Rare toilet services, silver and porcelain tea sets and Mendini’s unique 100% Make Up series of vases will all be on show at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag from 15 March to 12 October 2008. New to the collection and central to this presentation are two Hague porcelain tea sets dating from around 1780 and donated to the Gemeentemuseum by a private owner in 2007. The painted figures on the cups, saucers, jugs and plates are dressed in the attire of the period and therefore give a good impression of late 18th-century fashions.
Between 1776 and 1790, four porcelain factories were active in the Netherlands. At the one in The Hague, imported porcelain was decorated with hand-painted landscapes, townscapes, birds and human figures. This skilfully painted Hague porcelain quickly became popular among the Dutch aristocracy and in wealthy middle-class circles. Its highly detailed decoration will be the main focus of this presentation, in which the new acquisitions will be accompanied by a number of splendidly decorated vases and services. To illustrate the theme of tea-drinking, other top pieces will be added from the museum’s collections of Hague silver, Dutch delftware and oriental porcelain.
The museum is also exhibiting three extremely rare silver toilet services. During the 17th century, sets of this kind came into vogue at the French court. Since the court in The Hague tended to take its lead from France, it quickly adopted this fashion, which was then in turn rapidly copied by other upper-class families in The Hague. The services included all the objects then required for personal grooming: powder boxes, brushes, combs, pin trays, scent bottles, candlesticks and mirrors. Evidence that toilet sets were not a wholly feminine fashion is provided by a very unusual silver toilet service dating from 1762 which belonged to an eleven-year-old boy called Hans Willem van Aylva. In addition to powder boxes and a mirror, it includes a shaving bowl and a soap dish.
Finally, the exhibition includes Mendini’s 100% Make Up series: 100 vases decorated by a hundred different artists. The white porcelain prototype was designed by Mendini. The chosen artists included Robert Venturi, Philippe Starck and Peter Struycken, and were drawn from all over the world. Their cultural diversity produced a unique result, consisting of a hundred designs which each interpret the phenomenon of the vase in a completely different and individual way. Thanks to the individual artists’ contributions, the series provides a unique overview of the state of the art in late twentieth-century ceramics.