Meissen Mandarin Duck Max Esser Art Deco


Rare Meissen Model

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    Chinese Mandarin Duck

    From our Ceramics collection, we are delighted to offer this Meissen Mandarin Duck Modelled by Max Esser. The Meissen Mandarin Duck beautifully sculpted in natural style with brightly accented plumage picked out in shades of iron red, black, green and purple. The Duck stands upon a circular mound moulded with grass stems and is embossed Messer into the porcelain. The underside bears the crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue, incised model number 196n, 77244, R and the painters numeral 2808 in red. The Meissen Mandarin Duck dates to the first half of the 20th century Art Deco period circa 1925 and is a rare model of its kind modelled by Professor Max Esser.

    Max Esser (1885-1945) was a German sculptor and medalist born in 1885 in Barth. Esser attended the teaching institute of the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin and the Berlin Art Academy in 1900-03. He studied under August Gaul, and later became his son-in-law. In 1906 Max began regular Exhibitions at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition. From 1908 he was an employee in the Schwarzburg workshops for porcelain art in Unterweißbach. From 1920 he was based in Meissen, where he was employed at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory from 1920 to 1931, including from 1924 as head of a master studio. Later he made porcelain models for Hutschenreuther, KPM Berlin and Rosenthal. The Mandarin Duck has long been considered one of Esser’s greatest sculptures in porcelain: a Meissen catalogue of 1937 described it as the continuation of a great tradition, and Dr. Hermann Jedding has called it Esser’s ‘crowning work’ (quoted in Eberle 2003, p.20).

    Meissen porcelain was the first European hard-paste porcelain. Early experiments were done in 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger continued von Tschirnhaus’s work and brought this type of porcelain to the market which was financed by Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. The production of porcelain in the royal factory at Meissen, near Dresden, Germany started in 1710. The factory attracted artists and artisans to establish their work which has become arguably the most famous porcelain manufacturer in the world. The Meissen signature and logo consists of a crossed swords mark which was introduced in 1720 to protect its production. Interestingly the mark of the crossed swords is known as one of the oldest trademarks in existence today. Dresden porcelain was once the usual term for these wares until in 1975 when the Higher Munich State Court (Oberlandesgericht) decided in favour of the Saxon Porcelain Manufactory Dresden. It was then that Dresden Porcelain was allowed sole use of the name (Dresden porcelain ceased production in 2020).

    Meissen remained the dominant European porcelain factory throughout the first half of the 18th century, it was the leader of stylistic innovation in porcelain wares until it was briefly overtaken by the new styles introduced by the French Sèvres factory in the 1760s. Among the developments pioneered by Meissen are the porcelain figurines, and the introduction of European decorative styles to replace the imitation of Asian decoration of its earliest wares. Since 1991, the manufactory has been operating as the Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH, whose owner is the Free State of Saxony. The company is one of the world’s leading porcelain manufacturers and one of the oldest and most internationally known German luxury brands in existence.

    Porcelain is vitrified pottery (glass-like) with a white, fine-grained body that is usually translucent, which differs from earthenware as it is porous, opaque, and far coarser.

    Measurements 21cm High x 23cm Long x 12.5 Wide (8.3 x 9 x 4.9 Inches)

    Condition Excellent, no damage and no restoration.

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