The Collection

  - Covered Baluster Vase
Thrown by Johann Christoph Pietzsch sen.
Decorated in enamel colours and gold by Johann George Heintze, Meissen, 1736–38 
Thrower’s sign “X,” glazed

Covered Baluster Vase Thrown by Johann Christoph Pietzsch sen. Decorated in enamel colours and gold by Johann George Heintze, Meissen, 1736–38 Thrower’s sign “X,” glazed
H. 39.4 cm, D. 20 cm This vase is waisted over the foot ring and has a high cylindrical neck and characteristically baluster-shaped swelling sides. The high-domed cover has a gilded baluster finial and a rim that protrudes over the vase’s mouth.

The front and reverse sides each bear extensive golden cartouches, the upper ends formed into snail-like scroll elements that are joined with a floral garland. The cartouche is crowned with a baldachin in the form of a shell with colourful ostrich feathers; on a console to each side stands a woven basket with a profuse arrangement of flowers in bright hues. The cartouche surround is executed in raised and polished gold articulated with black line drawing, and is composed of gold latticework interspersed with four-lobed florettes, flowering tendrils, and leaf- and shellwork. Certain elements were executed in golden Laub- und Bandelwerk on a translucent black ground, mainly in the area of the upper consoles.
On each side of the vase, furthermore, is a smaller cartouche made up of gold lozenges, acanthus, and shellwork and crowned with a mascaroon with shell-like headgear. The cartouches are shadowed throughout with a translucent purple that was possibly a lustre.
The cartouches on the cover are identical in character but simplified. Running around the edges on both vase and cover are elaborate gilded borders, lacework in the case of the cover and mouth, and foliate at the foot.

The reserves contain exceptionally finely and fluently executed scenes featuring park landscapes, with Watteau figures or Italian coastal views and palaces. The motif of a lute-player giving a singing lesson to a woman sitting next to him holding music was taken from a painting by Antoine ­Watteau (1684–1721) which Jacques-Philippe Lebas (1707–1783) reproduced in an engraving entitled “La game d’amour / amoris diagramma musicum” (published in Jean de Julienne, Graveurs de Watteau au dix-huitième siècle). On the opposite side, a young woman who has been picking fruit is sitting next to a gentleman with a recorder. The lateral reserves with coastal palaces were inspired by engravings executed by Melchior Küsel in Augsburg in 1671 after seventeenth-century drawings by Johann Wilhelm Baur (1607–1640), the depictions used for the present vase being “ARRIUA der Sclavonier zu Venedig” (fol. 32), and “Der Lusthof des Großherzogs von Florenz zu Livorno” (fol. 4).

The shape of the vase was derived directly from a Chinese antecedent; examples of this model are extremely rare. Preserved in the Sammlung Schneider, Schloss Lustheim, is a complete set of such vases made for the royal house of Saxony (“AR” mark for “Augustus Rex”), on the subject of which Rückert wrote as follows: “None of the European manufactories were to produce any vases to compare with the large Meissen vases, especially those from the seventy-thirties, which also represent a unique and outstanding technical achievement, (die großen Meißener Vasen, vor allem die aus den 30er Jahren des 18. Jahrhunderts, fanden in keiner der europäi­schen Porzellanmanufakturen eine vergleichbare Nachfolge, sie stellen auch im technischen einen einzigartigen Höhepunkt dar; Rückert/Willsberger 1977, text to pl. 53).
In addition to the evidence of the typically pure white body and thick glaze with few oxide inclusions, the dating is based on the thrower’s sign of the former Pietzsch (1705–1778), which from 1739 was no longer used in this form.

The paintings may be attributed to Johann Gregorius Höroldt’s best painter Johann Georg Heintze (born 1706/07; see Berling 1900, p. 186) and were executed shortly after the manufacture of the vase. We may assume that only the best and most experienced Meissen painters were given the task of decorating grand vases bearing elaborate scenes and requiring an unusually large outlay of costly materials. Johann George Heintze was certainly one of these. He was taken on as an apprentice painter on June 24, 1720. As this was only shortly after Höroldt’s arrival at the manufactory, he was the master’s first pupil and was allegedly proposed for the position by Höroldt himself. After being released from this apprenticeship, Heintze’s name came at the top of the manufactory list of painters. In 1731, he is recorded as a painter of “fine” figures and landscapes. On July 11, 1739, Andreas Köhler named Tietze und Heintze as Höroldt’s “oldest and best painters” (die ältesten und besten Maler). As early as 1740, Heintze was “pensioned off” (in pension gesetzet) and, thereafter, gave the apprentices instruction in drawing. Later, in 1744, Heintze is recorded as having been transferred to act as supervisor of painting in the “large painting workshop” (grossen Malerstube; Rückert 1990, p. 155).
In contrast to a vase executed around 1738–40 for Louis XV of France and the so-called Christie-Miller Service, both which bear views of Italian palaces very similar to the present ones, the gold borders are not outlined or shadowed in black. Black outlining, however, does appear around the reserves and as internal line drawing in the cartouches, which were given purple shadowing, a rare feature. The painting is executed in the powerful and radiant colours typical of the seventy-thirties, which from the beginning of the seventy-forties, gave way to colour schemes that tended to be more monochrome in character. Particular parallels to the hunting vase for Louis XV are displayed by the mascaroons, with their highly imaginative shell-like headgear.
This covered vase and, in particular, its painting are in an excellent state of preservation. The latter may be regarded as one of the most elaborate and fine examples of its kind and period.

Literature

Berling 1900
Berling, Karl. Das Meissner Porzellan und seine Geschichte. Leipzig, 1900.

Rückert 1990
Rückert, Rainer. Biographische Daten der Meißner Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts. Munich, 1990.

Rückert/Willsberger 1977
Rückert, Rainer, and Johann Willsberger. Meissen. Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts. Vienna, Munich, Zurich, and Innsbruck, 1977.
Literature: Berling 1900, p. 186; Rückert/Willsberger 1977, pl. 53; Rückert 1990, p. 155

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