Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Walters Art museum 18th century European porcelain and furniture

Detail of a Pair of Vases ca. 1782-1784

This pair of neoclassical vases is distinguished by its superb gilt-bronze, goat shaped mount which is thought to be by Pierre Philippe Thomire, an outstanding sculptor and bronze-caster of the late 18th century. Vases of a similar form, though with different decoration, bearing the date-letters for 1782 were purchased by George IV. The Walters' pair have tentatively been associated with a 1784 inventory reference at the Palace of Versailles.



Last October I had the pleasure of attending a wedding of good friends in my old stomping grounds of Baltimore, Maryland.  During this time I got a chance to visit some of my favorite museums in Baltimore. Baltimore has world class museums with fabulous collections. Today we will get a quick tour of the 18th century European porcelain and furniture at the Walters art museum. I lived a block away's from this museum for 5 years. The museum is free to go inside. I would go all the time when I lived almost next door. We will explore this world class collection of art over the next few months. 



Painted Fire Screen 1700

Originally mounted as a screen to cover a fireplace during warm weather, in this exotic painting the artist has transformed the hearth into a miniature stage. Three fanciful Chinese characters hold aloft a circular screen on which is depicted the mythological story of Zeus showering Danaë with gold. A pair of figures, painted in grisaille on the side wall, incise their names on a tree trunk, a motif symbolizing eternal love. The fire screen is the earliest recorded work of Vigoureux Duplessis, an artist who was associated with decorative projects for the Paris Opera, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory.
Pair of Fluted Vases (Vases cannele à bandeau) 1770


Painted Fire Screen 1700

Originally mounted as a screen to cover a fireplace during warm weather, in this exotic painting the artist has transformed the hearth into a miniature stage. Three fanciful Chinese characters hold aloft a circular screen on which is depicted the mythological story of Zeus showering Danaë with gold. A pair of figures, painted in grisaille on the side wall, incise their names on a tree trunk, a motif symbolizing eternal love. The fire screen is the earliest recorded work of Vigoureux Duplessis, an artist who was associated with decorative projects for the Paris Opera, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory.
Pair of Fluted Vases (Vases cannele à bandeau) 1770


Pygmalion and Galatea 1763

This statue is very likely the one exhibited by the artist at the Salon of 1763. The subject is taken from the Roman poet Ovid's tale of Pygmalion. Pygmalion is depicted in rapturous amazement at the feet of his love object, a nude sculpture, just at the moment when it is given life by Venus, the goddess of love. It is one of several celebrated works that established Falconet as one of the most influential sculptors of the second half of the 18th century. Falconet was supported by Louis XV's mistress, Mme de Pompadour, through whose influence he was put in charge of sculpture at the Royal Porcelain Manufactory at Sèvres. A version of this sculpture was supplied by the artist as a model for reproduction by the manufacturer in white biscuit porcelain. Although this marble statue shares the same spirit as the painter Boucher's lighthearted and often erotic works, Falconet also created ambitious sculptures noted for their
The harbor scenes on this "bleu nouveau" vases are attributed to J.-L. Morin, a highly productive painter active in Sèvre from 1754-1787.



Urn with Putti

This urn is a cast of one of a pair of lead urns standing in the gardens of the Trianon at Versailles. Although the Versailles urns have traditionally been attributed to the sculptor Robert Le Lorrain (1666-1743), their restrained, late rococo style suggests that they may be by Robert's grandson, Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain, who attended the French Academy in Rome from 1740 to 1748.


Head of Voltaire 1778

In March 1778, just two months before his death, the famed philosopher Voltaire agreed to sit for Houdon. The resulting bust, showing the great philosopher in the antique style, without a wig or any other costume, was considered to be so true to life that people flocked to the sculptor's studio to marvel at the likeness. Houdon was particularly praised for his ability to give the eyes a lively quality by manipulating light and shadow in the deep carving of the pupils. This exceptionally fine bronze version of the marble original, now preserved in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Angers, France, is one of many such casts produced either with or without the master's authorization. Their mass production attests to the popularity of Houdon's original.







Roll-Top Desk Depicting the Chateau of Saint Maur 1770

This form of desk with its counter-weighted receding top became fashionable in 1760, when a similar desk was commissioned for Louis XV. This example is attributed to Teuné, a specialist in such desks who became a master "ébéniste" (cabinetmaker) in 1766. Portrayed in the marquetry of the top is a perspective of the Château de Saint Maur, a residence of the prince of Condé. The château, situated in what is now St. Maur-les-Fosses, was demolished during the French Revolution.


