Meissen tureen and cover (Hausmaler)

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Description
TITLE: Meissen tureen and cover (Hausmaler)
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: H. 7⅜" 18.8 cm
D. 7½" 19.1 cm
L. (over handles) 11½" 29.2 cm
OBJECT NAME: Tureen
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1750-1754, Meissen
SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection
Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1979. 0120.08 a,b
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 687 a,b
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.
PURCHASED FROM: Hans E. Backer, London, England, 1947. Ex. Coll. F. Neuburg.
This tureen 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 tureen was made in the Meissen manufactory but decorated 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 of 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 even imprisoned them if Hausmalerei activity was suspected or discovered.
This tureen stands outside the conventions of enamel and gold painting and was achieved by incising the glaze with a diamond-tipped tool, and then rubbing lamp black or charcoal into the incised image. Lamp black is a pigment made from carbon derived from burning vegetable matter or mineral substances; soot in other words.
Canon August Ernst von dem Busch of Hildesheim (1704-1779) in Lower Saxony, North Germany, specialized in creating these images for his own pleasure. He was especially fond of scenes popular in the eighteenth century, the picturesque ruin, often included as a feature in the new fashion for the English landscape garden style in late eighteenth-century Germany. The Canon usually signed and dated his work, and the tureen is signed “Busch 1774.”
On Hausmaler see Ulrich Pietsch, 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: The Wark Collection from The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 43-46, and similar examples of the Canon’s work on pp. 561-563.
Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 566-567.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1750-1774
maker
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
incised lines with lamp blacking (overall color)
Hausmaler (overall style)
Measurements
overall: 7 7/16 in x 11 1/2 in x 8 13/16 in; 18.89125 cm x 29.21 cm x 22.38375 cm
ID Number
1979.0120.08ab
catalog number
1979.0120.08ab
accession number
1979.0120
collector/donor number
687
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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