Originally published in Along the Royal Road, Berlin and Potsdam in KPM Porcelain and Painting 1815-1848, edited by Derek Ostergard. New Haven and London: Published for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, New York by Yale University Press, 1993. 67-83.




After the death of Frederick the Great in 1786, the Royal Porcelain Factory (Königlichen Porzellan-Manufaktur, or KPM) experienced a new beginning, and developments that began then only reached fruition in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Vienna, where operations ran smoothly in the hands of one outstanding entrepreneur, Sörgel von Sorgenthal, the responsibility for directing the factory in Berlin had been entrusted to a bureaucratic, collegial, administrative authority, the Royal Porcelain Factory Commission, under the chairmanship of minister Friedrich Anton Baron von Heinitz (1725-1802). During this period, the factory pioneered crucial technical innovations that overshadowed the artistic achievements. In 1797, KPM was the first German factory successfully to introduce the round-shelved kiln that saved money, energy, and time. As one of the first industrial enterprises on the continent, KPM had at its disposal (in 1793, after eleven years of effort), a ten horse-power steam engine that replaced the horses used to power the glazing mills, stamping and grinding shops, and water pumps.1

As spectacular and influential as these improvements were, the development of new colors and gold-working techniques, which above all were meant to compete with Vienna, lagged behind that leading factory, which had a highly skilled artistic staff at its disposal. Apart from a few outstanding examples of figural work and many excellent floral decorations, the results at Berlin were inferior compared to work at the Imperial Porcelain Factory at Vienna (Wiener Porzellan-Manufaktur) that was leading Europe at that time.

The same was also true for landscape painting on porcelain, a section led until 1789 in Berlin by Carl Wilhelm Böhme (1720-89), who had left Meissen in 1763 to join Gotzkowsky in Berlin. To be sure, he had also created independent etchings between 1744 and 1766, but among the nineteen sheets known to us today, there is only one view substantiating the belief that his field was the veduta ideale, the fantasy landscape.2

Nevertheless, the Royal Porcelain Manufactory Commission was interested in the subject of view painting. In 1787, Count von Reden,3 one of the members of the factory’s commission, had given instructions to send landscape artist Friedrich Wilhelm Schaub “to the Silesian and Glatzer mountain regions … to copy faithfully the beautiful nature.” Afterwards he was supposed to place his drawings and paintings at the disposal of the KPM, so that the bundtmalerei (department of color paintings) could make good use of the work. For this effort Schaub was paid from KPM’s special budget for models, drawings, and prints. Despite the commission’s early stimulus in producing authentic views which, as we know, remained unexecuted,4 there was no realistic view painting made on KPM porcelain worth mentioning until the end of the eighteenth century.5 The one exception known to exist consists of some examples of an extensive series of dessert plates from the eighteenth century reputedly destined for the Russian court. Most of the plates were superbly decorated with the repertoire of subjects customary at KPM. A few of these plates had lightly colored views of Italy without explanatory inscriptions, and they were characterized mostly by a rather awkward handling of the emerging perspective painting.

The first real view painter at the KPM appears to be Johann Hubert Anton Forst (1755-1823). In 1771 he came to the factory as an apprentice and became a student of painting director Böhme. By 1781 Forst was already designated landscape and view painter, and only six years later, in 1795, after Böhme’s departure, he became head of the corps of landscape, animal, and bird painters, a position that he retained until his retirement on January 1, 1815.6 Although we do not know of any porcelain works definitely by him, his style is sufficiently recognizable through signed view etchings. Böhme’s sixteen colored views of Berlin and Charlottenburg were engraved by Friedrich A. Schmidt (demonstrably 1814-48) in Dresden and published by Baptist Weiss in Berlin.7 In spite of the poor quality of these drawings, they are reproduced very sketchily and their designation, “According to Nature” is an exaggeration. The deficiencies in perspective are strikingly obvious especially in complicated architectural views such as Das Belvedere im Königl, Garten zu Charlottenburg bei Berlin (The Belvedere at Charlottenburg in the Royal Garden near Berlin). The factory was better served by the Recueil des Prospects les plus beaux et les plus interessants de Berlin, by Johann George Rosenberg (1739-1808), which had been published in 1786 in a large folio by Marino and which belonged to the source material used at KPM.

A reliable indicator of outstanding innovations in KPM production is found in exhibition catalogues of the Royal Prussian Academy of Arts after 1786, the year the academy was founded. In the 1804 exhibition catalogue, there is clear evidence8 for the first time of views on KPM footed salvers, cups, and plates. In the catalogue, in most cases, specific available views clearly contrast with general landscape painting. There was strong interest in German views, which were described as “patriotic.” Beside unlabeled scenes according to patterns made by Forst (probably views of Berlin), there are a few specific views: Eckersdorf near Bayreuth “according to an inked drawing of Professor Rösel” (Number 469 in the academy catalogue); of Freienwalde according to an illuminated engraving by Nagel (Number 471); of the Ilsenfalls near Wernigerode “drawn by Bahrt according to Nature and executed on porcelain” (Number 473); and a “Roman view in dark sepia color, after Johann Dietrich and Wille” (Number 474).

Among KPM view painters represented at the academy, one of the most talented was Wilhelm Barth (1779-1852),9 who had come to the factory in 1796 at the age of eighteen. That he was allowed to make his own studies of nature in the Harz mountains speaks for the endorsement of his early talent. Unfortunately like many other highly talented view painters, he left the factory and after 1803 worked as a respected, independent view painter. King Friedrich Wilhelm III, a passionate collector of view paintings, appointed him Court Painter in 1825, and a year later he became a professor at the academy.

An early copy of a Lütke painting made by Barth had been exhibited at the academy in 1800.10 It confirms that Barth had followed the academy’s 1790 statutes and studied drawing there. He was a student of Peter Ludwig Lütke (1759-1831)11, who after 1789 directed landscape painting at the academy. This association also explains the frequent use of Lütke’s view paintings beside etchings of Barth as source material at KPM. An oil painting dated 1795, bearing Lütke’s monogram in ligature, depicts Ockerthal bei Goslar im Harz (Ockertal near Goslar in the Harz Mountains) and is still in the KPM Archive.12 The plate based on it with its decoration and relief gilding still reflects KPM’s strong dependence on characteristics employed by the Imperial Porcelain Factory Vienna dating to the turn of the century. Professor Samuel Rösel (1768-1843),13 who was also represented among KPM entries at the academy exhibition, was another member of the Landscape Section of the academy.

A larger group from KPM view painting department, was represented in 1804 and 1806 at the academy exhibitions. Among them was the eldest son of the factory’s painting supervisor, Johann Eusebius Anton Forst (1783-1866)14, who came to the factory in 1797 as a fourteen-year-old apprentice. He acquired a good reputation as a view painter, and at the 1828 academy exhibition he showed three oil pictures with views of palaces.15 Against the customary practices of the factory, he was the only KPM view painter who later sometimes signed16 his porcelain views on the picture border, so that his later style is rather well documented. Forst was known by several variations on his name: “Forst the Younger” or “Forst Son” and, after his youngest brother Heinrich Wilhelm Julius Forst joined KPM, “Forst 1,” “Forst Senior,” or “Forst the First,” all of which has led to considerable confusion in the literature.17 Of the remaining view painters—Christian Zeep (1751-1808), Johann Friedrich Schall (active 1785-1809 at KPM), Johann Gottlieb Friedrich Krause (active 1786-1805 at KPM), and Carl Wilhelm Seeger (1782-1820) —there are no surviving works, and their output is known only from the academy catalogues.

At the academy exhibition in 1810, KPM first introduced the works of a highly talented and versatile newcomer to the factory who was a master in the genre of fantasy landscapes, figures, and views:18 Frédéric Frégevize (1770-1849). Originally from Geneva and a skilled miniature painter, Frégevize started at the factory on July 1, 1809,19 and in 1820 was made a professor and regular member of the academy. His first topographical view at the academy was entitled Eine Gegend am Genfer See (A Region by Lake Geneva).20 Later as a freelance oil painter, Frégevize created views mainly of his native Switzerland as well as Silesia and the Riesengebirge. His porcelains are occasionally signed.21

The many surviving examples of KPM porcelains from this era speak eloquently of the factory’s new direction. They are captivating works with their surfaces fully covered with a variety of decorative motifs executed on a small scale in new color combinations. This work often exhibited remarkable trompe l’oeil stone and mosaic work and relief gilding, all strongly indebted to contemporaneous Viennese influence.

For view paintings, the term Gemälde (picture) was established at the academy exhibitions. Doubtless a wishful notion, this concept took into account the tableaux offered after 1802 by KPM, the round or square porcelain platters executed as a foil for these copies of easel painting. As earlier, view painting was essentially a case of miniature painting in the traditional sense, based on black-and-white or colored prints, watercolors, or gouaches, but rarely transcribed from oil paintings. Monochrome views in manganese brown, grisaille, or sepia predominate. Multicolored views were more or less indebted to watercolors, which—in the context of present-day taste—fit harmoniously into the rich decorative schemes of that time. However, with their classical coolness they correspond more to an anonymous decorative image than to a specific architectural view or landscape “portrait.” These works were still quite distant from topographical fidelity with respect to architectural details or coloring.

A competent and critical witness of the times was Georg Friedrich Christoph Frick (ca. 1775-1848),22 who had begun his training in 1797 with the “Arcane and Color Laboratory” and in 1832 as Rosenstiel’s successor became the sole director of the factory. Frick remains one of the most outstanding, far-sighted, and passionately engaged directors in the history of KPM and, at that time, the factory’s most important technological innovator of great international prominence.

Of the picture and view painting of KPM at that time, Frick said, “it is not powerful at all and has the appearance of illuminated copper engravings, because everything was painted with fine layers of thin glaze.” For him, the painted views looked like “incomplete sketches, painted with light, pale watercolors …. Since one used the usual light blue for the skies above the landscapes but very thinly applied, after the burning in of the color, these were always dull and matte.23

Frick divided the technical development of colors at the factory into phases, the first beginning in 1763 and ending in 1799 when a new arcanist, mining assessor Dr. Richter, took over the preparation of colors and gold, broadening the factory’s limited color repertoire. At the time of his entry in 1799, there were only three greens available, prepared from copper oxide: bright-green, yellow-green, and blue-green. The last two colors were obtained by mixing yellow or blue enamels. A special problem was presented by a brown-black shading (the so-called Goldferne), “a quick drying purple deposit of Cassius without any additives.” This served as a darkening undercoat, before color was applied: “If one wanted to attain a paler color, this was done through a thinner application of the glazes, but it then had no luster after the firing. In order to have a stronger color one had to apply the enamels in thicker layers, but they splintered off in the firing.”24

During the second phase from 1799 onwards, which was already influenced by Frick, “the uranium colors, a great number of constantly varied purples, and the various light and dark blue colors … were discovered.”25 Nevertheless, there was considerable resistance to these color developments primarily from the director of the factory commission. Count von Reden, who, despite public preferences, demanded that all porcelain “be decorated with gentle, not garish colors, pale Nanking-colored [a light, sand-colored tone], pale light blue, etc. Landscapes should be painted only from manganese brown or sepia and portraits executed from only one color applied to the porcelain.”26 Frick denied the commission any input into technical issues and reproached the factory director, Friedrich Philipp Rosenstiel for incompetence and for not having the strength or the insight to remedy these impediments to progress. In 1809 Frick had already developed his own “sky-blue” color, but the commission would not allow him to use it at first.27 As early as 1810, Rosenstiel had ordered his craftsmen to work in transfer decorations with areas of painting to help lower the high production costs. Although view painting was bound to a costly technology, its use was not restricted to luxury wares. Views were also applied to pipe-bowls, cups, and plates.