Detail of Roll-Top Desk Depicting the Chateau of Saint Maur 1770

This form of desk with its counter-weighted receding top became fashionable in 1760, when a similar desk was commissioned for Louis XV. This example is attributed to Teuné, a specialist in such desks who became a master "ébéniste" (cabinetmaker) in 1766. Portrayed in the marquetry of the top is a perspective of the Château de Saint Maur, a residence of the prince of Condé. The château, situated in what is now St. Maur-les-Fosses, was demolished during the French Revolution.


Detail of Roll-Top Desk Depicting the Chateau of Saint Maur 1770

This form of desk with its counter-weighted receding top became fashionable in 1760, when a similar desk was commissioned for Louis XV. This example is attributed to Teuné, a specialist in such desks who became a master "ébéniste" (cabinetmaker) in 1766. Portrayed in the marquetry of the top is a perspective of the Château de Saint Maur, a residence of the prince of Condé. The château, situated in what is now St. Maur-les-Fosses, was demolished during the French Revolution.


Landscape with Waterfall and Figures 1768

At the age of twenty Vernet left his native Avignon for a lengthy stay in Rome where he devloped a style of idealized landscape painting derived from the 17th-century classical traditions of Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa. Not until 1762 did he settle in Paris, metting with success there painting marine scenes and "picturesque" views that recalled his Italian sojourn as well as reflected a debt to Dutch landscape painting. His work was admired by wide international clientele. Scenes with cascades of waterfalls loosely based on the famous Italian sites of Tivoli and Terni were painted by Vernet throughout his career, and several are recorded for the year 1768. This handsome painting was commissioned for an 18th-century country house located in Danson Park, England, that was designed by the architect Robert Taylor for the English merchant John Boyd in 1766. Vernet was the leading landscape painter of the 18th century.  


Mantel Clock in the Form of a Lyre 1780-1800

French clockmaking at the time of Louis XVI is unsurpassed in the delicacy and grace of its decoration and in the imagination displayed in its forms. Perhaps the most elegant shape was that of the lyre, derived from the ancient Greek musical instrument. It was introduced as early as 1758 and was employed for important clocks throughout the remainder of the century. The body of this example is of Sèvres porcelain with exceptionally fine, applied, gilt-bronze ornaments. The upper part of the pendulum is formed to represent the strings of the instrument. The dial face is enameled with signs of the zodiac by the distinguished Geneva-born artist Jean Coteau (ca. 1739-1812), and is signed Kinable (active 1780-1825).


Landscape with Fisherman and a Young Woman 1769

Boucher was one of the most widely admired and successful artists in mid 18th-century France, holding the positions of director of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and "First Painter to the King." He was responsible for decorating many of the royal residences, and his art has long been considered synonymous with the French rococo style. This late work has traditionally been considered a pair with Walters 37.839, and the pieces may have belonged to the distinguished 18th-century collector, Jacques-Onésyme Bergeret de Grandcourt. However, there is no obvious connection between the two subjects or between their compositions. It is possible that the artist did not intend the works to be a pair and that a collector or dealer at some point in their history imposed the association.


Pastoral Repast 1769

Boucher was one of the most widely admired and successful artists in mid 18th-century France, holding the positions of director of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and "First Painter to the King." He was responsible for decorating many of the royal residences, and his art has long been considered synonymous with the French rococo style. This late work has traditionally been considered a pair with Walters 37.838, and the pieces may have belonged to the distinguished 18th-century collector, Jacques-Onésyme Bergeret de Grandcourt. However, there is no obvious connection between the two subjects or between their compositions. It is possible that the artist did not intend the works to be a pair and that a collector or dealer at some point in their history imposed the association.


Pastoral Repast 1769

Boucher was one of the most widely admired and successful artists in mid 18th-century France, holding the positions of director of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and "First Painter to the King." He was responsible for decorating many of the royal residences, and his art has long been considered synonymous with the French rococo style. This late work has traditionally been considered a pair with Walters 37.838, and the pieces may have belonged to the distinguished 18th-century collector, Jacques-Onésyme Bergeret de Grandcourt. However, there is no obvious connection between the two subjects or between their compositions. It is possible that the artist did not intend the works to be a pair and that a collector or dealer at some point in their history imposed the association.


