Das Porzellanmuseum

10 Years Porzellanmuseum im Augarten


How does a bread roll get into the museum?

We are celebrating!

Porzellanmuseum im Augarten. Since 2011

A porcelain manufactory makes history. A history that should be preserved and told. It becomes tangible and can offer something to the present. 

More than 300 years have passed since the first porcelain was produced in Vienna. It must have been a sensation when the ten employees of the then, as now, private manufactory took the first successful porcelains out of the kiln. On 27 May 1718, Claudius Innocentius du Paquier and his three partners were granted the right to their monopoly, under imperial protection.

It took courage and imagination to dare to found a porcelain manufactory. Little has changed in this respect to this day. The daring creations made of delicate porcelain show a joyful use of the material, which was new in Europe at the time. The playful 18th century found in it its ideal means of expression. Through all the epochs since 1718, with changing tastes, with new ownership and under directors with different goals, reforms, new beginnings and changes of style were necessary again and again. 

Then the 21st century began. The Viennese porcelain manufactory, located in the former imperial Augarten since 1923, was once again caught between the stools of tradition and progress. A new owner experienced in decision-making was awarded the contract in September 2003. The porcelain manufactory was in private hands. With this step, this treasure of Austrian culture was preserved for the future.

At the owner's request and initiative, the palace building, actually a kind of "Maison de Plaisance", a pleasure building, was lavishly restored and adapted. A new museum was to tell the story of Viennese porcelain and the in-house collection of the 20th century was to be expanded with valuable originals from the 18th and 19th centuries. To cultivate the heritage, to look at the multifaceted history of Viennese porcelain and the possibilities of the material with a view to the present and the future are the concerns and tasks of the PORZELLANMUSEUM IM AUGARTEN.


On 21 June 2011, the PORZELLANMUSEUM IM AUGARTEN was ceremoniously opened with a cheerful summer festival under the patronage of Margit Fischer, wife of the then Federal President.

The museum is located next to the manufactory. This symbiosis makes it possible to trace the artistic ideas and stories of the historical objects, but also to experience the exciting process of creation based on centuries-old knowledge on a daily basis. Looking at the world from the perspective of a porcelain cup sounds frivolous, but it is surprisingly complex.

For ten years, the museum's exhibitions have dealt with a wide variety of topics in the history of art and culture, but also with the attitude to life of the past and present in the context of the unique material porcelain. 

For the anniversary year, we have chosen an often-seen icon of the Viennese porcelain manufactory Augarten as a leitmotv to encourage a step behind the scenes of the all-too-familiar with its lesser-known origin story. The forward-looking rider and his horse connect the times, they fit us. 

The original "Piaffe" from 1926 with inscription of the Spanish Riding School shows a Lipizzaner practising a figure of dressage. The noble "horses like snow" had been bred in Lipizza for Archduke Carl since 1580. The training of the animals was considered a noble virtue. In 1735, the architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach completed the construction of the Winter Riding School in the Michael Wing of the imperial Hofburg in Vienna.

With the end of the monarchy in 1918, the last head of the court, Mauritius Herold, who is also portrayed here in porcelain, tried to secure the fate of the riding school. Through new concepts, tours and performances in Vienna, it was finally preserved. In 1925, the sculptor Albin Döbrich was commissioned by the Augarten manufactory to design five different porcelain models as precious souvenirs for the guests of the dressage shows; this also supported the riding school.

The "piaffe" is an embellishment of the trot and requires "a lively and at the same time patient temperament", because it is performed in a concentrated manner, prancing on the spot. And it serves as a preparatory exercise for jumps. 

The rider and his Lipizzaner will surprise you again and again in 2021. 

And the bread roll? It was acquired as an exhibit for the first exhibition and is a favourite object of the museum. In Viennese tradition, the emperor's roll belongs to breakfast or, as was already the case with Maria Theresa, also absolutely on the festive table. For a pilgrimage lunch of the imperial couple with a small entourage at Klosterneuburg Abbey on Leopoldi 1762, 600 rolls were prepared. And three cases of champagne. This roll is made of porcelain and modelled on a real golden baked roll and appetisingly painted in 1864.

The Kaisersemmel combines centuries and embodies the decorative playfulness of porcelain as a material. To the delight of the hosts and the amazement of their guests, dishes have been effectively staged with porcelain since the Baroque era. But why a seemingly everyday bread roll made of porcelain? 