Printed decoration, or transfer printing, flourished in English factories where it was first applied in 1753 on earthenware. KPM first used it in 1791, under the direction of a Mr. Lowe28 who described himself as the inventor of porcelain printing. KPM officials had him print a portrait of Frederick the Great on a cup.

The real inspiration for KPM, however, was the outstanding printing of faience and earthenware at the Wenzel Lüdicke factory in Rheinsberg north of Berlin, which was under English influence. The KPM factory commission sent a laboratory worker, Roesch,29 there in 1794, in order to carry out experiments with printing on porcelain. According to Kolbe,30 however, only after 1810 did they begin to use this “less expensive way of decoration” at KPM.

To begin the printing process, the drawing was engraved on a copper or steel plate. Afterwards this was painted with fire-proof ink from ceramic colors and smelting materials, then transferred in reverse onto specially prepared paper which was imprinted on glazed porcelain, and fired in a muffle-kiln,31 The paper was then burned off, leaving the color decoration.

KPM employed this transfer process for views of Berlin, Potsdam, Breslau, Silesia, Rügen, Vienna, Laxenburg, Meissen, Leipzig, Kassel, Doberban, and of the Wartburg, among other subjects. The Silesian and Berlin views comprised the greatest source of models. Most of the time the outlines of these images were printed, but also washed grisailles and a few views in “natural colors” were made.32 According to Kolbe, around the mid-1820s, this transfer process was set aside, because it no longer appealed to the taste of the public and because of the harshness of the “contours and colors.” This phase of transfer technology at KPM should not be overvalued. The technique was of relative insignificance, especially in the area of high-quality view painting. Printed views on KPM porcelain were seen for the last time at the National Trade Exposition (Exhibition of Patriotic Products) in 1827 in Berlin: “Thirteen pairs of porcelain cups with views of public buildings and streets in Berlin. Colored-in copper engraving under the glaze.”33

The historical situation of KPM at that time cannot be ignored. During the French Occupation (1806-8), the factory dropped the “Royal” from its name. Placed under French administration, the factory had to fulfill high indemnities and was strongly impaired in its productivity.34 It was an extraordinarily difficult time, lasting until the end of the Wars of Liberation in 1815.

One positive aspect of the French Occupation was the intensification of relations between the Berlin factory and the Imperial Porcelain Factory at Sèvres near Paris, from which both enterprises profited. Alexandre Brongniart, Director of Sèvres for nearly half a century (1800-1847), was not only a remarkable natural scientist and a man of almost encyclopedic knowledge, but also the most outstanding individual in the world of European porcelain at the time. He studied the competition in detail and learned to appreciate the arcanist Frick. In 1812 Frick accompanied Brongniart on his great journey to the porcelain factories in Saxony, Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria, and Württemberg, an undertaking that Brongniart analyzed in his seminal Traité des Arts céramiques ou des Poteries considerées dans leur histoire, leur pratique et leur théorie (Characteristics of the Ceramic Arts or of Pottery Considered in their History, their Practice, and their Theory; [Paris. 1844]).35

Frick’s continued intensive research in his color laboratory is apparent from the fact that by 1814, a third phase of porcelain painting at KPM began. Fundamental to the further development of high-quality picture and view painting, were his successful experiments with greens formulated from chromium-oxidul which must not be confused with the chromium oxide green underglaze painting that was applied from 1817 in Meissen and from 1824 at KPM. The colors from chromium oxidul made possible a basic change in the technical process of painting views. As complicated and problematic priming of Goldferne under the colors became unnecessary “because the various green colors from chromium oxidul can be processed like ink into weaker or stronger tones, and the darker greens could be applied for shading the same greens. The treatment of these colors was similar to that of oil painting.36 These “green colors from chromium oxidul first introduced in Germany (with the exception of the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Vienna, where it had been in use for sometime) at the Royal Porcelain Factory allow not only a wealth of beautiful green nuances, but also can be weakly or strongly applied or mixed with other colors, in a large number of gradations. It helped to raise porcelain painting to a level higher; but, accustomed to paint in the old manner, very few painters wanted to adapt themselves to a process that was easier in its exercise than the earlier one and at the same time presented the opportunity to present paintings that reasonably stood the comparison with oil painting.”37

Frick could only put his innovations into effect by withholding Goldferne primer from the painters after 1816 forcing them to use the new chromium oxidul colors. “Now it became possible to copy oil paintings faithfully onto porcelain.”38 Even if this optimistic announcement was true only from the 1830s onward, a clear improvement and greater color balance with a correspondingly richer palette can be established for the years after the Wars of Liberation.

For KPM, the French influence meant primarily a stylistic change, a shift away from the late classical tendencies of Vienna, to that of the French Empire, the style à l’antique, as it was called at the time. This rigid, metallic, highly polished representational style, continued to have an effect on the lavish, densely saturated colors applied in unconventional juxtapositions and artistically decorated gildings, and above all on the luxury porcelain produced in Berlin until the early 1830s.

View painting, which was now considered of prime importance, became the central motif on plates and platters with borders functioning as luxuriously gilded frames. Landscapes were now executed in “natural” colors, frequently on various types of krater vases, here also rimmed in gold like pictures against a gold-etched background which intensified the brilliant colors of the views.

