-a scaled miniature reproduction of an 18th century German porcelain
Edition: Artist Proofs: 100, Limited Editions: 750
Era: Olszewski Studios
Art Form: Painted Bronze
Size: 1 7/32"
Identifying Mark: 11
First Year of Issue: 1996
First Year Issue Price: Artist Proof: $480.00, LE: $240.00
Highest Known Price Paid:
Artist's Age: 51
HISTORY: I first came upon "Oriental Lovers" in 1977, and after studying its complexity knew I needed to set it aside for a later date. The original was done in Germany in the 18th century and is an early example of the European fascination with the Orient. After the return of Marco Polo, European trade with the Orient expanded to include a greately prized new material, hard-paste porcelain. Great sums of money were paid for porcelain wares and it took the Europeans 400 years to discover the recipe to make hard-paste porcelain.
At first the great output of European porcelain factories was for dinner services, but later the material was expanded into use for figurative works. These first porcelain figurines were used for decorations for table settings to promote festive dinner conversation at parties. The figurines reflected contemporary themes of the day such as the Italian comedies, just as we today might talk about the latest movies or plays we've seen.
This early fascination with the Orient was also reflected in works such as "Oriental Lovers". "Lovers" is an Oriental subject but executed in a Western style. The fluid lines and gold accents of the background trellis provide a rich setting for the couple. In order to capture the spirit of the original and match the great amount of gold work, we set aside our best detail painter to exclusively work on the gold, a task that took 15 weeks to complete. The studio hopes you will notice the great amount of care that was taken in the painting. Each color, line, shadow and highlight is considered so that the subject "two lovers meeting" is enhanced and not interfered with by heavy-handed execution.
But even before painting, we had to solve the complexity of the model itself. I had doubts until the very end that we could even get the piece out of a mold. Notice the tiny openings in the trellis alone. Each opening has to release perfctly from the mold while retaining the fine details of the trellis curls and flowers. Now you can begin to understand why I set this image aside so long ago. As time went on, the more I realized what a cihallenge this little gem would be.
Overcoming the technical challenges is part of the fun of any piece and the better the subject, the harder we work to capture it. This piece is just what the title describes, two lovers meeting in a garden. While carving, i spent a lot of time thinking over the meeting of the "lovers" and enjoyed the subtlety of their poses. Notice the man and how he leans toward the lady, politely, and with restraint. Also notice the young lady's upright posture, definitely a lady, and that each is focusing on the book, not looking at one another. These clues lead me to think it is very early in the relationship and also that perhaps the book might be a gift. After living with these musings, I decided to add a subtle hint for those that might never read this text, and carved a heart shape in the trellis just above their heads, a happy conclusion for the carver and the "Oriental Lovers".