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Luxury and Passion: Inventing French Porcelain
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Luxury and Passion celebrates the debut of a new acquisition, one of the earliest pieces of soft-paste porcelain made in France in the late 17th Century. The Potpourri Jar, one of the handful of experimental pieces made by the Poterat Manufactory in Rouen, France, is one of only about a dozen surviving works by this brief-lived company, and only the second example in a US museum–only four exist in museums worldwide. The new acquisition gives us the opportunity to feature almost the entire collection of the museum’s important 18th Century French porcelain holdings.

In this focus installation, the Nelson-Atkins explores how France launched itself into the domestic porcelain industry in the 17th and 18th centuries. This beautiful, durable type of ceramic was the focus of intense competition among European superpowers, all who raced to discover how to make this “white gold” for themselves, after falling in love with imported Asian wares.


Hero image: DETAIL Designed by Louis Poterat (French, 1641–1696). Made by Louis Poterat Manufactory (Rouen, France, 1690–1696). Potpourri Jar, ca. 1690–1696. Soft-paste porcelain with underglaze enamel decoration; 4 7/8 × 4 1/2 inches (12.4 × 11.4 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Purchase: the Lillian M. Diveley Fund, 2021.10