The period after the Wars of Liberation was full of changes for the factory. After the Peace of 1815, there was great demand especially for “expensive and richly gilded products,” and KPM was hard put to meet this demand despite considerable efforts. In 1816 and 1817, KPM had its best years financially—mostly from large luxury commissions. Soon afterward, however, as at the Imperial Factory in Vienna, sales fell off in the face of a flood of cheap competition from Thuringia and Bohemia.39

The enormous topographical range in KPM view painting, which suggests that many additions were made to the store of source material, is especially apparent in various large table services made between 1815 and 1825. This series of table services began simply with plates and round bowls that had traditional, multicolored rim decorations with Berlin subjects seldom encountered at the time—after works by Friedrich Calau (1790-1830), Louis Serrurier (active 1790/1800), and Franz Ludwig Catel (1778-1856) —as well as views of Potsdam, the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), Pichelsdorf, Freienwalde, Mühlheim, and Keinigsberg. Two of these plates are marked with “Lefaure 1816.”40 These are components from different services produced for the Russian court, comprising over eighty plates with view paintings.41 The plates can be dated to about 1820/1825. They show richly etched gold borders a round views of the Pfalz near Kaub on the Rhine; the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen; Magdeburg and Heidelberg; Silesian castles and localities; German cathedrals and churches as well as English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Swiss cathedrals.

Views on different Feldherrenservicen [Field Marshall services] that were produced as honorary gifts from the Prussian King, included scenes of isolated places and battlefields from the Wars of Liberation which were used on the large service pieces such as tureens and ice containers.42 One of the most significant dinner services made by KPM was for the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). During this period (1815-1819) the factory was in direct competition with the factories at Sèvres, Vienna, and Meissen43 to produce similar gifts for the savior of Europe who had defeated Napoleon. The service included sixty-four dessert plates with gold borders beautifully engraved. In the center of each plate is a colored view of a place that played a role in the life of the Duke: from Eton College in England to sites in the Netherlands, India, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and France.

In 1819, Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Hesse ordered a combined dinner and dessert service marked with the “Iron Helmet” (a Hessian Order of Bravery that he created in 1814). Comprising almost two-thousand pieces, the service was delivered by KPM in 1820. The coffee cups serve as a virtual catalogue of KPM’s then-current decorative repertoire: mythological figures, flowers, antiques, mosaics, hunting scenes after Ridinger, copies of paintings, and above all views. Paintings of Prussia—predominantly from the Potsdam-Berlin area—were set against those of the Electorate of Hessen.44

Another royal order was the magnificent table service made in 1825 for the wedding of Friedrich William III’s daughter Princess Luisa to Prince Friedrich of the Netherlands.45 The service was decorated with lively flower painting and rich gilding: the tureens, refraichissoirs (wine coolers), and dessert plates were skillfully painted with views of Berlin, Potsdam, and the Prussian lands from Breslau to Münster. These three services mark a high point in KPM production. Thereafter the factory experienced a financial decline as the size and the number of such prestigious commissions diminished.

In the 1820s, the demand for vases increased, often in garnitures of two, three, and five pieces. Steadily enriched by new forms, there was also an increase in the repertoire, and orders were plentiful. A considerable percentage of the factory’s production of views was applied to gift articles such as cups and porcelain eggs which the Royal House used to order from the factory shortly before Easter. The Easter eggs were painted by hand, while the cups were decorated very often with transfer prints and the quality of the views on the cups varied according to price.

As a special type of view painting, the panorama played an interesting role at KPM. It appeared on bowls, coupes, platters, vases, and cups. Despite a longstanding tradition of this genre in porcelain, this existed as a current reference to the mass entertainment form of the time, the “perspectival-optical images” mostly in the form of round-pictures or panoramas 46 which, as Theodore Fontane (1819-1898) later writes, showed “what was most beautiful and most interesting from all parts of the world to the marveling eye of the beholder.47 Situated in enormous halls, often lit with dramatic lighting and accompanied by music, these panoramas satisfied the entertainment needs of the age. These continuous paintings depicted great natural sites, battle scenes and circumstances of national calamities. In Berlin, Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) and Carl Wilhelm Gropius (1793-1870) created these enormous optical pleasures for a wide range of clients including the Royal House. In 1826, Friedrich Wilhelm III gave his daughter, Princess Friedrich (Luise) of the Netherlands,48 three KPM Rotating Footed Salvers with cola red panoramas of the Zeughaus (Arsenal) in Berlin, the Pfaueninsel, and the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden) at Potsdam. Two of these panoramas were viewed from the perspective of a roof of an imaginary high building.

An additional three-piece set 49 from the former possession of the Russian tsars (Hermitage, St. Petersburg) shows a panorama of Glienicke. Because one piece, a Pfaueninsel panorama, is signed by Johann Eusevius Forst, he may have painted the entire series, of which other examples are known.50 These panorama pictures are oriented towards “cycloramas” or “anamorphotic plans of orientation.51 They were offered for sale at public panorama exhibitions as reduced outline etchings or as informational material. The precious porcelain “miniature panoramas” for the most discriminating taste underscore this genre’s move into an elite position.

An alternative to this type of view is offered by a large rotating coupe from the centerpiece delivered in 1823 for the wedding of the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia (later Emperor Nicholas 1) to Friedrich William III’s eldest daughter Charlotte (later Empress Alexandra Feodorovna). Four “wide-screen pictures” on the border of the inside of the salver depict scenes documenting the various battles leading to Napoleon’s defeat, from Leipzig to Moscow to Waterloo (Belle Alliance). These paintings are situated in segmental reserves between portraits of the most famous Field Marshalls of the Allied Powers during the years that Napoleon upset the balance of power in Europe. The goddess of victory is painted in a repeat pattern on the inner ring of the basin.

A highly original coupe created around 1825/26 and heavily emblematic, has a central cameo portrait of Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, surrounded by a wide border painted with six species of trees on which guardian spirits are placed. Through openings in the greenery well-known buildings of the city have been depicted, all of which have a special connection to the Royal House: the Brandenburg Gate as official Triumphal Entry to the city, Königliche Schloss (Royal Palace), Königliche Museum (Royal Museum), Königliche Schauspielhaus (Royal Theater), Königliche Wache mit dem Zeughaus (Royal Guardhouse with the Arsenal), and den deutschen und den franzosischen Dom (the German and the French cathedrals). Because of their symbolic importance, these views appear to rest on tablets flanked by eagles. These plaques bear carved inscriptions to the pictures.