As a funny deception at the table? The Semmerl with its five-pointed star and angular crust, which is still "knitted" by the baker's hand, was a luxurious white pastry back then. Today it is protected as Austria's culinary heritage. Translated into porcelain, it shows all the characteristics of the perfect baker's art. Was the porcelain roll a teaching object?

The PORZELLANMUSEUM IM AUGARTEN has many stories in store. 

With a look back at the most popular exhibitions since 2011, we celebrate here, every month anew.


The most popular exhibitions since 2011




300 Years of Vienna Porcelain

Anniversary exhibition from 19 March to 13 October 2018

To mark the anniversary month of the Porcelain Museum, which opened on 21 June 2011, we look back on our largest exhibition to date, which in 2018 was dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Viennese porcelain. With top-class loans from domestic and foreign museums and private collections, we were able to paint a comprehensive picture of design history.

Among the guest exhibits  were precious objects from the first Viennese manufactory of the private entrepreneur Claudius Innocentius du Paquier from the collections of the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in the Palazzo Madama in Turin. The detail of the smiling lucky dragon is part of a clock case from 1725 and a unique example of the imaginative designs of Baroque Viennese porcelain with its picturesque and sculptural richness. 

In 1718, du Paquier and his small group of artists and craftsmen laid the foundation stone for Viennese porcelain production in a small garden house in the elegant Viennese suburb of Rossau, which was home to the summer palaces of many influential and art-loving families from the courtly circle. The summer palace of the Princes of Liechtenstein was located next to the manufactory, and the family was one of the first clients. For the jubilee exhibition, the Porcelain Museum in the Augarten was able to present generous loans from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna. Various chapters celebrated aspects of table culture and interiors across 3 centuries. A stylised dessert table with clouds and fascinating dragons made of meringue, artistically realised by the traditional Viennese confectioner Demel according to designs by Sebastian Menschhorn was furnished with historical porcelain figures of gods (on loan from the MAK, Vienna, the Silberkammer, Vienna and the Marton Collection, Zagreb), as an "Olympus" emblematic of the seemingly limitless inventiveness of porcelain makers, designers and artists. 

An anniversary book was published to accompany the exhibition by Residenzverlag, Salzburg (available in the shops of the Augarten Porcelain Manufactory).




1923 until today

19 April to 15 Oktober 2016

Humanity and its societies too rarely allow themselves to be wild and free. Often, these qualities are projected into the animal world, which is nevertheless tamed as a precaution. The 2016 special exhibition at the Porzellanmuseum im Augarten looked at porcelain representations of animals from various aspects and viewpoints of science, art history and fashions of their time. The exhibition design by Sebastian Menschhorn provided "living space" with hand drawings in the display cases. A table with prairie design on the glass bridge set the stage for a herd of wild horses, especially with models by sculptor Karin Jarl.  The thematic circles focused on the importance of animals as role models and consolation for the world of the human mind, but also on the problematic nature of this approach.

The exhibition was able to draw on a rich treasure trove of animal models, especially from the 1920s and 1930s. Last but not least, animals were among the most important motifs of sculptural production in the Augarten. From humorous or grotesque (interpreted from a human perspective) to naturalistic or decorative to elegant and touching, the porcelain animals of the Viennese manufactory reflect a variety of human emotions.

Around 1930, the discovery of nature as a source of health and thus of animals as nurturers of the human soul led to animal gardens without bars in order to offer the urban population fresh air and the most authentic and paradisiacal views possible. This attempt at a nature-loving lifestyle for humans and animals was also taken up in art and literature, children's books and popular science in the first decades of the 20th century. 

At the same time, the artistic epoch of Art Deco appreciated the aesthetic peculiarities of exotic animals and used the gracefulness of gazelles or slender greyhounds in the representation of its formal ideals.  

The touching "Monkey on Tree Trunk" and the dignified "Sitting Panther", designed by Franz Barwig for the Augarten Porcelain Manufactory in 1924, are based on exact studies of nature, but they show the stylised approach of Art Deco, also in the base design.

The "Parrot" by Michael Powolny from 1946 as the exhibition subject picks up stylistic elements of this era and is a rare and impressive example of a large-format porcelain sculpture.



A Porcelain Décor makes History

22 June to 6 Oktober 2012

The summer exhibition of 2012 looked at the developments of the most popular porcelain décor through three centuries, the rose motif.

