At the end of the nineteenth century, convinced that ornament should be appropriate to form and material, advocates of modernism criticized revivalist pottery as uninspired and pretentious. Imitation and love of display were cited as roadblocks to progress in the potter’s art. Made in a Renaissance-revival style, this cup was an official presentation piece for the winner of first prize at the Exposition Universelle of 1878. Of the disdained French national manufactory at Sèvres, one critic wrote, "The colors are insipid and often vulgar; the decoration rarely quits the beaten track of the usual Sèvres flower and figure subjects. Sèvres is lingering in the traditions of [the past]. It remains deaf to the fame of living and modern art."
Inscription: Inscribed within panel: EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE INTERNATIONALE/MDCCCLXXVIII PARIS
Marking: Printed in red enamel on underside:  RF DECORE A SEVRES / 79 in a circle, (Sèvres factory mark and year 1879)
Printed in green enamel on underside:  S.79 in oval (mark of manufacture)
Painted in dark blue enamel on underside:  HF monogram (decorator's mark for François Hallion)
Henry M. Flagler ; [ Earle D. Vandekar Inc. , New York, until 1990; sold to MMA ]