Beaker

German
about 1730–35
Made at Meissen Manufactory (Germany)


Object Place: Europe, Germany

Dimensions

13.2 cm (5 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

1983.611

Medium or Technique

Hard-paste porcelain and enamel decoration

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Porcelain

The thistle-shaped beaker has a thrown upper section that tapers to a low waist and then swells to form a molded, octagonal lower section, which is supported by a circular foot. Below a band of gilt scrollwork that encircles the rim of the beaker are two cartouches framed in Laub- und Bandelwerk in gold, iron-red, and puce, incorporating areas of Böttger luster. These two cartouches are joined by two much smaller cartouches that contain ovals painted in puce enclosing Chinese figures. Elaborate framework in iron-red surrounds each oval, from which a puce mask with a yellow crow depends. The two primary cartouches contain harbor scenes in which men in coats of puce or iron-red converse in groups amongst barrels and bales of merchandise. In both scenes, a ship painted in brown is seen in the middle distance, and clusters of buildings are on the right and left; the distant landscape is painted in puce and green, and the clouded sky is gray-blue and orange. The eight oval panels of the octagonal lower section of the beaker are reserved on a gold ground and are painted in puce monochrome. Each oval depicts men in both European and oriental costume standing beside merchandise in an abbreviated harbor scene wiith a ship in the middle distance; clouds and birds are seen above. The unglazed inside rim has been gilded. The cover is lacking.

Markings

(1) on base, in underglaze blue: crossed swords; in gold: 1

Provenance

Fritz Mannheimer (b. 1890 - d. 1939), Amsterdam; 1934, transferred to the Artistic and General Securities Company, Ltd., for Mendelssohn and Co. bank [see note 1]; 1944, sold by the creditors of Mendelssohn bank to Hans Posse for Adolf Hitler [see note 2] and taken to Alt Aussee [see note 3]; June 29, 1945, shipped by Allied forces to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 1616/9); March 7, 1946, returned to the Netherlands [see note 4]; October 15, 1952, Mannheimer sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, lot 325. 1983, Rita and Frits Markus, New York; 1983, year-end gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 18, 1984)

NOTES:
[1] In 1934 Mannheimer's entire art collection was transferred to the Artistic and General Securities Company, Ltd., for Mendelssohn bank, to which he owed a considerable debt, and the bank lent the collection back to Mannheimer. Since he continued to collect works of art, the debt against him grew significantly until 1939, the year of his death.

[2] Due to its own financial difficulties, Mendelssohn bank closed its doors in 1939. Mannheimer's estate was to be sold to pay the debts owed the Dutch state. On the sale to Hitler, see Lynn H. Nicholas, "The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War" (New York: Knopf, 1994), 113-114.

[3] Many works of art stored elsewhere by the Nazis were moved to the abandoned salt mines of Alt Aussee in Austria, to be kept safe from wartime bombing.

[4] Allied troops recovered the artwork at the end of World War II and established collecting points where the art could be identified for restitution to its rightful owners. This beaker came to the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee (no. 1415/9), and was numbered 1616/9. The Munich Central Collecting Point inventory card is held by the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (Property Card 1616/9; National Archives Record Group 260, Microfilm M1946).

[5] Following World War II, art objects that had been sold to the Nazi agency were considered confiscated property and were restituted to their countries of origin for return to their former owners. However, objects from the Mannheimer collection had been sold to benefit the Dutch state, that is, to settle the debts of Mendelssohn bank. For this reason they were not returned to Fritz Mannheimer's widow, but were sold at auction for the profit of the Dutch state. See Nicholas (as above, n. 2), p. 422. Both the Artistic General Securities Company, Ltd., and the curator of the Mannheimer collection, who represented the creditors of the bank, agreed not to make claims for the restitution of rights to the works of art.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus