The invention of European porcelain by Johann Friedrich Böttger on the basis of the experiments of Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus 1708 was of great importance for the history of human evolution. The porcelain manufactory Meissen®, founded in 1710 by King August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, is the first porcelain manufactory in Europe and is leading for a long time in the 18th century. She set the standards and created the prototypes for the European table culture and figurative sculpture. In addition to the extensive production of services and luxury porcelains for the needs of the Dresden court countless figures and groups were modeled.

Böttger's achievement was above all to have won various artists and craftspeople for the design of his products along with the organization of the manufacturing process of stoneware and porcelain in the manufactory. The first major artistic personalities of the manufactory were the goldsmith Johann Jacob Irminger and the sculptors Balthasar Permoser and Benjamin Thomae. Instead of imitating Chinese role models, new models have now been produced in European style. The ornaments and relief pads are similar to the style of simultaneously driven silver work. Glazes, grinding, polishing, painting and gilding provided a variety of decoration to the Böttgersteinzeug.

In 1720 the porcelain painter Johann Gregorius Höroldt came to the porcelain manufactory Meissen®. He is considered the creator of European porcelain painting. Until 1731 he succeeded in the development of 16 different colors. Höroldt invented the Chinoiserie, Kauffahrteiszenen and countless other decors. The initially mostly simple, smooth-walled vessels were decorated with scenes that were captured by curly wide gold frames from Bandelwerk. One of Höroldt's best employees was the painter Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck, who, with his powerful coloring and naive-narrative depiction, clearly stood out from the rest of the Höroldt workshop.

The early figures and vessels were mostly made by the former George Fritsche since the manufactory had no modeller until 1727. The sculptor Johann Gottlieb Kirchner was the first porcelain modeller of the manufactory from 1727 until 1733. His main work are the often life-size animal figures for the Japanese Palace.

Artist of the early days:

Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719)
Johann Jacob Irminger (1635-1724)
Balthasar Permoser (1651-1732)
Johann Benjamin Thomae (1682-1751)
Georg Fritzsche (1697-1756)
Johann Gottlieb Kirchner (1706-1768)
Johann Gregorius Höroldt (1696-1775)
Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck (1714-1754)


Since 1731, his successor Johann Joachim Kaendler has for a generation determined the development of European tableware and figurine sculpture. As a trained sculptor, he developed an almost passionate enthusiasm for the new material porcelain and began to fully exploit the possibilities and limitations of the material. He systematized the entire range of dishes using a uniform design principle. With the use forms he created, he created an extensive range of forms that spread throughout Europe. In addition, he modeled life-size animal sculptures and small porcelain figurines for the courtly panels, fireplaces, consoles and dressers. He immortalized in these figures the entire court society, fools, beggars, pilgrims, comedians, artisans, peasants, shepherds, gardeners, hunters and soldiers, Parisian and London callers, miners, Japanese and other folk types, gods of ancient mythology and saints. Allegories, cupids and figures of the monkey band enriched the repertoire.

In 1735, the sculptor and modeler Johann Friedrich Eberlein was hired as a loyal employee of Kaendler. He created several figures and the relief borders to various services. He was succeeded by Johann Gottlieb Ehder who worked mainly as an assistant of Kaendler. Peter Reinicke was from 1743 at the manufactory and was used as an employee especially in figure series, but also independently created various own models. From 1746-1761 Friedrich Elias Meyer worked in Meissen®. His models are characterized by slim proportions and small heads. When his successor Carl Christoph Punct came to the manufactory, he created mostly groups of children with elongated faces and a high forehead.

The picturesque decoration was influenced by Johann Gregorius Höroldt.The ground colour porcelain was introduced in Meissen from 1725 until 1730. In the same period numerous imitations of East Asian decors were made. Already after 1735 German flowers displaced the Chinoiserien and Japanese decors. The reserves of the ground coloour porcelain now also filled landscapes, hunting displays, rider battles, Tenier farmers and Watteau scenes. From about 1765, the French influence increasingly asserted itself in Meissen. The ground colour  porcelain with etched gold decor as a setting for cupids and children's groups, mythological scenes and birds became popular.


Kaendler has been the brilliant genius of the porcelain genre, which created a perfect harmony between vessels and plastic decoration. His services are among the icons of porcelain art such as the swan service and the snowball blossom service. He also left a legacy of inimitable sculptures worldwide. The figures of Johann Joachim Kaendler are the most sought after ever made in any period. They are among the most imaginative and amiable inventions of German art in general. With this he set a memorial to himself and the porcelain manufactory Meissen®.