A similar formula was used for a large, round porcelain tabletop made in 1830. The format of a single panorama was replaced by a series of twelve views of Berlin and Potsdam palaces and public buildings, arranged in a loose narrative depicting the Royal Road. These scenes surround a central medallion painted with a lavish bouquet signed by KPM flower painter Ernst Sager (1788-after 1830). Because of the uniform scale and shared horizon in each view, the frieze creates an impression of a panorama, divided by decorative borders.

All cylindrical vessels, particularly vases, are well-suited for panoramic views. The panoramas of Babelsberg near Potsdam, Pfïngstberg, Pfaueninsel, and the Berlin Cathedral can be found in various versions especially on the large krater vases.52

Characteristic for many views from this period is a rather muted palette of brown, green, and soft blue tones. Additional color swabs form only a few, very schematic, decorative figures. The architecture has the effect of a stage setting and frequently lacks topographical precision. Despite the wealth of patterns available in a wide range of techniques the best paintings followed an astonishingly similar standard. In relationship to the Viennese and Sèvres views made at the same time, the impression of KPM work altogether is rather pedantic, revealing a simpler reproduction full of faithfulness to the pattern, and somewhat anemic, without individual artistic brilliance. The severe, somewhat lifeless impression underscores the rich, matte gilding and creates an aloof coolness, sounding a specifically Prussian note, that distinguishes this painting from that of other factories.

Whose hands produced these views remains to a large extent a mystery. The many signed views on porcelain from the 1820s suggest that a considerable number may have been executed by Johann Eusebius Anton Forst. They distinguish themselves by their solid, uniform quality, attractive in its meticulous, at times, minutely detailed reproduction and the skilled execution even of complicated architectonic perspectives.

After nearly a quarter of a century KPM was less often represented at the academy exhibitions. Nevertheless, in 1822, “two large bowls” were shown,53 one of which, bordered by portraits of the regents of the House of Hohenzollern, showed a view of the Königliche Schloss (Royal Palace) from the perspective of the Lange Brücke (Long Bridge), painted by Johann Andreas Diehl (1787-1857). A companion piece had a view of Moscow, bordered by the portraits of the regents of the House of Romanov. This was the work of Carl Emanuel Koch (1787 -1858). Both bowls were part of a huge table service delivered in 1823 for the wedding of Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia (Hermitage, St. Petersburg) to Princess Charlotte.

Toward the end of the Wars of Liberation, a new generation of promising view painters became apprentices at KPM. When the old painting director, Johann Hubert Anton Forst, retired on January 1, 1815, however, the younger painters were bypassed and KPM’s incumbent flower painter (since 1802), Gottfried Wilhelm Völker (1775-1849) assumed the post. Known primarily as an oil painter, Völker was made a member of the Berlin Artists’ Association after 1814, and after 1817, he was a professor at the academy. He was considered at the time to be the leading artist at KPM. He also provided proof of his pedagogic talents at court by giving instruction in drawing and painting flowers to Princess Charlotte in 1816 and to her stepmother, Countess von Liegnitz, in 1832.

For his part, Völker suggested 54 consulting the landscape painter Johann Andreas Diehl (who is known to have been at the factory since 1802) for views, because Völker himself wanted “to act … in the area of higher art. Because for a long time now I have used my diligence and study for higher ideas in all branches of art, because in the area of landscape painting I am also the owner of beautiful oil paintings, moreover I busy myself in this area and have friends who are possessors of landscape and historical paintings and who would like to give me such paintings; … therefore I would be able to accomplish a great deal in this field; … with respect to perspective painting, which is absolutely necessary, my plan would be … to hold a special training for apprentices … where they would receive the most complete instruction not only under my direction but also under that of Professor Cubeil [the painter and etcher Carl Ludwig Kuhbeil, ca. 1770-1823] or Mr. Hampe [the landscape painter Karl Friedrich Hampe, 1771-1848).”55 For figure painting, Völker suggested KPM painting director, Court Counselor Gustav Taubert (1754/55-1839). All of these men were members of the Academy of Arts. In later literature, Völker’s specialty as a painter of flowers led to the conclusion that Schirmer, the landscape painter, had to serve an apprenticeship as a flower painter at KPM.

Among Völker’s first students was Eduard Gaertner (1801-1877),56 who later became Berlin’s most important view painter on canvas. Like most of the students, Gaertner was thirteen when he began the six-year apprenticeship at KPM in 1814. He remained at the factory only seven years, however, leaving to enter the workshop of the painter of stage sets and owner of the Berlin Diorama, Carl Wilhelm Gropius. Gaertner later disparaged his KPM apprenticeship as a hindrance to his education. He wrote that he drew “rings, bands, and edges,” but he also produced a watercolor of the drawing studio of the factory entitled Nach der Natur gezeichnet von E. Gaertner. Das 6te perspectivische Studium den 21sten Februar 1816 (Drawing According to Nature by E. Gaertner. The sixth perspectival study on February 21, 1816), as well as two watercolors from 1818 which show the courtyard of the factory from various standpoints.57 They are captivating in their precise, correct perspectives.

With the exception of etchings entitled Erinnerung an Berlin (Reminder of Berlin),58 Gaertner’s later, indirect influence on the view painting of KPM turns out to be surprisingly moderate. In the 1830s there are only two views associated with Gaertner: Fest der Weissen Rose (Festival of the White Rose) and mit dem Neuen Palais bzw den Communs (The New Palace from the Communs at Potsdam; 1829). 59 Also after Gaertner are three views, the Schlüter-Court at the Berlin Palace (1830), the Eosander Court (1831),60 and Neue Wache mit dem Scharnhorstdenkmal (New Guardhouse with the Scharnhorst Memorial; 1833)61 all on KPM porcelains. These were views transferred to porcelain by means of engravings and watercolors and then rendered in enamels.

