To describe this composition merely as a vase would be sacrilege. Instead, the Chinese lady’s delicate, narrow face, the artfully coiffed hair, the graceful posture and the drape of her robes reveal that the creator of this group of Chinese figures must have been a master craftsman. Conrad Linck was indeed one of the foremost model makers of his time. Many of his pieces, which he also designed for Porzellan Manufaktur Frankenthal, are still produced to this day in Nymphenburg.
It is hard to believe that the creator of this lavishly designed elephant vase did not become rich and famous. So finely and accurately drawn are the two animal heads complete with trunks and tusks on both sides of this four-sided vase. The base of the 35-centimetre-high vessel is covered with a relief resembling chestnut foliage. Ludwig Tischler only worked at Manufaktur Nymphenburg for three years, but during this time he created masterpieces of the highest order.
From terrifying monsters to irresistible beauties, man has devised all sorts of creatures that might arise from lakes or oceans. In Ludig Tischler’s world, it was a small mermaid in 1899 that made the breakthrough – for herself and the porcelain model maker alike. Seated astride a dolphin, she pierces the crests of the wave to adorn our tables. Growing from a flat relief into a fully formed sculpture, the idyllic ocean setting with the figure of the naked maiden comes to dominate the egg-shaped vase while being in complete harmony with the vessel's shape.
As a visionary, during his tenure as Manufaktur Nymphenburg’s director, Albert Bäuml was forever fetching famous artists to Nördliches Schlossrondell. From 1905 onwards, he put his faith in Adelbert Niemeyer, one of the most important proponents of art nouveau, even allowing him to set up his own studio in one of the pavilions. This cylindrical vase is one of Niemeyer’s most influential designs. A wide, reddish purple cube motif frieze runs round the upper edge while additional gold ornaments extend as far as the small feet.
Adelbert Niemeyer was a man of many talents. As a painter, architect and designer he was a co-founder of the German workshops and of the German Werkbund. Albert Bäuml, then the director of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, was so fascinated by the charisma of his designs that he even allowed Niemeyer to set up his own studio. The studio created models such as this handled vase, first exhibited in 1907, entwined with a fine garland mesh of violet and gold foliage.
As one of the most important proponents of Munich art nouveau, Adelbert Niemeyer worked as a teacher, painter, architect, industrial and furniture designer or arranger of large-scale Munich city festivals – in other words, in every area of spatial art. From 1905 onwards he also created numerous vases and services for Manufaktur Nymphenburg. One of his best-known pieces, which is produced unchanged to this very day, is this 25-centimetre-high vase with lid. It is decorated with deep bramble-red twigs edged with black berries.
True greatness is not necessarily measured in centimetres. That is illustrated by this richly decorated mini amphora with pedestal dating from the 18th century. Barely 15 centimetres tall, the piece is decorated with two rams’ heads and a relief of acanthus leaves. But what transforms the porcelain masterpiece into an eye catcher is the hand-applied blue and gold decoration dating back to the painting of the Bavarian royal service.