The Museum of Decorative Arts is showing a selection of around 100 galvanoplastics from its own collection in Köpenick Palace. These are replicas of important historical goldsmith works made in the 19th century. In recent years, they have been examined in terms of art technology and restored.
Galvanoplasty was as innovative 150 years ago as 3D printing is today.
By means of electrochemical processes, complex three-dimensional works of goldsmith art could be reproduced in an electroplating bath, and in large numbers.
The direct comparison between originals and replicas makes it possible to highlight the similarities and differences.
In Vienna, Carl Haas excelled at the galvanoplastic studio of the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry from 1867, and in Berlin, around 1875, it was the silverware factory Vollgold & Sohn that became particularly involved in this field for the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts.
New creations in galvanic techniques also emerged. In England, it was Elkington & Co. that produced electrochemically silver-plated tableware from 1836. A short time later, the Christofle company in Paris followed suit in France. Emperor Napoleon III's orders for monumental centerpieces sent a signal that France had advanced to the status of an industrial nation and could compete with England.
The exhibition focuses on technical as well as cultural-historical aspects:
The Galvanoplastiken exemplify the enthusiasm for technology and historical consciousness of the industrial age and played a central role in the educational concept of the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts, founded in 1867.
The aim of the museum's founding was to give impetus to contemporary art production with particularly high-quality historical artifacts (and their replicas). Even today, the museum's inventory includes numerous galvanoplastic replicas made during the museum's founding phase.
The exhibition is a joint restoration-art history project and is curated by Wibke Bornkessel, Claudia Kanowski and Lothar Lambacher, all of the Museum of Decorative Arts.
Opening hours: April - September Tue - Sun 11 am - 6 pm