Collaborators of Johann Joachim Kaendler  (1706-1775):

1735 - 1749 Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1695-1749)
1739 - 1750 Johann Gottfried Ehder (1717-1750)
1743 - 1768 Peter Reinicke (1715-1768)
1748 - 1761 Friedrich Elias Meyer (1723-1785)
1761 - 1765 Carl Christoph Punct (-1765)
1764 - 1781 Michel Victor Acier (1736-1799)


In 1764, Paris-based sculptor Michel Victor Acier was hired as the second model master model. His works represent the transitional style from Rococo to Classicism. As an employee of Johann Joachim Kaendler, he was involved in the great Russian order of Catherine II. After Kaendler's death in 1775 he was until 1781 the leading figure in the manufactory. Acier created numerous children's figures and cupids, among which the "Devisenkinder" form a closed sequence. His most important employees were Johann Carl Schönheit and Christian Gottfried Jüchtzer. The painter Johann Eleazar (Elias) Zeisig, called Schönau (Schenau) designed numerous vessels and figures. New themes, characterized by the ideals of a bourgeois society, now dominated the porcelain sculpture.

From the mid-1770s, the imitation of ancient Greek works determined the work of the European porcelain manufactories. For the Meissen sculptors, the fortunate circumstance was that Dresden received a significant collection of ancient originals and casts. From about 1780, the manufactory started working on models of miniature replicas of famous antique figures and groups. The modeler Johann Gottlob Matthäi produced in the Antikensammlung the models for the manufactory. In 1796 he received the job of an inspector of the sculpture collection. In the same year Christian Gottfried Jüchtzer was commissioned to produce models based on the antique models. After the departure of the model master Acier, a close collaboration had developed between the assistant Aciers, Johann Carl Schönheit and Jüchtzer.
The execution of these Meissen models was in a new material, the biscuit porcelain, whose rough surface reminds of marble or alabaster. However, antiquity not only offered decorative motifs for sculptures and painted decors, but also the antique vessel shapes themselves were transformed into porcelain. Like other manufacturers, Meissen® made porcelain with biscuit reliefs on ground colour porcelain in the style of Wedgwood works. Landscape views, allegories, literary themes and painting copies were the most popular decors. At the same time, the single cup with cityscapes, portraits, silhouettes and monograms advanced to become a representative.

The factory was constantly struggling with economic difficulties, which were overcome later on by technical improvements and by exports to England and America, where Rococo forms were in demand. During the Biedermeier period, an own figure style was not created. After the Biedermeier era, the modellers continued to work on the formation of foreign models during the following decades. Busts and replicas of important sculptures by the sculptors Christian Daniel Rauch, Johann Heinrich Dannecker, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Etienne Maurice Falconet and Jean Auguste Barre were modeled.

Modelers of Classicism and Biedermeier:

Johann Carl Schönheit (1730-1805)
Christian Gottfried Jüchtzer (1752-1812)
Johann Gottlob Matthäi (1753-1832)
Johann Daniel Schöne (1767-1843)
Franz Andreas Weger (1767-nach 1834)
Carl Gotthelf Habenicht (1800-1849)
Johann Eleazar Zeissig, genannt Schönau (1737-1806)


However, the remakes of models of the 18th century still took first place in the favor of the buyers. On them based the favorable financial development of the manufactory. In the following period Ernst August Leuteritz 1849 - 1886 was design director at the manufactory. He worked on existing vessel shapes, figures and groups of the 18th century and knew how to adapt them to the taste of the time. He enriched the models with lush plastic flowers and used existing figure models wherever they fit. To this end, he designed lively curly pedestals with opulent flower trimming, also to achieve the desired dimensions. Leuteritz also designed vases, clocks, candlesticks and figures in the style of Neo-Rococo and Neo-Classicism. Heinrich Gottlob Kühn was the first inspector in 1814 and was the director of the manufactory from 1833 until 1870, He developed in 1817 the underglaze color chromium oxide green, which henceforth served next to the blue for painting services and invented in 1827 the slight gloss gilding. Since the 1830s, vessels were molded from pressed glass according to French models.
From about 1865 they made relief porcelains in the style of Capo di Monte. At the same time, the painting was developed in the style of Limoges enamel and platinum painting. Artistically, the years under Kühn's direction are characterized primarily by the inclusion of historical styles. Stylistically, one varied ornaments of all periods of art, often simultaneously and side by side. Thus, Meissen® already lived up to every taste at the beginning of historicism. In addition, a large part of the models produced in the 1870s and 1880s were made according to designs of foreign sculptors, some of them were reductions of large sculptures. The successor to Ernst August Leuteritz was the sculptor Emmerich Andresen. He strove for the monumental and maintained the historical modifications in the same way as Leuteritz.

