Designer Karl L. H. Müller American
Union Porcelain Works American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

The Union Porcelain Works was one of the most important porcelain manufactories in America during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and the most significant firm in the New York area. Although it maintained a successful bread-and-butter production of hotelware, its fame derives from the hire of German-born sculptor Karl L. H. Muller in advance of the nation’s Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, for which he designed a large number of major exhibition pieces. This vase was made in the years the Centennial. Large in scale, it features elaborate ornamentation in raised gold paste and raised colored enamels, and reveals the period’s penchant for decoration inspired by various non-Western sources; it integrates together in a single vase, inspiration from both Japan, in the applied sculptural lizards, and the Islamic world, in the foliate and scroll decoration.

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