Ansicht von einem Zimmer des Museums für sächsische Volkskunst

100 Years of Folk Art at the Jägerhof

When the Landesmuseum für Sächsische Volkskunst (State Museum of Saxon Folk Art) at the former electoral Jägerhof was opened on 6 September 1913 in the presence of the Saxon King Friedrich August III, it was the beginning of a completely new type of museum. The house devoted itself to the artistic creations of the ordinary people to which little attention had been paid before. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the museum’s founding the exhibition sheds light on its history with the help of three thematic areas:

  • DATES 15/06/2013—03/11/2013


The Museum’s Founder
Oskar Seyffert (1862-1940), painter, docent, then professor for decorative drawing at the Kunstgewerbeschule Dresden (School for Arts and Crafts Dresden), was a very bustling networker who linked many artists, architects, historians, conservationists, folklorists, and other creative minds of Saxony. He took up the idea of an “original people’s art” that was discussed around 1890 and orchestrated it quite uniquely: first in exhibitions, lectures and newspaper articles, later in his museum. Seyffert relied more on the impact of staged images than on the persuasiveness of arguments. Whether through exhibitions, folk festivals, narratives or lively decorated museum rooms, he always appealed to the imagination of his contemporaries. “Art is language – folk art is dialect” was one of his sayings. This is far from being a definition, but a well-established understanding.


The Location
The former electoral Jägerhof proved to be the ideal place for the museum. The vaults on the ground floor contradicted a folkloristic rural construction style, but formally framed the rooms and chambers that were staged underneath quite picturesquely in an ancient manner. Today in the exhibition, old pictures allow a comparison of the furnishings on the spot.
Other photographs tell the museum’s story and the one of its people. Here, not only the directors, but also the staff and, last but not least, the visitors are in the focus of attention. The quick motion of the image sequence is evidence of how the house became accessible for each generation, which continuities were kept and which innovations were developed.

Ansicht von einem Zimmer des Museums für sächsische Volkskunst
Dresdner „Gute Stube“ im Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst Aquarellmalerei auf Papier, Sign. G.Ü. Dresden Mai 1919


Then Concept of Folk Art
Even if “Folk Art” often is associated with traditional preservation: the concept of folk art had and has demonstrated to be quite adaptable. Originally the collection was thought to be the fresh assemblage of ideas for the arts and crafts industry that was going through a crisis, then it was seen from an ethnological point of view as “artifacts of the natives on the doorstep”, little later the collection was praised as “real German art”, then cited as the artistic competence of the “working class” and in recent years put on the market as “original folk art”. Whether it was derided as a hobby or cherished as a tradition, the basic idea has survived for many years. It is the appreciation of the art of the “ordinary people” as Oskar Seyffert put it or the one of the “citizens” as our politicians expressed it. Today the museum considers itself to be an art historic collection of all facets of folk art and as an inspirer or even as an agitator for own art creations.

weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions

Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden

im Japanischen Palais

reich verzierte Holztür mit Fenster


in Jägerhof

Marionette, die auf einer Kiste sitzt


in Schloss Pillnitz

gelber Kasten mit vier Füßen
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