Enfilade

Exhibition | Miniature World in White Gold: Meissen Porcelain

Posted in exhibitions by InternRW on August 9, 2016

On view now at the Wadsworth Atheneum:

Miniature World in White Gold: Meissen Porcelain by Johann Joachim Kaendler
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 16 January 2016 — 16 January 2017

Curated by Vanessa Sigalas

Writing cavalier

Model by Johann Joachim Kaendler,Writing Cavalier, ca. 1740, hard-paste porcelain.

Johann Joachim Kändler was one of the most visionary artists in the history of porcelain, creating more than 2,000 models over the course of his career and consistently testing the limits of porcelain as an artistic medium. Kändler was one of the first artists to use porcelain as a sculpting material rather than as a surface for painted decoration. His designs and figures—more detailed and realistic than any earlier creations—were essential for the development of porcelain as an independent art form in Europe.

Miniature World in White Gold showcases a broad selection of the finely detailed and innovative porcelain sculptures Kändler designed over his 44 years at the Meissen Porcelain Factory in Germany, featuring examples of his animals, crinoline figures, exotic representations, and court and peasant figures.

Persian woman with elephant

Model by Johann Joachim Kaendler, Persian Woman with Elephant, ca. 1763–74, hard-paste porcelain.

The formula for hard-paste porcelain, which originated in China centuries earlier, was not discovered in Europe until the early 18th century—only decades before Kändler became a modeler at Meissen. The material was as valuable as gold during his lifetime (1706–1775), when dinner services and figurines were commissioned by aristocrats to ornament extravagant banquet and dining tables. While they initially served as table decoration and conversation pieces, porcelain figures soon became collectibles themselves and were displayed in cabinets as independent artworks.

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