The Splendor of Dresden: Five Centuries of Art Collecting, an Exhibition from the German Democratic Republic
June 1 – September 4, 1978
East Building, Concourse (18,000 sq. ft.)
This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
Overview: More than 700 paintings, drawings, prints, porcelains, scientific instruments, arms and armor, bronzes, and jeweled objects were on view. The selections from 8 museums of the state art collections of Dresden documented the history of art collecting by the rulers of Saxony over a 500-year period.
Organization: This was the largest of the 6 exhibitions celebrating the opening of the new East Building. It was organized by the National Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, with American and German experts, in particular Olga Raggio, chairman of the department of European sculpture and decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Coordinators at the National Gallery were Earl A. Powell III and Gaillard Ravenel.
The National Gallery's complex installation, designed by Gaillard Ravenel and Mark Leithauser, comprised 24 separate galleries, which re-created the ambiance of the original Dresden settings of the works. Of particular note was a 16th-century Kunstkammer and an exact copy of part of the installation in the Green Vault, constructed by Floyd Everly and his staff. Gordon Anson designed the exhibition lighting.
Sponsor: The exhibition was made possible through a grant from IBM Corporation, with additional funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Checklists: The Electoral Kunstkammer and The Porcelain Collection
Catalog: The Splendor of Dresden: Five Centuries of Art Collecting. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978.
Brochure: The Splendor of Dresden: Five Centuries of Art Collecting. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1978.
Other Venues: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 21, 1978–January 13, 1979
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, February 18–May 26, 1979