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History of the Collection

The Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) was founded in 1876 as a collection showcasing the crafts and industry. Since 1963 it has been housed in the Wasserpalais and Bergpalais at Schloss Pillnitz, welcoming visitors to its exhibition rooms from the start of May to the end of October.

The Wasserpalais contains handcrafts from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. These include unique pieces of furniture from the Saxon prince electors’ Kunstkammer, Italian majolica tiles, artistically wrought iron railings and gothic church furnishings, such as the outstanding Pirna Antependium (altar frontal). The Yellow Tearoom, built in chinoiserie style in about 1900, offers a brief insight into the palace’s original furnishings.

The Bergpalais welcomes visitors with a magnificent hall designed in the japonaiserie style. Other originally furbished rooms are the Watteausaal (a dining hall with paintings in the style of Watteau by the Dresden artist Christian Ernst Dietrich) and three rooms with wall decorations by the architect Christian Traugott Weinlig.

The tour of the Bergpalais starts with a focus on manufactories. Eighteenth-century manufacturing is explained using the examples of furniture from Roentgen workshop, lacquered items from the Stobwasser manufactory, glasses from Dresdner Hütte, semifinished textile products and Dresden lace, along with Wedgwood ceramics. The exhibition continues on the upper floor with handicrafts from 1900 to the present.

Another special feature is the Hellerauer Werkstätten viewable storage depot in the east wing of the Bergpalais. A collection of unique scope demonstrates how living and working were redefined in visionary manner in Dresden around 1900.