Decorative Art
Decorative Art | Auction: 01.06.2021 | Preview: 27.05.2021 - 30.05.2021

Lot was sold

Lot 13 | Meissen | 16 porcelain figurines and a music desk from the ape chapel

4.500 - 5.000 €
9.030 €

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Auction results from: Meissen

Date: 20th/21st century.
Maker/Designer: Model J.J. Kaendler.
Technique: Porcelain, enriched in colours and gold.
Description: Consisting of: ape as music director with music desk, 4 singers, flute player with drum,
flute player, bassoon player, ape playing backpipes, horn player, trumpet player, harp
player, violinist, ape playing the cello, guitar player, ape carrying a drum.
Measurement: Height 12-19cm.
Mark: Swordsmark, once with one grind, once with two grinds, different model numbers, porcelain former's numbers and year marks, some with painter's numbers in red and black.

- Adams, Len and Yvonne: Meissen Portrait Figures, Leicester 1992, P.188 und 195.
- Rückert, Rainer: Meissener Porzellan von 1710-1810. Cat. Nr.1064-1078
- (Stand 04.03.2020)

The monkey figurines, dressed in elaborate rococo clothing, parody the upper social class of the 18th century and its allures in a highly exaggerated manner. Historical records suggest that the eccentric apes were inspired in particular by the chapel of Count Brühl. The male monkeys take on the roles of the musicians, while the female monkeys are portrayed as singers.
Even though the exact date of origin of the chapel is not precisely documented, the form numbers and a purchase of 19 such figures by Madame de Pompadour suggest that the figurines were developed around 1753. Probably created by Johann Joachim Kaendler and reviewed in 1765/66 with the assistance of Peter Reinicke, the monkeys are considered the "most bizarre classic of the Meissen Baroque" (
In the middle of the 18th century depictions of monkeys, which in a parodistic way depict human traits, enjoyed great popularity. This genre of the so-called "Singerie" (French "singe" = monkey) was not only interpreted in porcelain, but can also be found in wall and ceiling frescoes or on goblins. There is a presumption that Christophe Hueet's wall paintings in the so-called monkey cabinet of Chantilly Castle may be regarded as a model for the Meissen chapel. Another French model could be a monkey chapel of the Mennecy Manufactory from the 1740s. Another example of a chapel that resembles Kaendler's models for the Meissen manufactory is an alabaster chapel from Venice, made around 1745, that today is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Susanne Mehrgardt
Decorative Art
+49 221 92 58 62 400

Lot: 69736-1

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Conditions of Sale

VAT margin scheme, VAT included, but must not be indicated, not refundable

29.00 % buyer’s premium on the hammer price

Similar works in the auction
Meissen   Germany   Porcelain   20th/21st century   Ape chapel   Kaendler, Johann Joachim  

Estimated shipping costs for this lot:
Germany: 26,89 Euro plus 5,11 Euro VAT
EU: 46,22 Euro plus 8,78 Euro VAT
Worldwide: 92,44 Euro plus 17,56 Euro VAT
additional shipping insurance