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White vase in honor of Louis XV, part of garniture of five the Three Graces, wearing crowns of France, Saxony, Poland/Lithuania
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by N.F. Karlins

Politics and esthetics -- strange bedfellows, but the two add up to a beautiful and unusual exhibition in "Fragile Diplomacy: Meissen Porcelain for European Courts, ca. 1710-63," now at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture. This impressive loan show combines early European porcelain with a history lesson on shifting alliances in the 18th century.