MAIOLICA & PORCELAINE
Hard porcelain bear modeled and painted in gray-brown and black
Manufacture of Meissen, probably by Johan Joachim Kaendler, 1740 circa
It measures: 2.79 x 3.81 x 2.48 in (7.1 x 9.7 x 6.3 cm)
State of conservation: a glued paw.
Meissen porcelain has dominated the European market ever since it was initially produced. The German manufacturer was the first to produce porcelain in Europe and already had a stable production starting from the second decade of the XVIII century. Prince Augustus the Strong of Saxony, in fact, a great enthusiast, invested a lot of capital and energy in the pursuit of the precious material. Under the very same Augustus, some of the greatest sculptors and artists of the late Baroque period were called upon to participate in the enterprise. Among these was Johan Joachim Kaendler (1706–1775), who was particularly known for both delightful animal figures and an imaginative and very broad production of figures and characters.
The small hard porcelain sculpture shows a seated bear with its head lowered towards its legs. The plantigrade has a docile attitude and looks at the viewer from below. The small figure was made according to the characteristic style and technique of Kaendler, with its hair highlighted by minute incisions and then painted with thin brush strokes intersecting on the snout, and then falling neatly down the back, starting from the vertebrae. The decorative coloring does not cover a portion of hair on the belly and half of the legs, but the feet are indeed colored by large brushstrokes.
The best-known Meissen model of this animal provides the standing posture with the head lowered and the jaws open. There are few pieces which bear the brand of crossed swords under the paw and these marks are indeed absent in our copy. Despite this, ours is completely original, and this statement finds technical and stylistic confirmation in other works with the mark and in particular in published examples (Ulrich Pietsch, Meissen Porzellanplastik von Gottlieb Kirchner und Johan Johachim Kaendler, Monaco 2006 pp. 148-149 n. 218).
Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari