A phenomenal insight into the significant glass design techniques from the era
between 1780 and 1840 is offered by the exhibition GLASSES FROM THE EMPIRE
AND BIEDERMEIER PERIOD: From the MAK Collection and the Glass Collection of
Christian Kuhn. This wide-ranging presentation in the MAK Exhibition Hall brings
together 180 select objects from the MAK Glass and Ceramics Collection as well as
some 180 objects from the glass collection of Christian Kuhn, thereby once again
positioning Biedermeier glass at the heart of a MAK exhibition after almost a decade.
It will be shown in parallel to the MAK exhibition THE GLASS OF THE ARCHITECTS:
Vienna 1900–1937, an overview of over 300 glasses from the final years of
the Austro-Hungarian monarchy to the end of the First Republic, organized in cooperation
with LE STANZE DEL VETRO, Venice.
A collaboration between an experienced collector and a curator, the show GLASSES
FROM THE EMPIRE AND BIEDERMEIER PERIOD draws on a longstanding tradition
in the history of the MAK. “Even the exhibition of glasses from classicism, the
empire and Biedermeier period, which took place at the then Austrian Museum of Art
and Industry—today’s MAK—in 1922 and the name of which inspired our show, predominantly
presented glasses from private collections, with the collectors working
together closely with the custodian of the museum,” according to Rainald Franz, curator
of the exhibition and the MAK Glass and Ceramics Collection. The 1922 exhibition
was followed by Gustav Pazaurek’s book Gläser der Empire- und Biedermeierzeit,
published in 1923, which has remained a standard reference work on the topic
to the present day. The glasses from this period were extremely important to the museum
at that time. On the one hand, an attempt was made to identify the art historical
development of the glass types and decorative techniques, while on the other the wealth of glass finishing techniques and design provided stimuli, which the local glass
suppliers in Vienna—but also in the glass centers of Bohemia—would later revisit.
“Biedermeier as an educator” became the catchphrase of art criticism, and the Austrian
Museum of Art and Industry reacted to the interest in designers like Josef Hoffmann
by hosting historic exhibitions.
With the aid of carefully chosen objects, GLASSES FROM THE EMPIRE AND
BIEDERMEIER PERIOD provides an insight into the technical and artistic developments
of the age, which are particularly important for high-quality Biedermeier
glasses. Among the earliest examples on display are the works by Josef Mildner
(1765–1808), which show a high standard of technical and artistic skill. Pieces from
the workshop of Samuel Mohn (1762–1815) and his son Gottlob (1789–1825), as well
as from Anton Kothgasser (1769–1851) and his workshop, represent transparent
painting. The technique of glass cutting, which ranks among the most difficult means
of working glass and which enjoyed its heyday in the Biedermeier period, is the focus
of prominent proponents such as Dominik Biemann, Franz Paul Gottstein, Hieronymus
Hackel, Johann Lenk, Anton Simm, Franz Anton Pelikan, and August Böhm the
Central to the Christian Kuhn Collection are Lithyalin glasses. On display are works
by Friedrich Egermann from Polevsko (Blottendorf) near Nový Bor (Haida) in North
Bohemia, who achieved the culmination of the technique with his Lithyalin works.
Egermann created a new type of Lithyalin glass, which is characterized by effectively
and expressively colored, non-homogeneous sections and multicolored surfaces. He
partly obtained these glasses from the Harrach’sche Hütte, Nový Svět (Neuwelt, now
part of Harrachov), which also produced Lithyalin glasses. The agate glasses by the
Bouquoy’sche Glashütten in South Bohemia—a company located close by the glassworks
by Josef Zich in Joachimsthal in the Waldviertel, Lower Austria—are also considered
outstanding examples of Lithyalin glasses. They already suggest the later
development of glass, which reached new peaks at the Loetz’sche Hütte in Klášterský
The exhibition GLASSES FROM THE EMPIRE AND BIEDERMEIER PERIOD: From
the MAK Collection and the Glass Collection of Christian Kuhn is accompanied by a
publication of the same name.
Press photos are available for download at MAK.at/press.
Kindly supported by DOROTHEUM.
GLASSES FROM THE EMPIRE AND BIEDERMEIER PERIOD
From the MAK Collection and the Glass Collection of Christian Kuhn
Press Preview Tuesday, 31 January 2017, 10:30 a.m.
Opening Tuesday, 31 January 2017, 7 p.m.
Exhibition Venue MAK Exhibition Hall
MAK, Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna
Exhibition Dates 1 February – 17 April 2017
Opening Hours Tue 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sun 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Free admission on Tuesdays from 6 t0 10 p.m.
Publication GLASSES FROM THE EMPIRE AND BIEDERMEIER
PERIOD: From the MAK Collection and the
Glass Collection of Christian Kuhn, edited by Christoph
Thun-Hohenstein and Christian Kuhn. With
Rainald Franz and Christian Kuhn, German, 208
pages with numerous color illustrations, MAK,
Vienna/Bibliothek der Provinz, 2016.
Curator Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics
MAK Admission € 9.90 / Reduced € 7.50 / Family Ticket € 13
Free admission for children and teens under 19
MAK Press and PR Judith Anna Schwarz-Jungmann (Head)
T +43 1 711 36-233, -229, -212
F +43 1 711 36-227
Vienna, 21 December 2016