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Distributed for Hirmer Publishers

Cabinet Pieces

The Meissen Porcelain Birds of Johann Joachim Kändler

The Meissen figures, groups, animals and birds of the first half of the eighteenth century constitute not only a unique chapter in European ceramics but also a multi-faceted portrait of a society marked by humour, tolerance, scientific curiosity, and interest in all fields of art.  Amongst the most original and beautiful artistic creations of this period are the porcelain birds modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler.

The present volume is the first comprehensive survey of more than one hundred porcelain birds by Johann Joachim Kändler (1706–1775). This prolific sculptor created the models for all of these figures during the twenty-year period from his entry into service at the manufactory in 1731 up until 1750. The vast majority of these rare and magnificently coloured masterpieces were inspired by the observation of live specimens and are still unparalleled today.

A total of 115 bird figures are published here along with the latest research findings and a wealth of historical cross-references and background. In some cases, the provenance of the figures can be traced back to the original royal collections or to those of the Rothschilds, Ole Olsen, and others. Without exception, all the present pieces now form part of European private collections.

The original German-language publication was the catalogue of the exhibition Kabinettstücke – Die Meißener Porzellanvögel von Johann Joachim Kändler 1706 –1775 (Munich, October 20 to November 18, 2006), in which the general public enjoyed an exceptional opportunity to see these masterpieces from private collections gathered together under one roof.

264 pages | 214 color plates | 9 3/4 x 11 1/4 | © 2008

Art: European Art

Biological Sciences: Natural History

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Table of Contents

Scholarly essays
Cabinet Pieces
     Gerhard Röbbig
Master of Porcelain Sculpture: Johann Joachim Kändler
     Ulrich Pietsch
Sculpture and Painting: Johann Joachim Kändler, Johann Gregorius Höroldt
     Gerhard Röbbig
Historic Patrons and Collectors: Augustus the Strong, August III
     Gerhard Röbbig
Historic Collectors: Clemens August
     Daniela Antonin
Historic Collectors: Frederick the Great
     Gerhard Röbbig
Porcelain Birds by Johann Joachim Kändler in the Dresden Porcelain Collection
     Ulrich Pietsch
The Height of Luxury: Ormolu mounts and porcelain flowers
     Julia Weber
Bird Motifs on Meissen Wares and Groups
     Alfred Ziffer

Section with illustrations from catalogue
Royal Orders: The birds of the early period
     Gerhard Röbbig
Colourful Treasures: The Parrots   
     Michael Röbbig
Fantasy and Nature: The birds in contemporary documentary sources
     Alfred Ziffer
Service à la française
Alfred Ziffer
Good Fortune from China
     Alfred Ziffer
Trompe-l’œil birds
     Alfred Ziffer
Chaste restraint or sensual liberation: The Birdcage 
     Gerhard Röbbig
"Cabinetstücklein als Figürlein"
    Alfred Ziffer
Joseph’s Owl
     Alfred Ziffer
Saxony and France
     Alfred Ziffer

Gerhard Röbbig, Daniela Antonin, and Alfred Ziffer

Photographic Credits  

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