Perfumer (Cassolette)

The "marchands-merciers," or purveyors of the arts, frequently determined the course of fashion in 18th-century France. In this instance, a "marchand-mercier" has had a Chinese porcelain figure of the Buddhist monk Pu-tai Ho Shang and a cup mounted in an ormolu bower adorned with Vincennes porcelain flowers. The ormolu is stamped with the crowned "C" mark indicating that it was made between 1745 and 1749.







Pair of Vases 1760

The elephant vases, made in three sizes between 1756 and 1762, are among the rarest and most bizarre forms produced at Sèvres. These examples are distinguished by the pseudo-Oriental, or chinoiserie, scenes painted by Charles-Nicolas Dodin. The artist used as his source engravings representing the senses "Hearing" and "Smell" executed by Gabriel Huquier after paintings by François Boucher. This pair of vases is thought to have been commissioned by Mme. de Pompadour.


Tray 1776

The fanciful Chinese scene was painted by Chauveaux the Younger. Chinoiserie, or pseudo-Oriental compositions, had been popularized by François Boucher.



Pair of Vases 1760

The elephant vases, made in three sizes between 1756 and 1762, are among the rarest and most bizarre forms produced at Sèvres. These examples are distinguished by the pseudo-Oriental, or chinoiserie, scenes painted by Charles-Nicolas Dodin. The artist used as his source engravings representing the senses "Hearing" and "Smell" executed by Gabriel Huquier after paintings by François Boucher. This pair of vases is thought to have been commissioned by Mme. de Pompadour.



A pair of vases 1765

This pair of fountain-shaped vases and a similar pair in the Wallace Collection, London, have been related to a manufactory inventory entry of 1766 for a new model of "vases à jet d'eau" ordered by Louis XV. The ground color is "bleu nouveau." The dolphins may allude to the future Louis XVI becoming the Dauphin, the heir apparent, in 1765.


Potpourri Vase (Vase potpourri à vaisseau) 1764

The harbor scenes showing sailors packing fish are by Jean-Louis Morin (1732-1787).



Pair of Fluted Vases (Vases cannele à bandeau) 1770

The harbor scenes on this "bleu nouveau" vases are attributed to J.-L. Morin, a highly productive painter active in Sèvre from 1754-1787.


Vase (Vase colonne de Paris) 1779 top center

This turquoise, or "bleu celeste," vase bears reserves showing a cavalier scene by Charles Nicolas Dodin.

Vase cassolette Bachelier 1779 bottom center
This vase shows a Flemish cavalier scene painted in the manner of P. Wouwermans (1619-1668) by Charles Nicolas Dodin. The gilding is by Etienne-Henry Le Guay.

 Pair of Vases (Vase à anses carrées) 1773
This form of vase with angular handles hung with laurel garlands was introduced at Sèvres in 1768. The gilded arabesques on the turquoise ground were painted by the gilder M. B. Chauvaux, le père.


Urn Clock 1774

A serpent indicates with its tongue the hours and minutes on the bands revolving around the urn. Clockmaker Jean-André Le Paute began to work for Louis XV in 1751 and eventually made clocks for a number of royal châteaux. This clock demonstrates how Sèvres porcelain plaques were mounted in various furniture forms during the 1770s and 80s. The porcelains bear the date-letter for 1774.


Urn Clock 1774

A serpent indicates with its tongue the hours and minutes on the bands revolving around the urn. Clockmaker Jean-André Le Paute began to work for Louis XV in 1751 and eventually made clocks for a number of royal châteaux. This clock demonstrates how Sèvres porcelain plaques were mounted in various furniture forms during the 1770s and 80s. The porcelains bear the date-letter for 1774.


Urn Clock 1774

A serpent indicates with its tongue the hours and minutes on the bands revolving around the urn. Clockmaker Jean-André Le Paute began to work for Louis XV in 1751 and eventually made clocks for a number of royal châteaux. This clock demonstrates how Sèvres porcelain plaques were mounted in various furniture forms during the 1770s and 80s. The porcelains bear the date-letter for 1774.


Portrait of Louis XVI (1745-93) ca. 1774

This tapestry, reproducing a portrait of the king painted at the time of his coronation by Joseph Duplessis (1774), was presented as a state gift to Prince Henry of Prussia in 1784. It remained in the possession of the reigning family of Germany until 1919. The king wears the grand cordon of the Order of the Holy Spirit and the Order of the Golden Fleece.


