Meissen plate (Hausmaler)

Description
TITLE: Meissen plate (Hausmaler)
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: D 8⅜" 21.3 cm.
OBJECT NAME: Plate
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1735-1740
SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection
Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1979.0120.07
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 610
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; two circles impressed, former’s mark, Johann Gottlieb Kühnel (1702-1774).
PURCHASED FROM: Blumka Gallery, New York, 1947.
This plate is part of 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 plate 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.
This plate, made in Meissen, but painted in Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland) is part of a dinner service featuring the joys and pleasures of childhood based on the print series by Claudine Bouzonnet-Stella Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l’enfance of 1657, after drawings by her uncle, the painter Jacques Stella (1596-1657). The three children, two of whom hold a vine branch over the third child, all framed by heavy scrollwork, do not correspond exactly to a print in the series by Bouzonnet-Stella, but the image bears some similarity to the title page. The Hausmaler was Hans Gottlieb Count von Bressler, who painted on porcelain for his own pleasure in the style of his teacher, the well-known Hausmaler Ignaz Bottengruber, also of Breslau. Count von Bressler became mayor of Breslau in 1766. Three plates from this service are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections?ft=*&who=Hans+Gottlieb+von+Bressler
On Hausmaler see Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp.43-46; Gustav E. Pazaurek, 1925, Deutsche Fayence und Porzellan Hausmaler.
Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 514-515.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1735-1740
1735-1740
maker
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome (overall color)
Hausmaler (overall style)
Measurements
overall: 8 3/8 in; 21.2725 cm
overall: 1 in x 8 5/16 in; 2.54 cm x 21.11375 cm
ID Number
1979.0120.07
catalog number
1979.0120.07
accession number
1979.0120
collector/donor number
610
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Art
The Hans C. Syz Collection
Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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