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Chairman of the Board of Directors of Imperial Porcelain Мanufactory Joint-Stock Co.
It is about three centuries now since the date when the Imperial Porcelain Manu factory was founded. The enterprise has a lot to be proud of both in its past and present and, I would like to believe, in its future. It has always been the centre of Russian porcelain art, the wares created within its walls are a model of true taste and the factory’s artists are trend-setters in this field.
Together with the whole country the factory survived through all historical ordeals and responded to major events with remarkable works of art and technological discoveries. The famous propaganda porcelain expressed in a vivid and unusual form the new Soviet ideology. During the years of the First World War and the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the enterprise provided for the needs of the front in crockery for hospitals, mastered the production of optical glass, chemical and technical porcelain.
The theme of war was treated by the factory’s artists, but it did not become the prevailing motif of their porcelain wares. On returning to the factory the famous porcelain master Alexey Vorobyevsky destroyed several of his works featuring the war and said: “Porcelain must be beautiful.” Several generations of the factory’s artists have shared this axiom to this day. The team of professional artists is our competitive advantage in business. Few enterprises in this industry could allow this. But it is only such a union of advanced mechanization with imaginative creativity that makes it possible for us to develop and maintain the status of the Academy of Porcelain. The said words may be confirmed by the unabated interest of researchers and art collectors in both historical and contemporary porcelain. Every year leading museums of the country arrange exhibitions, round tables and conferences with Russian porcelain as their inexhaustible theme, focusing primarily on the wares produced at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory. In the year of the 275th Anniversary we would like to share with viewers our joy of contemplating the best works created at the legendary enterprise. The present edition will give you a chance to trace the art history of the manufactory – from the first Russian dinner service to conceptual spatial compositions of our days.
In 1744, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna established by her decree the Neva Porcelain Manufactory, which marked the beginning of the history of Russian porcelain. 275 years have passed since that date, which cover several historical periods. Despite the changes of owners, political regimes and artistic tastes, living through wars and revolutions, the earliest porcelain enterprise of the Russian state, the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, continues its history looking steadily forward.
Artistic porcelain reflected the tastes of crowned commissioners, dominating styles and art trends characteristic of different eras, major historic events and social ideas. For more than 150 years, until the revolution of 1917, the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory created unique articles and dinner sets with the monogram of the ruling monarch. They decorated majestic receptions and everyday life of the imperial residences, were presented as gifts to members of the imperial family and their entourage or were used as valuable diplomatic gifts. The propaganda porcelain, produced at the State Porcelain Factory during the first years of Soviet power, entered the history of world art as a highly remarkable phenomenon. In 1925, to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Russian Academy, the factory was named after the great Russian scholar Mikhail Lomonosov. Several years later the articles of the factory began to bear the ЛФЗ mark, which for many years became a symbol of high-quality products. In 2005, upon the initiative of its auctioneers the enterprise has regained its historical name of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, which has definitely determined a new era in the development of artistic porcelain.
We are happy that in the 21st century the earliest porcelain enterprise of Russia continues its progress and enjoys one of its most interesting periods: the best traditions of different epochs are being revived and employed for works produced by contemporary masters. At the same time artists explore new possibilities of the material presenting original individual perceptions of the present and future of the art of porcelain.
Articles produced at the manufactory from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present day are regularly displayed at exhibitions and occupy a notable place in the leading museums of Russia; they are invariably in high demand among art collectors and lovers of porcelain. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the people who are involved in the creation of porcelain wares. Thanks to the everyday concerted efforts of hundreds of top-class experts, relying on rich traditions and incessant creative quests, the art of Russian porcelain continues its impressive development. The publication of this art book, a kind of guide to the history of our enterprise, is timed to coincide with the 275th Anniversary of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory. We sincerely hope that the book will appeal to the widest possible range of readers and will give them a joy of contact with true art.
Director General of Imperial Porcelain Мanufactory Joint-Stock Co.