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03-02-12

Johann Christian »Neuber à Dresde«. Neoclassical Treasury Art for the Aristocracy of Europe

Johann Christian »Neuber à Dresde«.
Neoclassical Treasury Art for the Aristocracy of Europe
An exhibition of the Grünes Gewölbe
3 March to 2 May 2012
Exhibition site: Sponsel Room in the Neues Grünen Gewölbes at the Dresden Royal Palace
Opening hours: daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Tuesdays

Working as a goldsmith at the royal court of Friedrich August III, Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808) influenced the culture and goldsmith art almost as strongly as the famous court gold smith Johann Melchior Dinglinger (1664-1731), who had acted 50 years before. Today Prof. Dr. Dirk Syndram, acting Director General and Director of the Grünes Gewölbe and the Rüstkammer of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dr. Jutta Kappel, head conservator of the Grünes Gewölbe and curator of the exhibition and one of the most important lenders Henri François Marquis de Breteuil presented the exhibition that is taking place in the Grünes Gewölbe between 3 March and 2 May 2012.

“With this exhibition that is long past time and that unites 44 works by Neuber, the oeuvre of one of the most important goldsmith artists of European Classicism is celebrated for the first time in the city of its creation,” says Dr. Jutta Kappel.

Together with well-known artists of the Meißen Porcelain Manufactory, Neuber worked on large representative centrepieces as well as on diplomatic gifts of the highest rank, which were used to demonstrate the Saxon wealth of colourful gemstones in an aesthetic form of its own. Neuber’s artworks were known beyond the borders of Dresden.
Even today, the boxes created by him remain precious collectibles and reach high prices in the art market. With his box-shaped, set in gold stone cabinets, Neuber responded to the desires of European aristocracy who demanded luxury and beauty. At the same time and in accordance with the thoughts of Enlightenment, the artist was able to impart mineralogical knowledge through the often times attached lists of the used Saxon gemstones.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Syndram thanked Alexis Kugel, who is one of the most renowned art dealers worldwide, for his support to have compiled typical “Neuber boxes” for this exhibition from private collections. They will be presented alongside objects from the holdings of the Grünes Gewölbe. For the first time, it is possible to experience an exquisite collection of these precious objects in the Grünes Gewölbe. I am certain that the exhibition will attract attention well beyond the borders of Dresden, because it will also travel to New York and Paris.”

For the first time, one of Neuber’s ornate tables will go on view outside of France. It was a diplomatic token of gratitude that was presented by Friedrich August III. of Saxony to Louis Auguste Baron de Breteuil, who was tremendously responsible for the formation of the peace treaty of Teschen in May of 1779. Furthermore, in the Dresden exhibition a figure group made of Meißen porcelain will be presented on its original plinth that was likewise designed by Neuber and decorated with Saxon gemstones. Even this artwork was part of a large donation, which was meant for Duke Repnin, who led the peace negotiations of Teschen in 1779 for the Russia side. Newly discovered drawings from the archive of the Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH are exhibited for the first time. They impressively illustrate the colorfulness of the “Neuber plinth”, which once belonged to the donation for Duke Repnin.

The Dresden exhibition shows exceptional artworks of Neuber’s oeuvre on a small scale. Not only did classical creations from Meißen porcelain and skillfully set Saxon gemstones advertise the wealth of the country and the reputation of its rulers, but also did they help the famous Dresden goldsmith art with a rich tradition to renewed European prestige.

Being a result of international cooperation, the exhibition will go on view in a slightly altered form in the famous Frick Collection in New York (29 May to 19 August 2012). Afterwards, it will be shown in the Galerie Kugel in Paris (12 September to 10 November 2012).

Dr. Stephan Adam
Pressesprecher und Leiter Kommunikation
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Postfach 12 05 51
01006 Dresden                                                      
Tel. ++49-351-49 14 2643
Fax ++49-351-49 14 2366
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