The Twinight Collection

The worldwide largest and most important private collection of Royal Berlin, Sèvres, and Vienna porcelain will come under the hammer in Berlin on 7th November. The Twinight Collection, which has previously been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, is graced with some of the finest porcelain of the early 19th century.

The first part of the legendary Twinight Collection - 155 lots - will come under the hammer at Lempertz Berlin on 7th November 2018. The collection of the New York businessman Richard Baron Cohen is without doubt the largest and most important private collection of early 19th century porcelain worldwide. Over the course of many years, the passionate collector travelled the world to bring together pieces from the most renowned dealers and auction houses. Exceptional works and royal orders from the Berlin, Sèvres, and Vienna manufactories ensure the Twinight Collection’s world-class museum quality status, meriting exhibitions in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, and the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna. The carefully selected items perfectly illustrate the transfer of knowledge and technical and artistic interconnection between the three leading European manufactories at the time. Only the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg can boast a similarly complete overview of porcelain production in the former half of the 19th century.

The most valuable item in the sale is a Berlin KPM vase in Münchener sorte no. 2 painted with eight views of Berlin, estimated at €200,000 – 250,000. An entry in the royal conto-buch describes the 60cm high vase as a birthday present for the Crown Prince of Bavaria Maximilian (II) in 1838. The engagement of Prussian Crown Prince Frederick William (IV) to Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1823 began a period of cultural exchange in which both parties frequently presented each other with gifts bearing Prussian vedutas and views of the Bavarian Alps. (lot 119)

A Berlin KPM vase made in 1817 depicting scenes from the battle of Vitoria estimated at €150,000 – 200,000 is a further important and highly valued item within the sale. Frederick William III commissioned numerous works from KPM Berlin as gifts for decorated British generals in the wake of the 1813 German Campaign against Napoleon. An identical vase with a depiction of the battle at Vitoria in the Basque Country was presented to the Duke of Wellington and is still kept at Apsley House in London to this day. (lot 141)

Further highlights of the sale include three pairs of ice pails from the wedding service of Princess Louise of Prussia and Prince Frederick of the Netherlands (estimate €30,000 – 40,000 per pair). According to Prussian court tradition, Frederick William III’s daughters each received extensive Royal Berlin dinner and dessert services decorated with motifs from the Prussian kingdom as wedding gifts. For Princess Louise, the porcelain vases depicting Charlottenburg Palace and gardens were a valuable reminder of her childhood. (lots 112 - 114)

The sale also includes a rare Sèvres plate from the service for the Départements made in 1828 and estimated at €15 – 20,000. The manufactory director at Sèvres Alexandre Brongniart originally designed this service for a ruler of France: First Charles X, then Louis Philippe. Today, most of the plates from the service are housed in the French foreign ministry and in museums in Paris and New York. (lot 96)

The exchange of ideas between European porcelain manufactories at the turn of the century manifested itself in numerous services of varying themes. For example a set of opulent vessels with handles and spouts formed as snakes made by KPM Berlin (lot 30, estimate €6,000 – 8,000), which was strongly inspired by the Sèvres manufactory’s model Oeuf et serpent. The French influence is again undeniable in the Vienna manufactory’s version of the same motif, a Royal Vienna déjeuner with snake-form handles estimated at €4,000 – 6,000. (lot 31) Napoleon’s expeditions to the Nile in 1798 – 1801 also provided almost all manufactories with a rich source of new motifs and designs in the Egyptian taste. Josiah Wegewood and Sèvres were the first to adopt the new style, but the Royal Vienna service in the Egyptian taste was soon to follow (lot 24, estimate €15,000 – 20,000), and Berlin produced their own version of a tête à tête in the Egyptian style in 1810, here estimated at €40,000 – 60,000. (lot 29)

Another fashion cultivated at all three manufactories was cameo painting, which was described as en camée, onyx or intaglio painting. The portraits of Classical heroes and contemporary personalities were designed to give the illusion of carved gemstone, creating a perfect imitation of its sculptural qualities. This sale includes a Berlin KPM cup and saucer with a cameo portrait of Tsar Alexander I estimated at €6,000 – 8,000 (lot 22) and a tondo with the Roman goddess of protection Fortuna Conservatrixsigned by G.F.A. Taubert and estimated at €6,000 – 8,000. (lot 13) The Sèvres manufactory is also represented by a plate with a painted cameo portrait of Aeneas, the legendary ancestor of Romulus and Remus and forefather of the Eternal City of Rome (lot 17, estimate €6,000 – 8,000). A Berlin KPM plate with a cameo portrait of Achilles painted by Gottfried Wilhelm Völcker, who was later to become director of the manufactory, is considered to be a copy of a plate from the Sèvresservice Iconographique grec which found its way to the KPM manufactory in 1814(lot 15 estimate €10,000 – 15,000).

A further exceptional rarity in the sale is a small porcelain plaque painted with a depiction of the Rittersaal at the Royal Palace in Berlin (estimate €30,000 – 50,000). The piece, measuring 29 x 33 cm, was commissioned by Frederick William IV and decorated by the Swedish artist Theophron Kjellberg with unparalleled precision. (lot 111)

The auction will take place on 7th November 2018 at Lempertz Berlin, Poststraße 22, 10178, Berlin. All items can be viewed at Lempertz Berlin as of 1st November 2018.

The Twinight Collection I - Auktion 1125 - Lempertz