The Wittgenstein Vitrine

November 15, 2014 to December 31, 2017 | Conservation Gallery

In December 2013, the Dallas Museum of Art announced the acquisition of one of the most significant additions to its collection to date: an exceptional silver vitrine originally owned by the Wittgenstein family of Vienna and designed by Carl Otto Czeschka (1878–1960) of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops). The Wittgenstein Vitrine stands over five feet tall and is made of solid silver encrusted with enamel, pearls, opals, moonstones, and other semiprecious stones. This masterpiece, unique in the production of the Werkstätte, is one of the most important objects of the 20th century, marking the apogee of ornamental richness in Viennese Secessionist art and questioning the very direction of early modern design.

Since its arrival in Dallas, the vitrine has been the subject of an intensive research and conservation program. The exhibition, Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine, will reveal these results by exploring the conservation effort and charting the context and history of this masterwork’s design and fabrication, iconography, and provenance. The exhibition will also present new perspectives on designer Carl Otto Czeschka, his work for the Wiener Werkstätte, and the important patronage of the Wittgenstein family. 

Admission is FREE

The DMA’s Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Kevin W. Tucker, and Associate Conservator of Objects at the DMA, Fran Baas, discuss the history of the 1908 silver masterpiece and the conservation of the Wittgenstein Vitrine at the DMA.

  

To experience an interactive 3D model of the Wittgenstein Vitrine click here.

To view the Modern Opulence symposium lecture series click here.

Programs

Coffee with the Wittgensteins

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Margaret Stonborough, a direct descendant of Karl Wittgenstein, remembers summers spent in the family villa in Austria with her grandmother, Margaret Stonborough Wittgenstein, surrounded by family, friends, and the "everyday" artifacts created by the Wiener Werkstätte, including the DMA's exceptional silver vitrine originally owned by the Wittgenstein family. 

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Press

The New York Times
The Dallas Morning News