Modelers of historicism:

Ernst August Leuteritz (1818-1893)
August Ringler (1837-1918)
Albert Georg Eras (1835-1907)
Emmerich Andresen (1843-1902)
August Thiel (1839-1920)

Freelance artists:

Ludwig Schwanthaler (1802-1848)
Ernst Julius Hähnel (1811-1891)
Johann Christian Hirt (1836-1897)
Johann Schilling (1828-1910)
Heinrich Schwabe (1847-1924)
Friedrich Rentsch (1836-1899)
Hugo Spieler (1854-1922)
Karl Röder (1854-1922)
Johannes Daniel Schreitmüller (1842-1885)
Heinrich Möller (1835-1929)
Heinrich Goeschl (1839-1896)
Hermann Hultzsch (1837-1905)
Rudolph Hölbe (1848-1926)
Adolf Rehm (1867-1952)


The Meissen® manufactory was temporarily in the direction of artistic new development at the turn of the century in an unfamiliar backlog. After the death of Andres, the decisive change was the appointment of Erich Hösel, who was the head of the design department from 1903-1929. Although they had purchased modern models of artists since 1895, it was not until Hösel that the sculptors were encouraged to submit designs to the manufactory and the young employees of the manufactory received corresponding support. The still quite small circle of self-designing artists in the 1890s increased considerably after 1900. The changed relationship of the manufactory to their own artists was expressed in the fact that they were now also allowed to sign their works. 
The technical improvements developed by the in 1873 hired Julius Heintze were of significant importance to the Meissen Art Nouveau porcelain in the following decades.
The mass painting in Pâte-sur-pâte, a diverse range of underglaze colors and unusual glazes. The numerous painted with underglaze colors, stylized Art Nouveau figures and vessels with "ox blood glaze", crystal glazes and craquelure glazes were very well received. Hösel also adopted the old Meissen models right from the start. Unlike his predecessors, he tried to restore the original state. He made new models that realigned with the originals by using the old, not improved or changed forms. Thus, Old Meissen's originality was regained.

Art Nouveau modellers:

Paul Helmig (1859-1939)
Erich Hösel (1869-1953)
Konrad Hentschel (1872-1907)
Rudolf Hentschel (1869-1951)
Theodor Eichler (1868-1946)
Alfred König (1871-1940)
Paul Walther (1876-1933)
Ivar Tillberg (1879-)
Philipp Lange (1879-1964)
Emmerich Oehler (1881-)
Arthur Lange (1875-1929)
Max Bochmann (1874-1942)

Freelance artists:

Bernhard Hoetger (1874-1949)
Otto Jarl (1856-1915)
Erich Kleinhempel (1874-1947)
Paul Kratz (1884-nach 1962)
Rudolf Löhner (1890-1971)
Robert Ockelmann (1849-1915)
Friedrich Offermann (1859-1913)
Otto Pilz (1876-1934)
Adolf Rehm (1867-1952)
Walter Schott (1861-1938)
Karl Schüppel (1876-)
Martin Wiegand (1867-1961)
Paul Zeiller (1880-1915)
Willy Zügel (1876-1950)


From 1913 to 1933 Max Adolf Pfeiffer was the director of the porcelain manufactory Meissen®. The sculptors, who have already worked successfully for other manufacturers, were now also hired by Pfeiffer for Meissen®. As far back as 1913, the figures from the ballet "Carneval" by Paul Scheurich had been molded in Meissen®. Scheurich remained as a freelance artist in the following decades of Meissen's favorite artists. Similarly multifaceted is the work of the animal sculptor Max Esser, who also worked as a freelance artist for the manufactory. 1923-1931 he was director of the master studio. In addition to numerous individual figures he created the altogether 75 parts existing centerpiece "Reineke Fuchs" The decisive novelty of 1919 was the subsequent invention and first time reuse of Böttgersteinzeugs. By dispensing with color, the models made in Böttgersteinzeug concentrated entirely on the sculptural form. In the future, many of the new sculptures were created in three equal variants: in white porcelain without painting, in white porcelain with colored staffage and in Böttger stoneware. The manufactory management always went after models of famous sculptors.
The figures of Ernst Barlach can be described as the first examples of a new Art Nouveau porcelain sculpture. From the estate of August Gaul Meissen® acquired in 1922 twenty animal figures. The painter and sculptor Willi Münch-Khe designed from 1925 and with interruptions until 1956 numerous vessels and decors, created various animal figures and famous literary figures. In contrast to the ornamented Art Nouveau tended the 1920s to sparingly decorated, simple forms. Since 1911 Paul Börner has been one of the most talented employees of the manufactory. He was from 1930 director of the artistic department. Paul Börner was one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the manufactory. He designed innumerable vessel shapes, decors, plaques, medals, created figures, busts and masks. During National Socialism, in addition to contemporary sculptures with sociopolitical references, new works of non-political character emerged, above all animal figures and female nudes.

