A Meissen Figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich
A Meissen Figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich
A Meissen Figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich
A Meissen Figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich
A Meissen Figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich
Blue crossed swords mark
Model by Johann Joachim Kaendler (model number 134)

The figure of ‘Hofnarr Fröhlich’ ranks among the earliest small sculptures of Meissen. Due to Rainer Rückert’s intensive studies (‘Der Hofnarr Joseph Fröhlich.’ 1998) the figure is one of the best documented Meissen porcelains, today. The master pattern dates back to 1732 / 33. It refers to an etching of 1729 by Christian Friedrich Boetius (Rückert 1998 fig. 55). Except the facial features the graphical appearance of Hofnarr Fröhlich is very close to the known Meissen figure.

Rückert gives us no definite answer about the authorship of the first model but he is tending towards Kirchner, not Kaendler. It was part of the interior of the Dresden ‘Turmzimmer’, hence, part of the main Porcelain Collection of Augustus the Strong. It is obvious, that Kaendler was not fully satisfied with the old version of the conjurer of the Royal Court Joseph Fröhlich. That’s why he revised it (especially its face) in April 1737.

At that time (from 30.03. to 15.04.1737), Kaendler stayed in Dresden, tasked with installing the important ‘Glockenspiel’ of the Japanese Palace. On this occasion, he visited Fröhlich, who lived not far in the district ‘Neustadt,’ and portrayed him from life. Kaendler’s work record of April 1737 gives us a precise idea of this work (Rückert 1998 p. 35):

‘Moulded the face of the so-called Joseph as it really actual is, with his hat as he wears it with a bouquet of flowers and a neck brace with laces.’

The figure of Hofnarr Fröhlich was extraordinarily popular. In the majority of cases date and monogram are painted on the suspenders. The dating of the known pieces ranges from 1736 to 1752 (Joseph Fröhlich died in 1757) (see Rückert). We have found 10 figures dating of 1740 (including ours), each of them is part of a big collection, for example, Pauls-Eisenbeiss, Zoubaloff, Kramarsky, Dresden Zwinger.
Collection Siegfried und Lola Kramarsky (Christie’s New York 30.10.1993 no. 45)
Pietsch, Ulrich: Meißner Porzellanplastik. München 2006
Rückert, Rainer: Der Hofnarr Joseph Fröhlich. Offenbach am Main 1998
Dimensions
Height 24.50 cm (9.65 inches)
Stock Code
WE 2829
Signed/Inscribed
J.F. 1740
Elfriede Langeloh

Elfriede Langeloh
Am Michelsgrund 14
Weinheim
69469
Germany

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