Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Liechtenstein Museum Shows Glass and Porcelain from Two Private Collections

VIENNA.- Radiance and colour are the two elements that connect glass and porcelain, their motivation and motifs reflecting the spirit of the epochs – Baroque, Neoclassical and Biedermeier – in which they were created. A comprehensive assemblage of around 700 objects from the private collections of Christian Kuhn and Rudolf von Strasser provides rare insights into a fascinating aspect of these decorative arts. On exhibition at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna through 12 January, 2010.

Two private Viennese collections
With its mainly Bohemian Biedermeier glasses, the Kuhn Collection displays the rich variety and colourfulness of the art of glass, presenting veduta glasses together with cut and engraved glasses by renowned artists such as Kothgasser, Biemann or Egermann together with gems by unknown masters. The focus of the collection lies however on various kinds of stone glass with its impressive marbling. Rudolf von Strasser, known to professional circles as a collector of glass, here shows the complete holdings of Viennese porcelain from his collection. From the imaginative shapes of the Baroque to the ‘grotesques’ of the Hausmaler Ignaz Preissler, and the opulent gold relief decoration of the Neoclassical age to the delicate floral painting of the Biedermeier era, these fine porcelain objects provide not only a blaze of colour but also reflect the historical circumstances of the period in which they were made.

Two arts born of fire
The fascination of these two delicate and fragile materials – glass and porcelain – and their mysterious creation in the heat of the fire have a long history. In the early modern period they were objects of wonder in princely cabinets of curiosities. The Renaissance and Baroque produced graceful creations in glass, while the 18th century found its favourite material with the discovery of the arcanum, the formula enabling the production of genuine European porcelain. At the beginning of the 19th century, technical and scientific developments had led to close connections between the two materials. This is demonstrated by the juxtaposition of these two private collections and will constitute a focus of the exhibition. For example, it was not uncommon for porcelain painters to paint on glass and vice versa, resulting in an exchange of techniques and artistic knowledge.

Radiance and colour
Colour is a fundamental element of decoration with both materials. As early as the Baroque age, a strong palette of colours started to develop and become popular on porcelain, attaining perfection in the heyday of Neoclassicism.The Princely Collections embrace major European works of art spanning five centuries and are among the world’s most important private collections of art today. The holdings date back to the 17th century. Like many other collections of this period, it is rooted in the baroque ideal of engaged princely patronage of the arts. For generations, the House of Liechtenstein has remained true to this ideal and systematically extended its collections. An active purchasing policy results in a number of spectacular new acquisitions, thereby making an impressive statement. Visit :

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