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Jacob Petit Vases Gifted to Mexican Governors by Archduke Maximilian
- This collection of four Rococo revival vases was crafted by master porcelain artisan Jacob Petit
- Executed with meticulous precision, each vase is adorned with intricate depictions of Mexican scenes
- The set combines peerless French artistry with a unique Mexican provenance
- When Archduke Maximilian was appointed emperor of Mexico, he commissioned these vases as a gift
- Get complete item description here
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This specific set of vases holds historical significance tied to Napoleon III's French intervention in Mexico from 1862 to 1867. During this time, Archduke Maximilian of Austria was appointed as the Emperor of Mexico under the Second Mexican Empire. To solidify relations with the Mexican Provinces' Governors, Maximilian commissioned Jacob Petit to craft a pair of these ornate vases to be gifted to each Governor. However, the Mexican Republic was eventually restored in 1867, leading to the execution of Emperor Maximilian.
Reflecting Maximillian’s desire for diplomacy and easing of French and Mexican relations, one side of each vase renders a significant Mexican architectural space and the other shows a narrative vignette of figures. The name of each depicted scene is inscribed along the bottom.
Vase one is inscribed Plaza mayor de Mexico on the front, showing a unique bird’s eye view of what still stands today as the Zócalo of Mexico City. The reverse side is inscribed Una fiesta en El Palacio de Medici and depicts a group of finely-attired revelers dancing.
Vase two features a scene entitled Interior de Mexico on the front and Salida para la pesca, or a fishing trip, on the back.
Vase three depicts the Interior de Zacatecas on the front and Lorenzo de Medici Letoria de Francia on the back.
Vase four depicts a scene entitled Veracruz Veracruz on the front and Paseo Sorre el Agua on the back.
While Maximillian’s gift did not result in a peaceful transfer of power, the vases still remained important in Mexican history, with their subsequent provenance attributed to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. A prominent Mexican military leader and politician, Santa Anna served as the President of Mexico on multiple occasions and famously led Mexican forces in a 13-day siege of the Alamo Mission, ultimately defeating the Texans in the infamous battle.
After Santa Anna, these beautiful rococo-style vases continued to be held by yet another prominent Mexican figure, renowned Mexican actress and singer María Félix. A prolific collector of Jacob Petit porcelain, these stunning objet d’art combined Felix’s affinity for Parisian style with her pride for her home country and they formed a focal point of the iconic actress's renowned collection.
Jacob Petit, a prominent figure in the 19th-century porcelain industry, founded his own porcelain firm in Fontainebleau after gaining experience as a painter at the renowned porcelain factory in Sèvres. His work became synonymous with the Rococo revival movement, characterized by intricate designs and vibrant colors. His pieces were celebrated for their novel and original character, with bright golds, pinks, greens, and blues adorning his creations. Today, Jacob Petit's work is celebrated in esteemed museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
L'Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie, Paris, 1834. References:
L’industrie exposition de 1834, Paris: L. Tenré, 1834, by Stéphane Flachat, p. 46-47.
"Jacob Petit, Le plus romantique des porcelainiers parisiens", L'Estampille/Objet d'art, No 311, March 1997, p. 51.
Gifted to the Governors of Mexico by Archduke Maximillian, Circa 1864
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
M.S. Rau, New Orleans