Schaezler Palace

Augsburg, Germany

Background

Schaezler Palace is a remarkable example of German rococo architecture designed by Karl Albrech von Lespilliez, chief architect of the Bavarian royal court, for merchant and banker Benedikt Adam Freiherr von Liebenhofen. It was begun in 1765 and completed in 1770. Within the building is the Banquet Hall, a ballroom that is one of the most important rococo designs in Germany. The room was specifically designed for a visit by the Archduchess of Austria, Marie-Antoinette, as she traveled to Versailles to marry the French dauphin, later Louis XVI. Almost untouched in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the ballroom displays carved decorations, wall mirrors, and richly gilded stucco work by the famous artistic brothers Simpert and Franz II Feichtmayr. The ceiling, painted by Italian artist Gregorio Gugliemi, is a striking feature of the room, depicting the seasons and allegories of four continents united under trade and astrological symbols. Today the building is part of the Augsburg Municipal Museums and Art Collection and houses the German Baroque Gallery, the Bavarain State Gallery and the Haverstock Foundation. Open to the public, Schaezler Palace holds a collection of paintings by European masters, including Cranach, Durer, and Holbein.

How We Helped

In the late 1990s and early 2000s WMF, working with Friends of Schaezler Palace, the City of Augsburg, and private donors, undertook a conditions survey of the Banquet Hall, noted areas of concern, and drafted a comprehensive conservation plan. Work began in 2003 with extensive restoration of the timber roof as well as conservation of the ceilings, including the Gulgliemi frescos. The next phase of work focused on the stabilization and cleaning of the Feichtmayr stucco work and gilded surfaces, restoration of the significant interior finishes and fixtures, and the treatment of the parquet floor. Upon completion of all conservation work, the palace reopened to the public in 2006.

Why It Matters

The remarkable rococo Schaezler Palace fortunately survived the air raids of the Second World War while many other parts of Augsburg were razed. Its interiors represent a remarkable ensemble of rooms retaining much of their original character. The conservation program returned the extraordinary, elaborate ballroom to public view, allowing greater understanding and appreciation of the artistic triumphs of this period of German history.

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