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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.
At Last - A New Lladró Book!
The Lladró Guide; A Collector's Reference to Retired Porcelain Figurines in Lladró Brands
My most recent Lladró book has revised and expanded content and
remains the only book in print on this topic that isn't just a catalog. Covers all Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands (regular collection, NAO, Zaphir, Golden Memories,
Hispania, Rosal, and Tang) and tells how to distinguish them from imitations and counterfeits.
Revised and expanded content includes
many new photos and a new chapter on future directions for collectors and the company now that it has
passed from family hands. The book is in hard cover, which eliminates
that annoying curl-up that happens with paperback books.You can order the book directly from the publisher, Schiffer Books,
or from your favorite bookstore using the ISBN 13 number 978-0764358395.
Warning: If you're looking for a catalog
of every retired figurine Lladró ever made, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for beautiful, full-color photos of
representative models and more in-depth and well-researched
information about Lladró and its history and production than you can get in thumbnail photos with captions,
this book is what you're looking for.
Retail Price in Hardcover: $45