Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM)


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Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM)

A Set of Three Important Berlin Porcelain Plaques by Hermann Prell

Germany, Circa 1900

REF No. B76150-1, B76680

Impressed Sceptre and KPM mark. Each Signed 'Prof. H. Prell von L. Scherf'

description

A Set of Three Important Berlin K.P.M Porcelain Plaques
Emblematic of Spring, Summer and Winter, Germany, Circa 1900

Spring: The earth goddess Gerda sleeps in the ice. The sun god is asked by the Valkyries to free her to life.  Impressed Sceptre and KPM mark. Signed in the lower left corner 'Copiert nach Prof. H. Prell von L. Scherf, the reverse inscribed in blue 'Frühling' nach Prof. H. Prell'.
Approximate Dimensions: 62.2 x 49 cm (191⁄4 x 241⁄2 in.), overall

Summer: Depicting the sun God's fight against the winter giants.  Impressed Sceptre and KPM mark. signed and dated in the lower left corner 'Copiert nach Prof. H. Prell von L. Scherf 1899', the reverse inscribed in blue 'Sommer' nach Prof. H. Prell'.
Approximate Dimensions: 53.5 x 114.5 cm. (211⁄8 x 451⁄8 inches), overall

Winter: Depicts the death of the sun god in autumn/winter.  Impressed Sceptre and KPM mark. Signed in the lower left corner 'Copiert nach Prof. H. Prell von L. Scherf, the reverse inscribed in blue 'Winter' nach Prof. H. Prell'.
Approximate Dimensions: 50.7 x 85 (20 x 331⁄2 inches), overall

The three scenes to these porcelain plaques are taking from original murals painted by the German artist Hermann Prell (1854-1922), for the throne room of the then Prussian Embassy in Rome, the Palazzo Caffarelli. Prell was one of the most sought after artists for large murals such as these in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His mythological motifs were particularly popular in the Wilhelmine Empire.

Hermann Prell was commissioned to design the murals for the throne room of the German Embassy in Rome by Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941). The Prussian Embassy to the Italian government moved after 1870 to the Palazzo Caffarelli, a 16th-century late Renaissance palace that rose above the remains of the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill.

Wilhelm first visited Rome in 1888 and in accordance with diplomatic custom, thrones were set up for the reception he gave in the Embassy's ballroom, and in 1894 the Emperor commissioned Hermann Prell to design a permanent throne room at the Palazzo Cafarelli. For the design Prell notes that ‘the Kaiser indicated from the start that he wanted something distinctly German’. For the murals in the Palazzo Caffarelli, Prell decided to use the seasons as his inspiration, integrated with various characters and motifs from Norse mythology taken from the Medieval text, The Edda. Prell, born in Leipzig in 1854, initially studied in Dresden: ‘the moods I felt at that time have been revived and finally expressed in the murals of the Palazzo Caffarelli after many years, albeit in completely different scenes’.

Prell painted three murals for the throne room, each representing a season; Winter, Spring and Summer. Interestingly, there was no mural for Autumn. The lack of an Autumn mural may be because historically Germany did not separate Autumn and Winter as two separate seasons, leaving only three seasons a year.

In 1918 at the end of the First World War, the Palazzo Cafarelli was confiscated from the Germans by the Italians and the murals were returned to Berlin. The throne room was then subsequently destroyed. Once returned to Berlin, the murals were kept in the cellars of the Foreign Ministry on Wilhelmstrasse along with other works also returned from the Palazzo, until a decision could be made as to where to display them in order to make them accessible to the wider public. Unfortunately, no decision was made, and the murals, still in the cellar, were destroyed in 1945.

The original mural designs are held at the Museen der Stadt, Dresden:
Spring: museum no. 1989/k 240.
museum no. 1989/k 237.
Winter: museum no. 1988/k 75.
 

maker

Founded in Berlin in 1750 KPM or Koenigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur acquired its name and Royal patronage when the Prussian king, Frederick the Great, purchased the manufactory in 1760.
Its distinguished trademark from then on became the royal blue sceptre, which is stamped (painted prior to 1837) on every piece. All painted pieces produced by KPM are signed by the painter.
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 embued with a luminous beauty through the translucent quality of the porcelain.
KPM porcelain represented the height of technical and artistic achievement during this period and large plaques particularly signed examples have become rare and highly sought after.

literature

Franz Hermann Meissner, Hermann Prells Wandgemälde im Thronsaale der Deutschen Botschaft zu Rom, Palazzo Caffarelli: ausgeführt im Auftrage seiner Majestät Kaiser Wilhelm II. 1899.
 

Provenance

Private European Family since it was acquired at the time of manufacture.

Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM)

A Set of Three Important Berlin Porcelain Plaques by Hermann Prell







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