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Miniature World in White Gold

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Miniature World in White Gold: Meissen Porcelain by Johann Joachim Kaendler
January 16, 2016 – January 16, 2017

Johann Joachim Kaendler was one of the most visionary artists in the history of porcelain, creating more than 2,000 models over the course of his career and consistently testing the limits of porcelain as an artistic medium. Kaendler was one of the first artists to use porcelain as a sculpting material rather than as a surface for painted decoration. His designs and figures, more detailed and realistic than any earlier creations, were essential for the development of porcelain as an independent art form in Europe.

Miniature World in White Gold showcased a broad selection of the finely detailed and innovative porcelain sculptures Kaendler designed over his 44 years at the Meissen Porcelain Factory in Germany, and featured examples of his animals, crinoline figures, exotic representations, and court and peasant figures.

The formula for hard-paste porcelain, which originated in China centuries earlier, was not discovered in Europe until the early 18th century—only decades before Kaendler became a modeler at Meissen. The material was as valuable as gold during his lifetime (1706-1775), when dinner services and figurines were commissioned by aristocrats to ornament extravagant banquet and dining tables. While they initially served as table decoration and conversation pieces, porcelain figures soon became collectibles themselves and were displayed in cabinets as independent artworks.

Vanessa Sigalas, Dangremond Research Fellow for European Art and Decorative Arts, organized the exhibition.

Press
The Boston Globe, Jan. 21, Porcelain mastery is in delicate details by Sebastian Smee