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Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden to show three centuries of the history of porcelain in two major exhibitions – August the Strong’s Porcelain Palace comes to life

Invitation to the press conference on 4 May 2010 in the Japanisches Palais, Dresden 

Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Colleagues,

Exactly 300 years ago August the Strong established Europe’s first porcelain manufactory in Meissen. Meissener Porzellan® (Meissen Porcelain) swiftly became an indispensable status symbol for the European aristocracy. Today, it continues to be the epitome of sophisticated table culture and luxurious room décor. In order to create an appropriate setting in which to indulge his “maladie de porcelaine”, the Elector planned to convert the Japanisches Palais into a Porcelain Palace. This project, however, was never completed. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are taking this year’s tercentenary of the invention of European porcelain as an opportunity to hold an exhibition of Meissen Porcelain for the first time at the venue which August the Strong dedicated to the presentation of the royal porcelain treasures – the Japanisches Palais.

The special exhibition “Triumph der blauen Schwerter. Meissener Porzellan® für Adel und Bürgertum 1710 - 1815” (Triumph of the Blue Swords. Meissen Porcelain for Gentry and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815) will present a comprehensive survey of Meissen porcelain art from the Baroque to the Biedermeier period. The exhibition will feature around 800 porcelain wares. Half of them are from among the holdings of the Dresden Porzellansammlung, the largest collection of 18th-century Meissen Porcelain. The other pieces on display will be loans from museums and collections in California, Moscow, New York, London, Paris, Prague and Budapest. In his design for this presentation, the Spanish exhibition architect Juan de Cubas has broken with traditional forms, displaying porcelain art in a minimalist manner.

In a second, simultaneous special exhibition entitled “Zauber der Zerbrechlichkeit. Meisterwerke europäischer Porzellankunst” (The Fascination of Fragility. Masterpieces of European Porcelain Art), the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden will also be celebrating the anniversary of European hard-paste porcelain in Berlin. The exhibition – organised in association with the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin – opens on 9 May 2010 in Berlin’s Ephraim-Palais. “The Fascination of Fragility” will present Meissen Porcelain within the context of European porcelain culture. Specimen pieces will illustrate both independent developments and mutual relations and interchange between the various manufactories.

We should like to invite you to the press conference being held to mark the opening of these exhibitions, which will take place at 11 a.m. on 4 May 2010 in the Japanisches Palais, Dresden. The Director-General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Prof. Martin Roth; the Director of the Porzellansammlung Dr. Ulrich Pietsch; Dr. Claudia Banz, Curator of the exhibition in Dresden and Dr. Theresa Witting, Curator of the exhibition in Berlin, will be available to answer your questions.

We look forward to welcoming you and would be pleased if you could send a brief reply to assist us in planning for this event.

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