The Extravagance Factory
Meissen and Chantilly porcelain
For the first time, a major exhibition will explore the dialogue between two productions that marked the decorative arts during the Age of Enlightenment. Presented in the prestigious large suites of the château which also date from the 18th century and enhanced by a spectacular setting designed by Peter Marino, this exhibition will be an opportunity to admire pieces of a rarely achieved technical skill and luxury, combined with the gaiety of the century of art de vivre.
The rarity and exoticism of their shapes anddecoration, the translucent quality and purity of their white colour, made porcelain among the most sought-after objects during the first half of the 18th-century. The importing of porcelain from China then from Japan, mostly by the Dutch East India Company, meant that Asian productions filled the boutiques of marchands merciers and collectors’ cabinets.
This was the case in both Dresden and Chantilly, where our two prince collectors resided. The exhibition will display a selection of the most beautiful examples of Asian porcelain acquired by Augustus the Strong that are still kept in Dresden. And, for the first time, some of the most important Chinese and Japanese porcelain pieces which were at Chantilly until the French Revolution will return to the château, to the very place where the Prince of Condé had displayed them so tastefully!
The aesthetic developed at Meissen and Chantilly resolutely pointed towards the Far East: these manufactories played a prominent role in the development of Chinoiserie in the decorative arts. As an exotic material par excellence, porcelain was one of the main vectors of this style. Both at Chantilly and Meissen, strong reference was made to Japanese productions of the Kakiemon style, with their stylised Japanese motifs, arranged without any symmetry or perspective, highlighting the porcelain’s whiteness.
The exhibition will linger on these continual exchanges with Asian models and on the dialogue between productions from Chantilly and Meissen but also on the creativity of these two manufactories who relied on books of designs. An array of laughing pagodas, these highly exotic statuettes inspired by paunchy Buddhas, will invite the visitor to discover a fantasy China as an 18th-century connoisseur.
Animals were not to be outdone: porcelain monkeys will return to the monkey room while a menagerie of extraordinary porcelain aviaries will surprise and arouse wonder in visitors.
From 5 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
Location: the large suites in the château de Chantilly
Ticket Prices: Exhibition included in the Domain ticket without supplement