Console late 18th century

Adam Weisweiler was one of a number of German furniture-makers who moved to France during the reign of Louis XVI. He was celebrated for his delicate furniture, which was acquired by Queen Marie Antoinette, various members of the Bonaparte family, and by the Prince of Wales. This console, or side table, bears a circular medallion showing a "Sacrifice to Peace" manufactured in England by Josiah Wedgwood and exported to France.


One of a Pair of Potpourri Vases (Vases ovales Mercure) 1770

Unglazed medallions of the Latin god of commerce, Mercury, give these vases their name. On the reverse are medallions of Medusa and Julia, daughter of Emperor Titus, based on ancient carved gems formerly in the collection of Baron Philippe von Stosch. A similar pair of vases, dated 1767, in the Royal Collection of England, bear images of Louis XV and the Empress Marie-Therèse.


One of a Pair of Potpourri Vases (Vases ovales Mercure) 1770

Unglazed medallions of the Latin god of commerce, Mercury, give these vases their name. On the reverse are medallions of Medusa and Julia, daughter of Emperor Titus, based on ancient carved gems formerly in the collection of Baron Philippe von Stosch. A similar pair of vases, dated 1767, in the Royal Collection of England, bear images of Louis XV and the Empress Marie-Therèse.


Statuettes of Venus and Mercury 1770

With the emergence of neoclassicism, Sèvres began to manufacture unglazed porcelain replicas of statuary. Known as biscuit (twice cooked), the ceramic was fired in preparation of the paste and again in the shaping of the pieces. These pieces were based on the works by J.-B Pigalle. The Mercury is modeled after the life-size statue Pigalle made for Frederic II's palace, Sans Souci.


Pair of Vases 1778

Between 1778 and 1782, Sèvres manufactured for Louis XVI a series of vases with handles shaped as busts of infants, young women, and old men, hence the name "vases des âges." The Walters' examples, with the infants and a "bleu nouveau" ground color, bear classical scenes and an additional decoration of "jewels" composed of enamel drops over gold foil. The classical scenes are derived from an illustrated edition of Télémaque, a romance set in antiquity written by Fénélon in 1699. These vases show Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, winning a chariot race and Minerva, disguised as an old man, persuading Telemachus to participate in a war against the Dauniens. These vases were designed by Jacques-François Deparis. The painting was by Antoine Caton, the gilding by Etienne-Henry Le Guay, and the jewels by Philippe Parpette.


One of a Pair of Vases (Vases chinois; vases à pied de globe) 1774

Rendered in tooled gilding on this vase are panels of putti bearing military arms


Pair of Vases 1778

Between 1778 and 1782, Sèvres manufactured for Louis XVI a series of vases with handles shaped as busts of infants, young women, and old men, hence the name "vases des âges." The Walters' examples, with the infants and a "bleu nouveau" ground color, bear classical scenes and an additional decoration of "jewels" composed of enamel drops over gold foil. The classical scenes are derived from an illustrated edition of Télémaque, a romance set in antiquity written by Fénélon in 1699. These vases show Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, winning a chariot race and Minerva, disguised as an old man, persuading Telemachus to participate in a war against the Dauniens. These vases were designed by Jacques-François Deparis. The painting was by Antoine Caton, the gilding by Etienne-Henry Le Guay, and the jewels by Philippe Parpette.


Pair of Vases ca. 1782-1784

This pair of neoclassical vases is distinguished by its superb gilt-bronze, goat shaped mount which is thought to be by Pierre Philippe Thomire, an outstanding sculptor and bronze-caster of the late 18th century. Vases of a similar form, though with different decoration, bearing the date-letters for 1782 were purchased by George IV. The Walters' pair have tentatively been associated with a 1784 inventory reference at the Palace of Versailles.



Allegory of Smell

"The Allegory of Smell" is originally from a series of statuettes representing the personification of the five senses. These statuettes exhibit the masterly sculptural quality of Meissen porcelain between 1733 and 1775 when J. J. Kändler served as a chief modeler.


Allegory of Smell

"The Allegory of Smell" is originally from a series of statuettes representing the personification of the five senses. These statuettes exhibit the masterly sculptural quality of Meissen porcelain between 1733 and 1775 when J. J. Kändler served as a chief modeler.


Allegory of Hearing

"The Allegory of Hearing" is one of a series of five figurative statuettes personifying the five senses. These statuettes exhibit the masterly sculptural qualities of Meissen porcelain which can be attibuted to Johann Joachim Kändler who served as master modeler between 1733 and 1775.