From the naturalistic roses of the Baroque to Neoclassical floral ornaments to the rose as a symbol of the cult of friendship in the 19th century, selected historical examples showed the transformation of the Queen of the Garden in porcelain painting. 

In 1923, the Augarten porcelain manufactory added the Rosa centifolia to its repertoire to carry on the tradition with a refreshing dose of modernity. The Viennese Art Deco rose is a stylised flower reduced to its essential features, whose elegance lies in its simplicity set with a light hand and confident brushstrokes. The many shades of purple colour create a sculptural impression of the airy petals. In the Old Viennese Rose variant, on the other hand, details of earlier epochs are preserved; it is a homage to the imperial manufactory and the floral services of Empress Maria Theresa's time.

Unique historical designs from the manufactory's archives provided an insight into the painters' working methods and demonstrated different variations on the theme. Figures such as The First Roses by Ida Schwetz-Lehmann from 1924 or The Rose Gardener by Mathilde Jaksch from 1927 combine the symbolism of the rose with the figurative small sculptures of the 18th century and the aspirations of modernity. The lovely and meaningful rose plays its central role in the floral language of Romanticism as well as in botany and garden art, and in the purely decorative intent of a porcelain décor. 

Selected loans, such as a breakfast service in the shape of rose blossoms from 1755 from the MAK, Vienna, or the classicist cup with scattered roses on a gold background from 1794 from the Marton Collection enriched the show with rare examples. 




Views of Vienna on porcelain

30 September 2013 to 22 February 2014

The playfully staged exhibition was one of the special highlights of the past ten years. Developed with the guest curator A. Philipp Revertera, according to his idea and with his unconventional view of history, the PORZELLANMUSEUM IM AUGARTEN was able to take its visitors on an imaginative journey through time to forgotten or well known places and present the porcelains as bearers of a world view.

The veduta, a city or landscape portrait, was one of the most successful branches of porcelain painting in Vienna and closely linked to the development of Viennese landscape painting and the numerous publications of view albums. Transferred to porcelain, the coveted vedute were often used as diplomatic or sentimental gifts from the Enlightenment until well after the Congress of Vienna. Phenomena such as the "room trip" were typical reactions of the time to the travel restrictions imposed by the wars and crises of their time, which were accompanied by wanderlust and a thirst for knowledge. 

Today, the porcelains with their miniature views often document an architectural or scenic situation that no longer exists. The figural staffage also shows the fashions and social models of their time with street scenes, strollers and children's games.

The exhibition looked at this particular art of portraiture and the concepts associated with it, such as memory, identity, homeland, reality or wishful thinking. Beyond the historical framework, the exhibition design by Barbara Fischer created a reference to the now with the zeitgeist of urban hot spots and today's souvenir culture.

The loans from the MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, the Wien Museum, the Silberkammer, Vienna, the Marton Museum, Samobor as well as private collections were able to illustrate the most diverse aspects of the theme.



Coffee at the Congress of Vienna

1814 -1815

3 March to 23 May 2015

This special exhibition of the Porzellanmuseum im Augarten looked at a particularly fine aspect of diplomacy during the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815. All the crowned heads, high-ranking politicians, but also the cultured onlookers and chroniclers of this spectacular and memorable meeting in the imperial residence city did not miss the opportunity to pay a visit to the porcelain manufactory. Lists of diplomatic gifts, diaries and travel reports describe the admiration of the high clientele.

The exhibition FEINES PORZELLAN, HOHE POLITIK (Fine Porcelain- High Politicsa) was able to present important exhibits from the Congress period, including loans from the MAK, Vienna, the Silberkammer, the Marton Museum, Samobor, LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna, the APR Collection and other international private collections, we were able to trace the political and social developments from the Coalition Wars to the Congress of Vienna. Always with an eye on the fragile, but quite powerful porcelain. The contemporary witnesses ranged from table monuments to Archduke Carl to patriotic breakfast services. The symbolic value of the exquisite coffee cups of the time was the focus of the exhibition. Miniature portraits of the Emperor, Prince von Metternich and even the Imperial Anthem can be found as motifs. 

The tables of the Congress of Vienna were sumptuously decorated. Even with false pretences - porcelain with full gold plating, which had to replace the imperial gold service that had been melted down to finance the wars against Napoleon. Splendid festivities for 10,000 guests and the daily catering for the delegations were a logistical masterstroke. And pleasure was, after all, the most effective key to diplomatic success. 

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