Meissen tankard (Hausmaler)

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Description
TITLE: Meissen tankard and cover (Hausmaler)
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain, hard paste (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: 7⅜" 19.7 cm
OBJECT NAME: Tankard and cover
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1715-1723 Meissen
SUBJECT: The Hans Syz Collection
Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 66.171
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 613
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: None
PURCHASED FROM: Blumka Gallery, New York, 1947. Ex. Coll. Max Garr.
This tankard 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 tankard 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 tankard has a silver-gilt cover and the concentric rings were likely turned on a wheel or a horizontal lathe when the porcelain was in a ‘leather hard’ condition, and it is possible that this is an early example of Böttger porcelain painted at a later date by a Hausmaler. The identity of the painter of these delicate Chinese figures in a garden setting is probably Johann Philipp Dannhöffer (1712-1790) who first worked in Vienna before moving to Bayreuth in 1737, but some uncertainty remains ( see also the tea bowl and saucer: ID number 76.378).
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.548-549.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1715-1723
1715-1723
maker
Meissen Manufactory
Physical Description
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
metal (overall material)
chinoiserie (joint piece style)
Measurements
overall: 7 3/4 in; 19.685 cm
overall: 7 11/16 in x 5 3/4 in x 4 1/8 in; 19.52625 cm x 14.605 cm x 10.4775 cm
ID Number
CE.66.171
catalog number
66.171
accession number
270694
collector/donor number
613
Credit Line
Dr. Hans Syz
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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