Meissen Böttger porcelain cup

<< >>
Description
MARKS: None
PURCHASED FROM: William H. Lautz, New York, 1960.
This cup 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 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 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 cup was made in the Meissen manufactory in Böttger porcelain, but the gold was probably painted outside at a later date in the 1720s by an independent artist in Augsburg.. 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 sprays of roses applied to this cup with its rose twig handle belong to the group of Böttger porcelains inspired by the imported Imari Japanese porcelains in the Saxon Elector’s collection in Dresden. The painting is probably Augsburg Hausmalerei by the Seuter workshop between 1725 to1735.
For examples of Japanese Imari vessels from the collection in Dresden see Ayers, J., Impey, O., Mallet, J.V.G., 1990, Porcelain for Palaces: the fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750, p.209.
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 items on pp. 503 and 505.
Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 490-491.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1713-1720
ca 1713-1720
maker
Meissen Manufactory
Physical Description
hard-paste Boettger porcelain (overall material)
painted in onglaze gold (overall color)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
gilt (overall production method/technique)
Measurements
overall: 3 in; 7.62 cm
overall: 3 in x 2 15/16 in x 2 5/8 in; 7.62 cm x 7.46125 cm x 6.6675 cm
ID Number
1983.0565.69
catalog number
1983.0565.69
accession number
1983.0565
collector/donor number
1110
Credit Line
Hans C. Syz Collection
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

Comments

Add a comment about this object