The Meissen Porcelain Birds of Johann Joachim Kändler
Distributed for Hirmer Publishers
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.