Johannes Mikkel Collection
In the early 20th century, there were about a hundred and fifty valuable art collections in Estonia. Most of those were taken abroad, some perished in the two World Wars. One of the few private collections that was re-established after World War II is Johannes Mikkel’s rich assortment of Western European, Russian, Chinese and Estonian art from the 16th to 20th centuries.
In 1994, Johannes Mikkel donated his foreign art collection to the Art Museum of Estonia (over 600 items). In order to provide an exposition space for the collection, the renovation of the kitchen building of the Kadriorg Palace started in 1996; the opening of the Mikkel Museum took place on 25 June 1997.
Mikkel’s ceramics collection is one of the largest and most valuable of its kind in Estonia. It is almost the only local collection that provides quite a complete picture of the history of European porcelain art. The most important part of the collection is comprised of items from Meissen, Europe’s first and most important porcelain factory. The Pheasant Family, Lady with a Pug, Monkey Band and Venus in a Carriage are groups of figures that represent various styles, from Baroque to Neo-Classicism, in 18th-century plastic arts. They are also excellent examples of the work of Johann Joachim Kändler, Meissen’s head modeller. The other German porcelain factories, such as Berlin, Frankenthal, Gotha and others, are represented by individual figures and tableware.
In addition to the German factories, Mikkel’s collection includes a small selection of works from other old and important Western European porcelain companies. The factories are represented by typical works – Sèvres by a luxurious 18th-century vase; Vienna by a painted jug from the early 19th century and Copenhagen by animal figures from the early 20th century. Russian porcelain is represented by presentation vases in various styles form the second half of 18th century to early 20th century from the St. Petersburg Imperial Porcelain Factory and tableware from various manufacturers.