extended until September 26, 2021

MUC / Schmuck. Perspectives on a private Munich Jewelry Collection

    An exhibition at the Münchner Stadtmuseum in cooperation with Prof. Karen Pontoppidan and her students at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich

    From the end of the 19th century, goldsmithing became an increasingly important craft in Munich, so much so that many goldsmiths and jewelry artists can still be found living and working in the city today. This is in no small part due to the internationally renowned class of jewelry and hollowware offered by the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. The Münchner Stadtmuseum has been fortunate to acquire a stunning collection of Munich jewelry mainly dating from the period between the 1880s and 1930s. It has joined forces with students from the Academy of Fine Arts and Karen Pontoppidan, their professor, to mount an exhibition that not only offers visitors insights into these historical works and their backgrounds, but also showcases today’s budding jewelry artists, their curriculum, academic approaches and creative works. The collection itself has been assembled over a period of several decades by the great jewelry connoisseur Dr. Beate Dry-von Zezschwitz and is the perfect complement to the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s own collection. Its acquisition was funded by the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States).

    After extensive discussion, the Münchner Stadtmuseum and Professor Pontoppidan and her students jointly selected seven important historical themes for the students to explore from a contemporary vantage point. One such theme relates to the ways in which artists draw on the past in their own work. Indeed, 19th century jewelry art in Munich is well known for its assimilation and revival of historical styles and techniques. Theodor Schallmayer (b. 1861), for example, chose Renaissance and Rococo designs for his jewelry. This fascination with ancient styles and techniques lingered on after the turn of the century. In the years after 1907, Munich’s goldsmiths such as Adolf von Mayrhofer (b. 1861, Miesbach – d. 1929, Munich) and Max Strobl (b. 1861, Munich – d. 1946, Munich) favored designs from prehistoric and early times such as the Bronze Age spiral motif, while in the first half of the 1920s, Johann Michael Wilm (b. 1885, Dorfen – d. 1963, Munich) revisited with considerable success the granulation technique first perfected by the Etruscans. The 1920s also saw the revival of ancient stone carving techniques by artists such as Martin Seitz (b. 1895, Passau – d. 1988, Passau) and Friedrich Schmid-(Geiler) (b. 1889, Munich). It is intriguing to see how today’s Fine Arts students have approached the theme of historical styles and techniques. We can appreciate their responses to these socially and culturally embedded historical pieces in the new works that they have created for this exhibition.

    The exhibition also explores flora and fauna as a key theme. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Munich’s jewelry artists made extensive use of motifs inspired by nature. The creative Arts and Crafts representation of the invisible but tangible forces of nature, as practiced at the “Debschitz School”, founded in Munich in 1902, even gave rise to decidedly abstract works. This can clearly be seen in the collection’s belt buckle by Marie von Ortloff (b. 1871, Themar – d. 1947, Munich). The contemporary works produced by the students imaginatively reflect an even wider understanding of nature. They employ natural materials to illustrate their value in different cultures, use imitations of these same materials to address social questions and probe our modern relationship with nature via manmade materials such as ocean plastics.

    The exhibition also explores contemporary trends, non-European influences, special occasions and events, Munich as a city and the theme of faces/portraits. It opens with a display of pieces by Karl Rothmüller (b.1860, Teisbach – d. 1930, Munich) whose works are central to the historical collection. In 1920, Rothmüller, who was often referred to as the “Lalique of Munich”, encouraged Therese Danner to establish the Benno and Therese Danner Applied Arts Foundation (Danner Foundation). This institution, unique within Germany celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. In the occasion of this anniversary, the Neue Sammlung is also showing works by Karl Rothmüller in the Exhibition “Danner Prize 2020. 100 years Danner Foundation“. The objects are on display alongside the works of this year's winners of the Danner Prize and further contestants.

    The exhibition offers visitors a back-and-forth dialogue between around 100 historical items of jewelry and some 30 contemporary works created by Prof. Karen Pontoppidan’s students.

    Jewelry artists

    Dry-von Zezschwitz collection (selected artists)

    Karl Johann Bauer (b. 1877, Munich – d. 1914 Wytschaete/Flanders)
    Ludwig Bub (b.1896, Nuremberg – d. 1954, Idar-Oberstein)
    Sofie Burger-Hartmann (b. 1868, Munich – d. 1940, Munich)
    Theodor Heiden (b. 1853, Munich – d. 1928, Munich)
    Charlotte Krause (b. 1879, Pirna – d. 1968, Dresden)
    Adolf von Mayrhofer (b. 1864, Miesbach – d. 1929, Munich)
    Max Olofs (b. 1889, Munich – d. 1969, Munich)
    Marie von Ortloff (b. 1871, Themar – d. 1947, Munich)
    Hans Ottmann (b. 1890, Augsburg – d. 1968, Munich)
    Karl Rothmüller (b. 1860, Teisbach – d. 1930, Munich)
    Friedrich Schmid(-Geiler) (b. 1889, Munich)
    Gertraud von Schnellenbühel (b. 1878, Jena – d. 1959, Jena)
    Alwin Schreiber (b. 1876, Bautzen – d. 1959, Unterhaching)
    Martin Seitz (b. 1895, Passau – d. 1988, Passau)
    Max Strobl (b.1861, Munich – d. 1946, Munich)
    Nikolaus Thallmayr (b. 1875, Vilsbiburg – d. 1925, Munich)
    Franz (b. 1897, Dorfen – d. 1961, Dorfen) and Hermann Wandinger (b. 1897, Dorfen – d. 1976, Dorfen)
    Carl Weishaupt Goldsmith and Silverware Manufacturer (founded 1692)
    Johann Michael Wilm (b. 1885, Dorfen – d. 1963, Munich)

    Students of Prof. Pontoppidan

    Paul Adie (1984 Glasgow, Scotland)
    Marion Blume (1983 Munich, Germany)
    Yi Cao (1991 Jiangsu, China)
    Danni Chen (1987 Jinan, China)
    Isu Choi (1987 Seoul, South Korea)
    Kanako Ebisawa (1986 Akita, Japan)
    Patrik Graf (1986 Munich, Germany)
    Jiangyue Guo (1989 Harbin, China)
    Joohee Han (1986 Ulsan, South Korea)
    Arisa Inoue (1988 Hyogo, Japan)
    Mariko Kakinaga (1994 Chiba, Japan)
    Saika Matsuda (1986 Tokyo, Japan)
    Florian Clemens Meier (1991 Munich, Germany)

    Maria Eugenia Munoz (1975 Montevideo, Uruguay)
    Masayuki Nagata (1986 Chiba, Japan)
    Xianou Michelle Ni (1972 Wenzhou, China)
    Nora Reitelshöfer (1993 Fürth, Germany)
    Regina Rupp (1992 Isny, Germany)
    Daniella Saraya (1988 Tel Aviv, Israel)
    Juana Sierra (1979 Bogota, Columbia)
    Nelly Stein (1986 Weimar, Germany)
    Asako Takahashi (1986 Matsue, Japan)
    Suvi Tupola (1986 Kangasala, Finnland)
    Yan Ren (1977 Shanghai, China)
    Sarah Powell (1984 Dorset, England)
    Jiye Yun (1988 Chuncheon, Südkorea)


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