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After almost 70 Years: Reunited with the Swan Service

Handover Ceremony of the “Nereid” in the presence of the US Ambassador
Invitation to Report on Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 1:30 pm
Porzellansammlung, Langgalerie, Zwinger

Philip D. Murphy, Ambassador of the US to the Federal Republic of Germany, and his wife Tammy Murphy
Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine von Schorlemer, Saxon Minister of State of Science and Fine Arts
Prof. Dr. Martin Roth, Director General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Friedrich Leopold Graf von Brühl
Dr. Ulrich Pietsch, Director of the Porzellansammlung

After being dislocated from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and reported as a war loss in 1945, the Nereid, a sea nymph and a part of the legendary swan service of Heinrich Graf von Brühl (1700 – 1763), will return to its ancestral spot. Until now, the historic 18th century molding of this model the was located in the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, US

Next Thursday, 24 March 2011, the Ambassador of the US to the Federal Republic of Germany, Philip D. Murphy, will hand over the precious ceramic art work to the Saxon Minister of State of Science and Fine Arts, Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine von Schorlemer, to the Director General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Prof. Dr. Martin Roth, and to the Director of the Porzellansammlung, Dr. Ulrich Pietsch. The ceremony will take place in the presence of Friedrich Leopold Graf von Brühl, whose family left the table service to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in 1920.
Due to a fortunate coincidence, Dr. Ulrich Pietsch discovered the figure of the graceful sea nymph during a visit of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

With the help of X-ray and infrared image, the figure exhibited in Toledo, was compared with historical pictures of the war loss. Finally and without a doubt, the pictures proved that the figure from Toledo is identical with the missing Nereid from Dresden.

In August 1920, among 24 other loans, this object came from Pförten / Lower Lusatia (Polish Brody), the former seat of family von Brühl until 1945, to Dresden to the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Arts and Crafts). All these loans belonged to the elaborately designed swan table service, which once consisted of approximately 3,000 pieces. It was manufactured for the Prime Minister of the Saxon Elector and Polish King Augustus III (1696-1763) at the Porcelain Manufactory of Meissen between 1737 and 1742. Its leitmotif is the relief of two swans that face each other. In 1943 within the course of World War II, all loans of the von Brühl family were stored in two boxes and were deposited among the other holdings of the Dresden museums in Reichstädt Castle near Dippoldiswalde. After the end of the war, the two boxes were discovered, yet they were broken. From this point in time, ten of the loaned objects were assumed to be lost, including the Nereid.

As we know today, the Nereid arrived in the US through the art trade where it was purchased by the Toledo Museum of Art from Gallery Rosenberg & Stiebel in New York in 1956. After the proper identification of the Nereid as part of the Dresden swan service had been determined in a collegial effort, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helped, among others, to ensure the rapid return of the artwork.

There will be a second reason to celebrate on March 24th, 2011: The loan contract, which was signed in 1920 by the von Brühl family, will be renewed during the ceremony, guaranteeing that the Porzellansammlung may present the Nereid among other holdings of the swan service.

You are kindly invited to report on the ceremony and we ask you to accredit via Mrs. Marion Schmidt, 0049-(0)351-49-14-2643.



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