Great hopes for the next generation were also inspired by the work of view painter Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Hintze (1800-shortly before 1862), who concluded his apprenticeship with Völker at about the same time as Gaertner. Because of his accomplishments, Hintze, together with another newcomer, August Wilhelm Ferdinand Schirmer (1802-1866), was sent for “five to six weeks on a journey to Dresden, Bautzen, Görlitz in the Silesian Riesengebirge, and the county of Glatz, in order to exercise themselves in their fields of art.” ln the summer of 1821, Hintze was supposed to undertake an eight-week study trip to the island of Rügen via Mecklenburg, “in order to take advantage everywhere of the opportunity, to practice and perfect his art in nature,” as Völker formulated it in his letter of recommendation to Rosenstiel. Völker’s efforts to make it possible for the coming generation to have an opportunity to study on the spot,62 are also evident in the journey to Pomerania made by Gaertner in his last year at the factory, which was 1821, as well as by an additional leave of absence, allocated to the landscape painter Schirmer for a journey to the Harz mountains, Kassel, and Thuringia.

Hintze is something of an exception among this later group of artists at KPM who comprised the factory’s first generation of landscape painters. Unlike most others, he did not leave the factory immediately after his apprenticeship, but rather remained in the department of painters until 1835, but after 1836, his name is no longer on the personnel list.63 Obviously, a special status had been granted to him during this time, since he possessed privileges denied to other painters at the factory. He was regularly allowed to send his oil paintings and watercolors to the exhibitions of the academy, where he was a member. Friedrich Wilhelm III and Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861; r. 1840-58) were among his patrons, as was the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, who invited the young painter to travel as a companion of the court. Further study journeys took him to the Rhine, Bavaria, and the Alps. In 1829 he was a member of the “Association of Painters, Sculptors, Architects, and Comrades of Art in Berlin.”64 Today, however, we know only of a signed KPM porcelain platter, entitled Die Gegend bei Pichelsberg von Schildhorn (The Region near Pichelsberg Seen from Schildhorn), marked “H. Hintze fec. 1833,” copied from his own oil painting from the previous year. In the KPM archives there is a panorama, Die Aussicht vom Thurme des Doms über den Lustgarten in Berlin (The View from the Tower of the Cathedral over the Pleasure Garden in Berlin), which was exhibited at the academy in 1834. From 1836 to 1838 it repeatedly served as a model for paintings on large krater vases “Riesenische Sorte.”65 Hintze may have delivered oil paintings to be used as patterns for works on porcelain and thereby played a role similar to Carl Daniel Freydanck who came later. Of this generation of painters,66 it was primarily Schirmer,67 who influenced porcelain painting at KPM.

Without exaggeration these artists formed the core of the first great generation of Berlin view and landscape painters in the nineteenth century and almost all acquired their training at KPM. With its modest beginnings in view painting, the factory paved the way for a new branch within the field of Berlin oil painting. It is not known why painters, except for Hintze, preferred to leave KPM after their apprenticeship, working as free and independent artists. Perhaps it was the strong decline in profits, which led in 1821 to an official examination of KPM and to the appointment of Frick as director of the department of white porcelain together with the sixty-seven-year-old Rosentstiel. This may have led to a general insecurity with the management of the factory. At any rate, for the factory, the departures of these talented artists was a heavy blow. In 1832, Frick68 reported that since 1822 KPM had hired no new apprentices for the painting corps.

A new low-cost method of duplicating views on porcelain was introduced in the late 1820s. In 1828, a year after Paul de Bourgoing (1791-1864) in Paris had received a patent for the lithophane, a translucent porcelain image, Frick also conducted experiments toward producing translucent image plates. Because the factory’s porcelain body was not sufficiently translucent at that time, Frick had to formulate a new porcelain body with a high soapstone content which when gloss-fired at a low temperature, guaranteed an excellent translucency.69

These lithophanes are thin unglazed porcelain plaques into which images are pressed by means of a relief form before the firing. The resulting porcelain impression has the quality of a gray and white translucency depending on the intensity of the backlighting. At the same time the Berlin lithophanes, which to be sure were somewhat more expensive than the contemporaneous Meissen lightshade plates,70 had an outstanding reputation because of their fine quality, and they sold well over a long period, guaranteeing a considerable profit with a small expenditure on the part of the factory.

There was a large repertoire of Berlin lithophanes; according to the price list, models for 580 scenes were produced between 1828 and 1865, including reproductions of portraits, historical scenes, sentimental subjects, and vedute of Berlin and Potsdam. The book, Berlin und seine Umgebung im 19. Jahrhundert (Berlin and its Environs in the Nineteenth Century), published in 1833 by Samuel Heinrich Spiker, served as a source for many of the models.

Lithophanes gained international popularity as window decorations and lampshades. Characteristic to all of them is a certain softness in the reproduction, a more picturesque effect, which is determined by the material and the degree of lumination. KPM later began to produce colored lithophanes as well. At the World Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in London, 1851, KPM was the first factory to show a selection of this work.

© Bard Graduate Center, Winfried Baer.

1.Kolbe 1863. pp. 172-212.

2.Baer, Baer, and Grosskopf-Knaack 1986. pp. 112-116.

3.“Acta. die Etablirung.” May 17, 1787.

4.Schaub did not go to Silesia, but rather to Burg rave Dohna in Schlobitten. Prussia. At the Academy Exhibition of 1788 “Herr Schaub aus Berlin zu Schlodien in Preussen” (Mr. Schaub from Berlin at Schlodien in Prussia) displayed “Eine dortige Gegend nach der Natur gemahlt” (a region there painted according to nature) under No. 202. (Author’s note: Schlodien Castle was part of the Dohna estate.)

5.There are two examples of KPM solitaires from around 1790 known: a serving platter with a grisaille painting showing Schloss Moritzburg (see Peters 1982, pp. 57- 58. figs. 1, 2) and a view of Naples Harbor (Collection of Berlin-Porcelain at the Belvedere. Schloss Charlottenburg. Berlin). Since all the remaining parts are painted with generic river and harbor views, the topographical intention of the trays remains in doubt.

6.See Scheffer 1963, pp. 25-27.

7.Kiewitz 1937, nos. 424-439.

8.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen 1971, vol. 1 (1804), nos. 469-471. 473-475.

9.See Kroll 1981. pp. 4-7.

10.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen 1971, vol. 1 (1800). no. 125.

11.Thieme and Becker 1907-1950. vol. 23. p. 452.

12.In an undated painting register of the KPM Archives (KPM-Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, Berlin, Wegely Street), five additional, now-lost paintings by Lütke with Italian views from the years 1794-95 are listed.

13.Thieme-Beeker 1907-1950, vol. 28, pp. 498-499.

14.Scheffler 1963, pp. 27-28.

15.Kataloge Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. 2 (1828), nos. 976-978. Color copies of the Berlin City Palace and the summer palace of Prince Carl are reproduced in Gläser 1941, pp. 16-17.

16.The following works are known for certain to have been made by Forst 1: A “Munich” vase without handles with a panorama of “the area from the Royal Palace at Berlin up to the Linden” (see Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. 2 [1830]. no. 1203); a signed krater vase with eagle handles and with a view of Berlin from the northeast; an identical krater with the same view (Collection of the Order of St. John. Berlin); a Reden-vase with a view onto the Linden as seen from the Royal Palace in Berlin (Hunting Palace Grunewald, SSG); a coupe with a panorama of the Pfaueninsel; a claw-footed cup with panorama of Charlottenburg and Spandau (Collection Weick. Berlin). According to the markings. All objects were created in the time period, 1823-32. (Author’s note: this brief survey is by no means complete.)

17.The distinctions between “Forst I” and “Forst II” in Scheffler (1963, pp. 25-28) are based on a misinterpretation of the sparse information in the Academy catalogues. Johann Hubert Anton Forst (1755-1823, whom Scheffler calls “Forst I”) had two daughters and five sons, of whom three entered the KPM. In the “Rechnungs-Buch sämtlicher Mitglieder der Versorgungs: Anstalt bey der Königlichen Porzellan Manufa[ktur]” (Account Book of all Members of the Supply Institution at the KPM: n.d.), the eldest son born on August 14, 1783, Johann Eusebius Anton Forst, is listed in the alphabetical index as “Forst sen.” He was accepted as an apprentice on April 1, 1797 (in another place, 1798) and “released,” becoming a “Member of the Supply Institution” on April 17, 1804. On “April 1, 1832, he became an invalid.”

In the “Acta. die Maler 1826-1831. IX. 9. vol. IV” a circular (Nov. 16, 1829) from Rosenstiel was directed at the corps of painters that should be signed by all the painters. “By oath it would oblige them to take up no private work [on the side].” The year and day “on which such an oath was given” should be entered as well. The Forst cited above signed “Johann Forst, entered into apprenticeship on April 1, 1799 and sworn 1805.” In the list of specifications of the income of each painter requested by the Ministry of the Interior shortly after for each month of the year 1829/30, there appears in the overview a “Forst sen.” “age: 45 years.” His year of entrance into the KPM is given as 1798. This “Forst sen.” is also named at another place in the fi le “Forst 1” and “Forst 1ste.”

For mention of the second son of J. H. A. Forst (Heinrich Wilhelm Julius Forst, born December 23, 1789), see “Rechnungsbuch … der Versorgungs,” p. 31. In the alphabetical name index he is entered as “Forst jun.” He was accepted into apprenticeship on Dec. 1, 1804, and released on Sept. 28, 1810. This Forst, however, was noted to have “left in October, 1811.” He seems to be identical with the bank secretary mentioned by Scheffler. His place at the KPM was taken by the youngest of the Forst sons. Eduard Wilhelm Forst born on March 18, 1801. According to the “Rechnungsbuch … der Versorgungs” mentioned above (p. 43), he was a member of the Supply Institution after April 1, 1823. In the Rosenstiel circular, he signs with “Forst II”: “I arrived as an apprentice on June 24, 1816…” In the specification list demanded by the Ministry, this “Forst jun.” is twenty-eight years old in 1829, and his entrance is given as 1817. From 1823 on he is active in the landscape-painting department. On Dec. 31, 1849 he is declared an invalid.

18.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. 1 (1810), nos. 250, 283, 287, 289-295.

19.Ouvrier-Böttcher 1984, p. 140.

20.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. 1 (1810), no. 288.

21.A round picture plate with the Madonna and Child and John the Baptist as a boy, after Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) (Schloss Pfaueninsel. SSG). See Baer and Baer 1982, cat. no. 72, fig. 66 (only in Chinese).

22.Kolbe 1863, p. 192.

23.Frick 1845-1848, p. 101. (This is actually a handwritten copy made by a co-worker in the factory: its 1018 pages bear occasional corrections by Frick in his own handwriting. As this copy ends with the year 1845 and Frick died in 1848, it can be dated to within this period.)

24.Frick 1845-1848, p. 433.

25.Ibid., p. 92.

26.Ibid., p. 102.

27.Ibid., p. 101.

28.“Acta … Haushaltssachen.” letter dated June 8, 1791.

29.Ibid., letter dated April 25, 1794.

30.Kolbe 1863, p. 225.