Medallion of Louis XVI 1774

This image of the king, who was also the proprietor of the Sèvres porcelain manufactory, was modeled by Louis-Simon Boizet, director of sculpture at the factory.


Terrine and Platter

Many of the innovations made by Johann Gregorius Heroldt at the Meissen factory between 1720 and ca. 1750, are reflected in this platter and its matching tureen. Typical of this era are the harbor scenes painted in new enamel colors, the large floral motifs, and the distinctive lambrequin patterns of gilding known as "Laub und Bendelwerk." A similar tureen with the identical gilding was illustrated in Koller, Auction Preview, Zurich, March 2008, p. 28. It is dated ca. 1745.


Putti Personifying the Arts and Sciences

Seven putti holding various implements personifying the arts and sciences are mounted amidst flowers on a French rococo gilt-bronze base stamped with a crowned "C," the tax mark for the years 1745 to 1749.


Pair of Vases ca. 1782-1784

This pair of neoclassical vases is distinguished by its superb gilt-bronze, goat shaped mount which is thought to be by Pierre Philippe Thomire, an outstanding sculptor and bronze-caster of the late 18th century. Vases of a similar form, though with different decoration, bearing the date-letters for 1782 were purchased by George IV. The Walters' pair have tentatively been associated with a 1784 inventory reference at the Palace of Versailles.



Pair of Vases ca. 1782-1784

This pair of neoclassical vases is distinguished by its superb gilt-bronze, goat shaped mount which is thought to be by Pierre Philippe Thomire, an outstanding sculptor and bronze-caster of the late 18th century. Vases of a similar form, though with different decoration, bearing the date-letters for 1782 were purchased by George IV. The Walters' pair have tentatively been associated with a 1784 inventory reference at the Palace of Versailles.


The Toilet of Madame 1775

Louis-Simon Boizet provided the model for this statuette based on a print from Jean-Michel Moreau's series, "Les m?urs françaises." Portrayed is a domestic scene from upper-class life.


Two-Handled Vase 1782

This unusual red vase is part of a suite of three that Louis XVI purchased in the Porcelain Dining Room at Versailles in December 1782 for 6,000 livres. The ormolu mounts are attributed to Jean-Claude Duplessis, fils (1730-1783).



Covered Broth Bowl and Stand ca. 1758-1769

The brightly colored scales on this dish are meant to resemble peacock feathers.


Allegory of Sight

"The Allegory of Sight" is originally from a series of statuettes representing the personification of the five senses. These statuettes exhibit the masterly sculptural quality of Meissen porcelain between 1733 and 1775 when J. J. Kändler served as a chief modeler.


Allegory of Touch

"The Allegory of Touch" is originally from a series of statuettes representing the personification of the five senses. These statuettes exhibit the masterly sculptural quality of Meissen porcelain between 1733 and 1775 when J. J. Kändler served as a chief modeler.


5 comments:

  1. No wonder the Walters Museum chose to specialise in the arts of the 18th century. I am not a huge fan of Boucher and Fragonard, but those porcelain vases and clocks are absolutely stunning.

    The dolphin vases, that the 1766 manufactory inventory entry said were ordered by Louis XV, must have cost a fortune.

    I want the c1745 tureen and platter (reflecting Johann Gregorius Heroldt's work at the Meissen factory) for my own collection! Do they have a maker's mark on either or both pieces?

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  2. Hello Andrew,

    What a treat your blog is for me....!!!! To see real and genuine Antiques! Wonderful!

    Thank you for your comment on my post and for being a follower to my blog! Hope that you'll enjoy the future posts....

    Greetings from the Perigord, South-West France,
    Karin

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  3. Hi Helen, Thanks for your comment. The porcelain at the Walters is stunning! I went to the Walters website and even though the site does not say that this Terrine and Platter is marked or not I'm sure it is. The date on it is 1735-1745.

    Hi Karin, I love your blog and can't wait for the time when I can explore it more.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Hello Andrew, I am doing research on 18th-century imitation bas-reliefs and was interested in the painting of what appears to be the Vestal Virgins but which I don't think you have identified (the one you have posted below the Falconet Pygmalion and above the urn). There is a very similar painting (if not this same one) now on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, on loan from a private collection. Did you see this painting at the Walters, or were you bringing it in as a comparison? Thank you so much, Naina

    ReplyDelete