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Moonlighting Lladró Sculptor(s)?
When I first began to notice that a few of the
very same early models in NAO had also been made in the regular
Lladró-marked line, I also noted that nearly every one of these
"cloned" models had Fulgencio García as its core collection sculptor of
record. I was able to determine, at least to my own
satisfaction and based on known production chronologies in the
regular collection and the relative age of marks, that, in cases
involving this "twinning," the NAO version
was sometimes, at least, the older of the two.
García was known to be one of the very earliest of the Lladró
sculptors; some of the decimal-point models attributed to him in Lladró
sources date from the early- to mid-1950s. This was long before the
Lladró brothers would have been in any position to hire a stable of
their own sculptors. So my thinking has always been that García must
been working elsewhere when he was doing his earliest core collection
It's also possible that García was never really "in" the Lladró stable
in the sense of being a salaried employee; perhaps he and other early
scultpors were always free agents, as I have no way of knowing
what the nature was of their work arrangements with Lladró. In either case, recent evidence suggests that as late
as the early 1980s, García was freelancing for at least one other company
besides Lladró - and, surprisingly, that the company was based
in the U.S. It is almost equally clear that he wasn't keen to have
people make the connection between his work for the American company and his role at
The items in question were called "Cecilia the Carnation Maiden" and
"Patricia of the Primroses,"
produced in 1983 by Franklin Porcelain of Franklin, Pennsylvania (perhaps
affiliated with the Franklin Mint). There may also have been other items in
the series based on this "girl of the flowers" theme.
Right, "Patricia of the Primroses," made by Fulgencio García
for Franklin Porcelain in Pennsylvania, an apparent subsidiary of the Franklin
Mint in 1983 but perhaps no longer in operation. The style is vaguely
"Valencian" but doesn't much look
like Fulgencio García's.
At first, I was inclined to dismiss the notion that this was Lladró's
I just couldn't fathom that the then already aging sculptor would have gone
this far afield of his
home geography. Besides, I didn't think either the style - or, frankly,
the quality of the
Franklin models - was consistent with his work as I knew it in Lladró. But I
was finally convinced by a preponderence of evidence presented to me by other
collectors that the "Fulgencio" whose
first name is inscribed on the Franklin pieces as their sculptor was in fact Lladró's
Fulgencio García. My inquiries to the Franklin Mint as to the identity of the
sculptor went unresponded to - despite my enclosure of a stamped, self-addressed
Left, "Cecilia the Carnation Maiden," designed for Franklin
Porcelain by Fulgencio García, one of Lladró's most esteemed
older artists. One can't help asking why, as the style and execution
can hardly be said to represent a step up in the sculptor's artistic development.
Perhaps this arrangement with Franklin was simply a way to make
some extra money, much as a literary artist will sometimes
try to make a living by supplementing his serious work with more saleable
genre novels such as westerns or romances.
It became plain to me, from the ambiguous
artist attribution for this item as well as its style,
which is not really what one usually associates
with García's, that some considerable lengths had been gone to in order to protect the
sculptor's identity - such as might be the case had García been moonlighting
and not necessarily have wanted that fact to be known back in Lladró's
"Porcelain City" - or such as might have been the case in a reverse scenario
where Lladró could have given him leave to develop models elsewhere as long as they
weren't in any way traceable to his work for Lladró.
There are any number of questions I'd have loved to have asked my
favorite Lladró sculptor, Fulgencio
García, had I been a journalist interviewing him - or
had I been at least a fly on the wall.
Alas, that window has closed forever: Fulgencio García died in 1994
at the age of 79.
A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró
by Peggy Whiteneck
Old Line Publishing, LLC
The publisher for this book has ceased publication, and I am now at work on a revised
and expanded edition, with a couple of promising leads for a new publishing option.
For the moment, then, this book will only be available on the retail market from
advance-ordered stock. You can still buy it used - but avoid the scalpers
and DO NOT PAY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS FOR THESE SECOND-HAND BOOKS! There are plenty of
reasonably priced secondary market copies still available at online book sellers. Stay tuned to
this site for future news on the revised edition!
Ever since its founding in the 1950s and its subsequent, stellar rise to global prominence,
collectors have been fascinated with the singular modeling and attention to detail in
Lladró Spanish porcelain figurines. Eventually, collectors discovered that Lladró
wasn't just one brand, but several. At the same time, other companies began to sprout up all
over Spain, particularly around Lladró's own region in Valencia, working
"in the Lladró style" and hoping to catch a ride on the tailwinds of its popularity.
This book is written to acquaint readers with retired figurines in all the Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands and to help distinguish them from the work of other Spanish
companies. The book features substantive chapters on the Lladró "core brand,"
NAO by Lladró, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Rosal, and Hispania, complete with
representative photos for each brand.
Retail Price: $29.95