Reviews - What do customers think about Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, The: 1710-1750?
Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710-1750 Aug 19, 2008
This book is destined to become the definitive work on the subject of the first forty years of the production of the Meissen porcelain factory, and already is considered an essential addition to the library of any serious scholar, collector, curator, cataloguer or other professional in the field of ceramics. The superb research by the renowned Meissen scholar, Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, is complemented by the stunning photography and by the two excellent accompanying essays by Sebastian Kuhn on "Collecting Culture: The Taste for Eighteenth-Century German Porcelain," and by Heike Biedermann on "The Heinrich and Lisa Arnhold Collection in Dresden," which give historical context, personality and readability to what otherwise might be considered a slightly impenetrable subject. From every aspect, this large and beautifully produced book is a treasure and well worth its slightly indigestible price.
milestone work on Meissen porcelain Jun 4, 2008
This work is one of those rare works that is exceptionally visual appealing, exceptionally informative, and exceptionally useful. These qualities of interest to art historians, researchers, antique dealers, and collectors of porcelain in general or Meissen porcelain in particular are seamlessly interwoven by skilled, experienced editing and book design.
For example, as insets with many of the full-page color photographs of close to 400 highest-quality Meissen pieces are color photos of the maker's mark on the bottom of the respective piece. These smaller photos about the size of a snapshot are placed below the much larger photograph of the individual piece so as not to interfere with appreciation and study of it, but also to be readily available for collectors and researchers and such wanting to go into aspects of the porcelain piece in depth.
Makers' marks are not an unusual part of many antiques' books. But these are typically put in an appendix as a list with accompanying black-and-white photographs or facsimiles of signatures or symbols. So in most antiques' books, ones interested in the marks have to flip back and forth between individual pieces and the section on the maker's marks matching pieces with mark. The matching of piece and mark in this "Meissen Porcelain" seems so natural and useful, one wonders why the format is not found in all antiques books. But this is just one example of the publisher's awareness of the special appreciation knowledgeable collectors have for the Meissen porcelain and the publisher's intention and ability to do a distinctive work which is definitive on its relatively narrow, yet fundamental topic; record a major and historically important Meissen collection should it ever be broken up (as all others were in the turmoil of World War II for example); and to some extent revive interest in the top level of Meissen porcelain.
In addition to the thoughtful, unconventional formatting in places, there are also sections with sorts of material not usually found with antiques books no matter what their quality or ambitions. This material variously fills in on the fundamentals of Meissen porcelain of the period dealt with and casts light on aspects of the subject. One such section is a transcription of Lisa Arnhold's handwritten inventory of her and her husband's 262 Meissen pieces before the family moved to Zurich in 1937. Another section included for the sake of both thoroughness in keeping with the ambitions for the book and as unique material of interest to collectors and scholars is an essay on "Collecting Culture: The Taste for Eighteenth-Century German Porcelain" by Sebastian Kuhn, a former Sotheby's expert on European ceramics and glass. The primary author Cassidy-Geiger is Curator of the Arnhold Collection in New York. Heike Biedermann, who writes about the Arnhold collection in Dresden, is the curator of a leading Dresden gallery for porcelain and related items. Henry Arnhold, son of the original collectors, writes an introductory essay on the acquisition, integrity, and movement of the collection between Europe and the United States.
The focus of this study is the Arnhold collection which remained intact during World War II by being shipped to the United States; where over the years parts have been loaned to different museums for exhibitions, most recently the Frick Museum in New York City. The Arnhold family was a wealthy banking family in Dresden that put their collection together in the 1920s and '30s in response to advances in scholarship, public exhibitions, activity in the auction market, and interest among collectors and museums in acquiring Meissen porcelain.
The content is an interrelated combination of scholarly, historical, educational, and personal material which gives the subject area a wholeness and provides unique perspectives on it. The centerpiece of the voluminous work--literally its central part surrounded by the supporting parts--is the catalog of about 400 Meissen pieces. In addition to the maker's marks photos and the references (including provenance), there are one or more photographs of details of a piece supplementing the main photograph of the whole of it.
Book collectors and persons in the antiques field will recognize the book as a collector's item in its own right. Not only will it be recognized as a consummate example of book art and production, but also will be recognized as a sound investment. For the work offers guidance for collecting strategies for serious collectors and for purchases of the most valuable Meissen pieces. And the book itself, like similar unique books on other collecting topics, will in all probability only go up in value as a peerless, notable work which is a milestone in the documentation, visual record, and study of Meissen porcelain.