen figure group of Dutch peasants dancing

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen figure group of Dutch peasants dancing

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

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

MEASUREMENTS: 5½" 14 cm

OBJECT NAME: Figure group

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1746-1750

SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection

Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 76.370

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 526

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Paul Lane, 1944.

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.

Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1696-1749) modeled the figures of Dutch Peasants (Holländische Bauern)based on a work with the title Gustus (Latin for taste or appetite) by the artist Gottfried Bernhard Göz (1708-1774) who specialized in genre subjects and large scale allegorical and religious works.

With Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) Eberlein made a series of figures of peasants engaged in various activities like taking a goat to market, cutting wood (see ID number 75.189), playing the hurdy-gurdy, harvesting produce, taking snuff, drinking, and individual figures dancing. Another model of dancing peasants, but more finely dressed, was made by Eberlein in about 1740. Used by the court confectioners for table decorations these figures augmented the structures made out of sugar and other materials for the elaborate displays designed to serve the dessert on festive occasions. The Dresden court dressed themselves as rural peasants at these events with the pretense of entering a way of life the social elites observed but did not experience.

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

The group is painted in overglaze enamel colors.

On Bernhard Goz see Möller, K.A., “ ’…fine copper pieces for the factory…’Meissen Pieces based on Graphic Originals”, and 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” both authors in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, p.88 and pp.61-67.

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. See also Ivan Day, 'Sculpture for the Eighteenth Century Garden Dessert', in

Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 436-437.

Meissen sugar bowl and cover (part of a service)

National Museum of American History
TITLE: Meissen: Parts of a tea and coffee service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Coffeepot: H.9¼" 23.5cm

Milk jug: H. 6" 15.3cm

Teapot: H. 4⅜" 11.1cm

Rinsing bowl: H. 3⅜" 8.5cm

Sugar bowl: H. 4" 10.2cm

Four cups and saucers: Cups: H. 1¾" 4.5cm; Saucers: D. 5¼" 13.3cm

OBJECT NAME: Tea and coffee service

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1763-1774

SUBJECT: Art

Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1989.0715.05

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 13,14,15,16,17,18

ACCESSION NUMBER:

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

MARKS: Crossed swords with dot in underglaze blue; various impressed numbers (6,15,23,29,31,63).

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

This sugar bowl and cover is from a tea and coffee service in 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 Seven Years War of 1756-1763 brought Meissen’s production almost to a halt when Saxony was under Prussian occupation. In order to preserve the ‘secrets’ of porcelain manufacture much of the Meissen manufactory’s infrastructure was destroyed. The Saxony economy was severely weakened by the war which brought sales and commissions close to a standstill, and in addition Meissen faced growing competition from enterprises like Sèvres, Wedgwood, and the Thuringian manufactories. This tea and coffee service represents the awkward period of transition as Meissen sought to produce models that would appeal in a different political, cultural, and economic context.

The shapes seen in this service date from before the Seven Years War and the overglaze purple enamel painted subjects are based on prints in the style of Dutch landscape artists like Jan van de Velde II (1593-1641) popular in Meissen products of the 1740s and 1750s. Polychrome flourishes in sea-green, purple, blue, and yellow decorate the handles and finials. The service is outmoded in style at a time when the manufactory was at a low point following the war and the ensuing economic crisis. At the same time Meissen began to replace pre-war designs with those influenced by the French Sèvres porcelain manufactory.

The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Enamel painters specializing in landscapes, harbor, and river scenes with staffage (figures and animals) were paid more than those who painted flowers, fruits and underglaze blue patterns. Most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage or salary.

On the post Seven Years War period at Meissen see Loesch, A., “Meissen Porcelain from 1763-1815” in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, 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. 350-351.
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