31.See Faÿ-Hallé and Mundt 1983, p.14.

32.See note 28: there are various patterns in the “Acta. Haushaltssachen.”

33.Frick 1845-1848, p. 443.

34.Kolbe 1863, p. 213f.

35.Ibid., p. 225.

36.Frick 1845-1848, p. 105.

37.Ibid., p. 433.

38.Kolbe 1863, pp. 222-223.

39.Editor’s lapse: note deleted, with apologies to the reader.

40.The plates from this series are in the Märkische Museum (Berlin): see Widerra [1962], nos. 131-139. For the views. Die eiserne Brücke in Berlin (The iron bridge in Berlin) and Das Potsdamer Thor zu Berlin (The Potsdam Gate in Berlin), see ibid., nos. 131, 132; they are signed “Lefaure 1816.” It is not clear whether “Lefaure” is the painter and lithographer Louis Faure who, in the Berlin Academy Exhibitions of 1822, 1824, and 1836, showed views of the Rhine and Elbe rivers, and of Southern France (Faure died in Paris in 1879). Or, “Lefaure” could refer to Elisa Faure, who in 1824 was represented at the Academy with a “Kopie nach Ruisdael, auf Porzellan gemalt” (copy after Rusidael, painted on porcelain).

41.See Lepke 1930, nos. 362-440, 457-459, 473-478.

42.See especially services with the Eiserne Kreuz (Iron Cross) that were made for: Prince August of Prussia (parts of it are in Schloss Charlottenburg, Neuer Pavillon); Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, brother of the king (Darmstadt, Prince Georg Palace); Prince of Hesse-Homburg (Schloss Homburg); and Generals Graf York von Wartenburg, Graf Tauentzien, and Graf Kleist von Nollendorf. See Köllmann 1954/55, p. 66, no. 270.

43.Köllmann 1960, pp. 81-97.

44.Information by Dr. Siemer, Kurhessische Hausstiftung, Museum Schloss Fasanerie, Eichenzell (near Fulda).

45.The porcelains with views and other parts of this service, auctioned in 1967 at Sotheby’s, are today in the Neue Pavillon. Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin.

46.Oettermann 1980, pp. 158-160.

47.Fontane n.d., p. 51.

48.“Conto Buch Sr. Majestät,” p. 136.

49.See Nicht 1982, cat. nos. 19, 20, 21.

50.A salver with a Glienicke panorama was still at Schloss Glienicke in the 1930s; see Johannes Sievers. Bauten für den Prinzen Karl von Preuβen, Berlin 1942b, p. 124, fig. 122. For a further example with the panorama of the Royal Potsdam in Palace see Orangerie 1983, p. 169 with ill.

51.Oettermann 1980, pp. 51-52, figs. 31, 35, 113.

52.“Conto Buch Sr. Majestät,” p. 131.

53.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. I (1822), nos. 623, 624. See both bowls in Köllmann 1966, vol. 2, pl. 216 a-c.

54.“Acta. Vorgesetzte und Officianten. V. 40 (Personalia Prof. Voelcker. 1800-1847)” (Superiors and Staff. V. 40 [personal matters: Prof. Voelker]). This file contains a letter from Völker dated January 6, 1815 possibly to Rosenstiel.

55.The painter and etcher Carl Ludwig Kuhbeil (ca. 1770-1832) and landscape painter Karl Friedrich Hampe (1771-1848).

56.See Wirth 1978, pp. 7-8, 15-17.

57.Ibid., figs. 1, 2.

58.This series comprises thirty small-formatted Berlin views, published by Gropius after 1832.

59.In 1973, two postcard-sized KPM porcelain picture plates (ca. 1829) were sold in London; today they are in private collections.

60.See Cat. No. 12.

61.For krater vase “with bent handles” (KPM, Berlin, 1883; H. 50 cm). see Orangerie 1983, cat. 34/4, pl. 158; for amphora vase (KPM, Berlin, ca. 1735; H. 61.5 cm: Staatl. Schlösser und Gärten Potsdam-Sanssouci), see Cosmann 1977, cat. no. 214.

62.“Acta. die Maler der Manufaktur betreffend (1816-1825). 1X. 9.” includes letters from painting director Völker to the director of the factory, Rosenstiel, concerning journeys for the young painters for study purposes: July 11, 1820 for Hintze and Schirmer; May 13, 1821 for Hintze; August 16, 1821 for Gaertner; August 1, 1823 for Schirmer.

63.“Verzeichnis des Personals des Maler-Corps [1834-1890]. Sparte 111/Landschaften-Maler” for the year 1835/36 (register of the personnel of the painter corps. section Ill/landscape painters).

64.Sedlmaier 1961, p. 129.

65.Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen, vol. 2 (1834), no. 297. Johann Carl Friedrich Riese (1759-1834) started as apprentice at the KPM in 1770 and later was “Modellmeister (master model-maker) until his death in 1834. Riese’s appointment inaugurated a new era of figural work at KPM. He had as strong an influence on the creation of bisque sculptures as Schadow. For dinner services, portrait busts, medallions, and allegorical groups, Riese created new forms after Schadow’s designs. His work was presented at the Berlin Academy Exhibition between 1800 and 1822.

66.It is also possible, but not certain, that the renowned architecture and landscape painter, Karl Eduard Biermann (1803-1892) began as a porcelain and decoration painter. Whether he too was educated at KPM can not be confirmed.

67.Schirmer is known through his watercolors, a few of which are in the KPM Archives, Schloss Charlottenburg, and through his particularly inspiring views of Potsdam.

68.Frick 1845-1848, p. 393.

69.Kolbe 1863, pp. 247-248; Frick 1845-1848, pp. 291-292. Also see Elder 1957, pp. 18-22; Leichter 1974, pp. 1-20 (special edition).

70.Kunze 1982, pp. 3-10.