June 19 – November 1, 2015
Slovak National Gallery, Esterházy Palace, 3rd floor, Námestie Ľ. Štúra 4, Bratislava
Chief Curator: Katarína Beňová
Curators: Jana Švantnerová (SNG), Silvia Seneši Lutherová (AFAD)

The exhibition project entitled Biedermeier introduces material from the artistic period of the same name. The time segment defined by the years 1815/1820 to 1848/1860 will be represented by small practical items and furniture at the Slovak National Gallery in addition to the genres popular in those times, such as portrait, landscape, still life and genre paintings.

The culture of Biedermeier was a significant political instrument for preserving social stability in the monarchy. The privacy and home life of families, which offered its own space for personal fulfillment, were the central phenomena. That is why we strived to complement and offer works which are oriented on the representative culture of aristocrats and burghers and which formed their civic space. The inclination toward practicality and comfort, especially in terms of the development of interior furnishing, has been neglected in Slovakia. However, this exhibition hopes to rectify this deficiency. These tendencies can be understood as the basis for later modern thinking in designing interior furnishing.

In an effort to capture and best present the “atmosphere” of this period, we offer a genuinely substantial thematic circle. It begins with the political and social situation during a period of peace in Central Europe following the Congress of Vienna, through the times of the censorship and centralism of Vienna up to the revolutionary year 1848 and the ensuing decade. The building of family bonds, religiousness and sacredness are reflected in the private life. The emotional phenomenon is captured in two main expressions: the strengthening of faith and the private emotional world of people. Visitors can also learn about higher and lower society and their mutual effect on artistic taste, the modernization of dwellings, as well as the perception of nature, animate and inanimate as reflected in art especially landscapes and still lifes. On the other hand, the modernizing of society , new technical inventions (Daguerreotype and others), the development of new technological and formal solutions for period design and the theme of travelling and tourism (train and steam transportation, spas, the Tatra Mountains) were important for the Biedermeier period. The conclusion of this exhibition features a selection from an abundant collection of portraits, whose stylizing of individual layers of society and self-representation were manifested not only in painting and sculpture but also in applied arts. These themes are also reflected in the titles of the individual sections: Between the Empire and Biedermeier; From the Congress of Vienna to the Revolution; Everyday Life in the Period of Biedermeier; Emotional World; Look at Me; Animate and Inanimate Nature; Ways of Modernization.

The team of curators has focused on works from Slovak gallery and museum collections; however works from Hungarian collections that are attributed to our present territory are also presented.

Exhibiting Artists:

Franz Eybl, Friedrich von Amerling, Anton Einsle, Jozef Ginovsky, Peter Michal Bohúň, Jozef Božetech Klemens, Vojtech Klimkovics (Klimkovič), Imrich Klimkovics, Štefan Ferenczy, Ladislav Dunajský, Ferdinand von Lütgendorff, Jakub Marastoni, Friedrich Lieder, Ján Rombauer, Jozef Czauczik, Anton Canzi, Ján Erhlinger, Eduard Gurk, Adam Alexander Ehrenreich, Sebastián Majsch and others. The exhibition also features designers and creators of functional utility items, such as Ján Justh of Kežmarok (furniture), Jozef Oppitz of Košice (glass), Ján Hanff also of Košice (goldsmith), Matej Rombauer of Prešov (goldsmith), Samuel Libay of Banská Bystrica (goldsmith), members of the Becker family of Bratislava (goldsmiths), Anton Thalmer, Ferdinand Hoffmann, Francz Lobmaier (watchmakers), and items from Stupava, Kremnica and Košice stoneware and the glass works in Zlatno.