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Grotesque vase

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A vase, standing 28 1/2" high, with an ovoid body with a curved and turned over lip, forming the lower protruding lip of a dolphin head which terminates in the upright loop handle, the base of the handle molded with acanthus scrolls, the whole vase harnessed to the back of a grotesque man, the...

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Between 1730 and 1736, commissioned by Augustus II (b. 1670 – d. 1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and his successor, Augustus III (b. 1696 – d. 1763), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, for the Japanese Palace in Dresden [see note 1]. Borghese collection, Rome [see note 2]. By 1902, Stefano Bardini (b. 1836 - d. 1922), Florence; May 26, 1902, Bardini sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 500, for £85. William Randolph Hearst (b. 1863 - d. 1951), New York and Los Angeles. June 15, 1965, anonymous sale ("property of a gentleman"), Sotheby's, London, lot 131, to L. Hermann for $2800. By 1993, Edward M. Pflueger (b. 1905 - d. 1997) and Kiyi Powers Pflueger (b. 1915 - d. 2008), New York; 2000, bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 20, 2000) NOTES: [1] Augustus II (“the Strong”) began building the Japanese Palace in Dresden in 1925 and commissioned more than 35,000 porcelain works from the nearby Meissen porcelain factory to furnish his "porcelain palace." The original collection featured more than 500 large bird and animal figures; among these were 37 animal species and 32 bird species. Augustus II died in 1733 and his son Augustus III took over the project. The Japanese Palace became a museum and library after the death of Augustus III, and parts of the collection were sold and traded in the 18th and 19th centuries. [2] According to the 1902 Bardini auction catalogue, the ewer is "from the palace of the Prince Borghese, at Rome." At the time of the sale it was believed to be 16th century Medici Faience.

Credit Line

Kiyi and Edward M. Pflueger Collection. Bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and Gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger, Frank B. Bemis Fund, William Francis Warden Fund, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, and Frederick L. Jack Fund

German, About 1730–31

Object Place

Meissen, Germany


Overall (height with base): 72.4 cm (28 1/2 in.) Weight (estimated): 45 lb. (20.41 kg)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Hard-paste porcelain




Ceramics, Porcelain