Anton Raphael Mengs: Selbstbildnis mit zwölf Jahren, 1740
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Andreas Diesend

300 Years Keeping in the Present

In 2020, the Kupferstich-Kabinett will be celebrating its 300th anniversary, making it the oldest museum in any German-speaking country to specialise in art on paper. Since 1720, it has collected, preserved and researched into not only copperplate engravings, woodcuts, etchings, lithographs and other prints, but also drawings, watercolours and photographs.

  • DATES 12/06/2020—14/09/2020

[Translate to English:] Die Hauptausstellung

The main exhibition presents more than 200 works from all three centuries, sorted into themed chapters and shown chronologically based on the time they were acquired. The question asked throughout is how the collection developed in each contemporary context, what art was acquired under what circumstances, and what strategies were followed when organising and adding to the holdings. In the exhibition’s “treasure chamber”, visitors will discover outstanding drawings by great artists from the 15th century until today, replaced by different works every three weeks.

© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Andreas Diesend

[Translate to English:] Das erste Kapite

The first chapter, "The Prince Electors' Pictorial Gallery" presents the classification system used by the Kupferstich-Kabinett's first director Johann Heinrich von Heucher, as reflected in the oldest inventory from 1738. This section contains works by Lucas van Leyden, Hans Burgkmair the Elder or Marcantonio Raimondi, among others. Another focus is on the collection of prints by contemporary "peintres-graveurs", created based on the artists' own designs. With works by artists such as Hercules Seghers, Hendrick Goltzius, Bernardo Bellotto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the Dresden gallery rose to international renown in the 18th century.

[Translate to English:] Videos

[Translate to English:] Das zweite Kapitel

The second chapter, "Becoming a Museum for Drawings, Prints and Photography", focuses on the acquisitions made as art history developed into an academic subject. Collecting, research and the promotion of artistic talent often went hand in hand. Drawings by artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld or Ludwig Richter testify to Dresden's importance as a home for art during the Romantic period. At the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th, under Max Lehrs, the famous art historian and former director of the Kupferstich-Kabinett, the collection was enriched not just by important pieces by Old Masters and 19th-century works, but also by photography, poster art and Japanese polychrome woodblock prints.

© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Herbert Boswank
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Plakat: Divan Japonais Lithographie in fünf Farben, 1240 x 915 mm

[Translate to English:] Impressionen

[Translate to English:] Das dritte Kapitel

Another room is dedicated to the third chapter, "Ruptures and Continuities", and the period from 1920 to the present. Works by Otto Dix, Erich Heckel and Oskar Kokoschka, alongside photographs by Edmund Kesting and Charlotte Rudolph, represent the acquisitions continually made in the Weimar Republic. The Nazi confiscation campaign in 1937 caused heavy losses in the field of modernism. Another severe setback came after the end of the war and the liberation from the tyranny of Nazism, when 95 percent of the collection was looted and carried off to the Soviet Union. In 1958, most of these works were returned.

[Translate to English:] Ausstellungsansichten

[Translate to English:] Seit den 1960er-Jahren

From the 1960s on, under the long-serving director Werner Schmidt, the museum succeeded in acquiring large sets of works and numerous pieces focusing on Eastern Europe, in addition to East German non-conformist art and works from West Germany, Western Europe and the United States. The art purchased in the post-1945 period includes works by Karl-Heinz Adler, Hermann Glöckner, Hans Hartung, Ilja Kabakov and Pablo Picasso.

© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Herbert Boswank
Hermann Glöckner, Durchdringung von zwei Quadraten auf Rot Faltung, Tempera

[Translate to English:] Die Jahre nach 1989/90

The outstanding artists from the period after 1989 include Wols, Miriam Cahn and Eberhard Havekost. Their art can be seen in the exhibition. Also new acquisitions from recent years are presented, including significant current donations by MUSEIS SAXONICIS USUI - Freunde der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden e.V. - such as works by Karl-Heinz Adler, Marlene Dumas and Gerhard Richter from the capitalist realism portfolio. The annual gifts by Thomas Florschuetz (2019) and Monika Grzymala (2020) will be exhibited for the first time in this context.

© Courtesy Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, Foto: A. Diesend
Eberhard Havekost, Snow Lounge (1) (Detail), 2000


Currently no dates


publication accompanying the special exhibition

300 Jahre Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden. Sammeln in der Gegenwart

Edited by Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Stephanie Buck, Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, Gudula Metze, Ausstellung Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, London 2020, 304 pages, Paul Holberton Verlag, museum edition 29,50€, ISBN: 978-1-911300-89-2

Anton Raphael Mengs: Selbstbildnis mit zwölf Jahren, 1740
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Andreas Diesend
publication accompanying the special exhibition

Timm Rautert, Bildanalytische Photographie 1968-1974

Edited by Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Stephanie Buck, Linda Conze, Rebecca Wilton, Steidl Verlag, München 2020, 204 Seiten, 149 Schwarzweiß- und 23 Farbfotografien, Leineneinband mit Schutzumschlag, 65 €, ISBN 978-3-95829-486-8

vier schwarz-weiß-Fotografien, zwei Selbstporträts mit Kamera, zwei Bilder von Bäumen
© Timm Rautert/SKD, Foto: Herbert Boswank

Partners and Sponsors

[Translate to English:] Sparkasse

[Translate to English:] weitere

Further Exhibitions


in Residenzschloss

Portrait eines Mannes mit Hut und Vollbart
02/10/2020 —01/11/2020

Andreas Rost. Reunification

in Residenzschloss

14/11/2020 —31/05/2021

Crossing Borders

in Residenzschloss

02/10/2020 —01/11/2020


in Residenzschloss

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