Project organizer: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
A research and restoration project of the Museum of Decorative Arts Dresden (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) within the broader framework of the first global special exhibition on Latz in 2020
The Museum of Decorative Arts of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) boasts the world’s largest and most prominent collection of furniture by the renowned Parisian cabinetmaker Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754). The collection comprises 20 ensembles with 30 individual pieces.
Considered one of the most prominent ébénistes of the Louis XV style, Latz created furniture characterized by high-quality marquetry and highly sculptural bronzes made of fire-gilded brass. His work ranks among the most outstanding examples of mid-18th century Parisian cabinetmaking. Even during his day, Latz’s artistry was highly acclaimed. In addition to Augustus III of Poland (Frederick Augustus II, Prince-Elector of Saxony, 1696-1763) and his prime minister Heinrich, count von Brühl (1700-1763), their greatest political rival, Frederick the Great (1712-1786) of Prussia, acquired a vast collection of Latz furniture. Another large collection has been verified in the northern Italian city of Parma, which was likely purchased by the daughter of Louis XV, Élisabeth of France.
In addition to the Museum of Decorative Arts Dresden, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation and the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome (Parma collection), furniture by Jean-Pierre Latz can be found today in such renowned collections as the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Chicago Art Institute, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Wallace Collection (London), the Royal Collection Trust (Great Britain) and the Collection Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon).
The pieces in the Dresden Latz collection can be traced without a gap from inventories made in 1768 of the Dresden Royal Palace and Moritzburg Castle to their entry into the Museum of Decorative Art Dresden. Besides this remarkable uninterrupted provenance, the Dresden Latz collection is further distinguished by its practically untouched, authentic condition.
Yet despite its exceptional importance, the Museum of Decorative Art Dresden’s collection of Latz furniture is known only to few experts, as its highly at-risk, damaged and fragmentary state has prevented access to it for more than 75 years. But the multi-tiered project “Jean-Pierre Latz. Fait à Paris” intends to change this fundamentally. Restoration according to state-of-the-art standards and the subsequent exhibition project as well as comprehensive research with coordinating art historians, restorers and scientists will return the Dresden Latz collection to the public eye, where it can finally receive the recognition it deserves. The project receives funding from the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation, the Rudolf-August Oetker-Foundation, Freundeskreis Kunstgewerbemuseum e.V. and private sponsors.
The project also relies on international exchange and cooperation with leading experts in the field of furniture research. This vital collaboration was launched with an international workshop, funded by the VolkswagenStiftung, with participants from the Musée du Louvre (Paris), the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, the Wallace Collection (London), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg among others.
The brochure “Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754). Research and Exhibition Project of the Museum of Decorative Arts Dresden” offers an initial overview of the Project.
SKD project staff
Christiane Ernek-van der Goes, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Project staff (SKD)
Christiane Ernek-van der Goes, Research Associate
Clara von Engelhardt, Head of the Restoration Workshop of the Museum of Decorative Arts Dresden
Tulga Beyerle, Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts Dresden