Modelers of Art Deco:

Paul Börner (1888-1970)
Erich Oehme (1889-1970)
Alexander Struck (1902-1990)
Hermann Zeillinger (1882-1933)

Freelance artists:

Paul Scheurich (1883-1945)
Max Esser (1885-1945)
Ernst Barlach (1870-1938)
Gerhard Marcks (1889-1981)
August Gaul (1869-1921)
Richard Langer (1879-1950)
Ludwig Nick (1873-1936)
Willi Münch-Khe (1885-1960)
Franz Christophe (1875-1946)
Adelbert Niemeyer (1867-1932)


Already on May 16, 1945 (after the end of the war in Europe on May 8), the members of the manufactory expressed in a meeting their will to work together to get the work going again. Initially, the production of peace could only begin to a very modest extent. It began with the painting and the sale of existing goods. During the Soviet administration, all departments became operational again and production increased surprisingly fast. Heinrich Thein, who worked as head of the design department from 1945-1949, produced the series of the signs of the zodiac created in 1947. In 1950, the manufactory was named the state-owned porcelain manufactory Meissen® by the state-owned company VEB. The Meissen® sculptor Alexander Struck created in the 1950s, among other things, a variety of anecdotal-shaped figures, the enchanting frog-chess game and a series of fourteen costumes. In order to meet the demand for new developments, the manufactory bought designs of freelance artists. 
The manufactory acquired various models from the sculptor and painter Friedrich Press from 1957 until 1961. Among his most famous works is the Pietá in the Hofkirche in Dresden, the largest figure ever made in the manufactory.
For a correspondingly new work from 1960, the collective of young artists with the members Rudi Stolle, Peter Strang, Heinz Werner and Ludwig Zepner was decisive. Peter Strang created hundreds of figures, reliefs, objects and unique pieces over more than five decades. The breadth of his processed themes and expressive possibilities in miniature and large plastic is impressive. Among his first works were mainly animal sculptures. This was followed by a turn towards theater, circus and fairy tales. Music animals and angels, athletes and genre characters complete the repertoire. Over the years, he changed his language of form. Works by Peter Strang, especially his unique pieces are porcelain, which have left the field of applied art and are assigned as free sculptures of the visual arts. The name Peter Strang and modern Meissen® porcelain are inextricably linked.

Modelers from the mid-20th century:

Heinrich Thein (1888-1969)
Alexander Struck (1902-1990)
Helmut Schulz (1906-1984)
Rudolf Rehbeil (1904-1984)
Gerhard Bochmann (1925-)
Dieter Hering (1941-)
Peter Strang (1936-)

Freelance artists from the mid-20th century:

Fritz Cremer (1906-1993)
Heinrich Drake (1903-1994)
Elfriede Reichel-Drechsler (1923-2009)
Otto Rost (1887-1970)
Friedrich Press (1904-1990)


Peter Strang and his colleagues are still important representatives of the manufactory's new work. But many of her works are already part of the classical heritage today. It is a new generation of artists representing the contemporary zeitgeist of the porcelain manufacturer Meissen®. Jörg Danielczyk, who dignified Peter Strang, has decisively shaped the plastic language of the manufactory and has opened up new dimensions with his works. He too has created countless models and unique pieces for decades, passing on his knowledge to a master class with young talents. With the numerous new creations of the advancing artist collective the way of the manufactory is paved in a new design period.

Contemporary modellers:

Jörg Danielczyk (1952-)
Silvia Klöde (1956-)
Sieglinde Großer (1957-)
Andreas Ehret (1959-)
Sabine Wachs (1960-)
Gudrun Gaube (1961-)
Matthias Scholz (1967-)
Olaf Fieber (1966-)
Silke Ebermann (1967-)
Maria Walther (1988-)
Maximilian Hagstotz (1992-)

Contemporary freelance artists:

Peter Makolies (1936-)
Regina Junge (1939-)
Angelica Saalmüller (1942-)
Hans Nübold (1942-)
Michael Weihe (1961-2012)
Jens Bergner (1964-)
Mariel Andrea Tarela (1968-)


Even in the 21st century, the works of the Meissen old masters are still ranked first in the interest of global buyers. Meissen porcelain, however, is not only the creations of the 18th century, but also the sum of all artistic forces in the course of times and epochs. Despite all tradition, each period of time is shaped by artists who are inspired by the spirit of the times. The Meissen® porcelain manufactory has accepted the challenge and also found new ways of artistic renewal.