Object Description

Liebesgeheimniss (Love’s Secret) – An Exceptional Vienna Porcelain Charger Mounted in a Rectangular Gilt-Bronze and Zsolnay Pécs Tile Frame, By Franz Wagner, After The Painting By Gabriel Von Max.

Signed lower left ‘F. Wagner Wien’.
Titled in script to the reverse ‘Gabriel Max / Liebesgeheimniss’ and impressed with ’00’.
Underglaze blue Beehive mark to the reverse.

This exceptional charger is finely painted by Franz Wagner with a charming scene of a cherub whispering in the ear of a beautiful maiden in a pastoral setting, after the celebrated painting by Gabriel Von Max (1884). The charger is set within a very fine gilt bronze and Zsolnay Pécs ceramic tile frame, imitating cloisonné.

The complicated and exacting process of painting on porcelain became very popular in the mid to late nineteenth century. Drawing inspiration from old master portraits and genre scenes, artists were able to achieve incredible images imbued with a luminous beauty through the translucent quality of the porcelain.

Franz Wagner was a member of the famous Wagner family of porcelain painters working from Starhemberggasse in Vienna in the late nineteenth century. They were particularly noted for their fine detail and historicist portraits after famous artists such as Asti and Delaroche.

Diameter of charger 24 inches.

Object History

The Vienna Porcelain Manufactory was founded in 1718 only eight years after Johann Friedrich Bottger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus had succeeded in unearthing the secret of Porcelain Manufacture for August the Strong, Elector of Saxony. On May 25, 1718, Emperor Karl VI signed a “special privilege” awarding Claudius Innocentius du Paquier the exclusive right to produce porcelain in the Austrian crown lands. Production being almost exclusively for the imperial household and the court nobility.

During the rococo era, Empress Maria Theresia placed the company under imperial ownership and it was during this period that the manufactory began to produce the famous rococo genre scenes after Watteau. Under the management of Conrad Sorgel von Sorgenthal, the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory achieved an international reputation for its neo-classical style.

After the wars with France brought the manufactory to the brink of ruin, the Vienna Congress at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century gave porcelain from Vienna a renewed upswing. Many important personalities of the time, including Czar Alexander I of Russia and the King of Prussia, were guests of the manufactory and porcelain from Vienna became highly regarded once again.

Object Classification

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