Unbekannt, Chinesisch, Rollbild mit zahlreichen Szenen des Volkslebens, 18. Jh.
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, SKD, Foto: Herbert Boswank

La Chine

The 18th Century China-Collection in the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett

In the early eighteenth century, when the legendary art collection of August the Strong came into being, Asia was viewed with excited fascination in Europe.

  • DATES 19/11/2021—08/05/2022

In addition to today's

In addition to today‘s world-famous porcelain wares, more than 1,100 Chinese drawings and watercolour paintings on paper and silk, as well as woodcuts and coloured prints, were brought to Dresden. This important collection, along with 850 chinoiserie prints, is preserve in the Kupferstich- Kabinett of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. In the first inventory of the Kupferstich-Kabinett, drawn up in 1738, the objects were listed under the categories “La Chine” and “La Chine européenne”.

© Kupferstich-Kabinett, SKD, Foto: Andreas Diesend
Unbekannt, Chinesisch, Eine Zeichnerin unter einem Baum, Suzhou, um 1650–80 Farbholzschnitt, teils handkoloriert, aus einem aufgelösten Klebeband

An outstanding feature

An outstanding feature is the large collection of Chinese popular prints. In China itself, such New Year pictures, congratulatory leaflets, and theatre scenes were considered mere commodities, so that hardly any have been preserved. The prints were cheap to buy. With their wideranging symbolism, usually promising good fortune and prosperity, these sheets were hung up in homes for the New Year or passed on as a blessing, for example, and usually were not preserved. In Europe, Chinese folk art was seen as documenting the costumes and customs of distant lands. In the courtly sphere, the sheets were used as wall decorations, for example. They also served as models for chinoiserie prints. These provided motifs for decorations on buildings and furniture, as well as for porcelain painting. 

© Kupferstich-Kabinett, SKD, Foto: Herbert Boswank
Matteo Ripa nach Yu Shen, Wolken- und Gebirgslandschaften, Ansicht 8 aus den 36 Ansichten des Kaiserlichen Sommerpalastes zu Jehol, Radierung und Kupferstich, Peking, 1714 Qing Dynastie, Ära Kangxi

Ines Beyer "Transformation"

The first copperplate prints created in China were made by Matteo Ripa in collaboration with artists from the court painting workshops, on commission to the Kangxi Emperor, after woodcuts illustrating the Emperor’s own poems. The work by Ines Beyer entitled “Transformation”, based on the eighth view in the series, creates a link to the present day.

Ines Beyer

© Ines Beyer, Video: Martina Wolf
Ines Beyer bei der Arbeit an "Transformation", 2021 Film Still


Currently no dates


publication accompanying the special exhibition

La Chine. Die China-Sammlung des 18. Jahrhunderts im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett

editor: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Cordula Bischoff; Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, 256 pages, 347 coloured images, 30 x 23 cm, Sandstein Verlag, 38 €, ISBN 978-3-95498-628-6

Unbekannt, Chinesisch, Eine Zeichnerin unter einem Baum, Suzhou, um 1650–80
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, SKD, Foto: Andreas Diesend



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15/10/2021 —06/03/2022

German Design 1949 – 1989

in Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau

[Translate to English:]
02/10/2021 —06/02/2022

Dreams of Freedom

in Albertinum

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14/04/2022 —31/07/2022
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