Kändler's Taxa records the model as 'A Harlequin with his hat making a very deep bow. 2 Thalers.', and Ingelore Menzhausen has suggested that the inspiration for this grussender Harlequin model is the engraving of the Expulsion of the Italian Comedians in 1697 after a lost painting of Watteau. Meredith Chilton, in Harlequin Unmasked (Yale University Press 2001), pp. 124-126, discusses this specific bowing pose, which appears to reflect a movement performed by the Commedia dell'Arte actors. She also illustrates the example in the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, fig. 199, and quotes Pierre Rameau's description of the pose in his 1714 publication Maître à danser:
'In regard to the passing bow, this is done in the same manner as the bow forwards, save the body must be turned diagonally towards the persons you salute. That is, you turn half-sideways towards them, sliding forwards the foot that is nearest them, whether it be the right or the left, bending at the waist and inclining the head at the same time...'
The present example shows counter-changed decoration in strong and simple tones, typical of the best pieces decorated under the modellmeister's personal supervision, and another example of this figure with very similar colouring (without the Sgraffito lines) was sold in these Rooms on 9th July 2001, lot 236. Also see Dr. Erika Pauls-Eisenbeiss, German Porcelain of the 18th Century (1972), Vol. I, pp. 272-273 for a list of the other known examples. An additional example (with a checquered jacket) was sold in these Rooms on 13th December 2001, lot 247.
A MEISSEN FIGURE OF THE 'GREETING HARLEQUIN'
18th Century, Sculptures, Statues & Figures, figure, porcelain, Meissen, Baroque
EUROPEAN CERAMICS, GLASS & CHINESE EXPORT ART
6 1/16 in. (15.4 cm.) high
The René Fribourg Collection, sale Sotheby's, London, 15th October 1963, lot 488
With the Antique Porcelain Company, New York
Nelson Rockefeller Collection, sale Sotheby's New York, 11th April 1980, lot 185.