Design & Decoration S03 ep8 : Georg Laue, Kunstkammera, [Munich]
Interview with George Laue
Georg Laue, a very passionate collector himself, offers works of art made of precious materials like ivory, rhinoceros horn, stag horn, gold and silver, rock crystal, coral, serpentine and amber. As natural curiosities, such exotic materials were already considered valuable collectibles. They become even more precious once turned or carved by the most gifted artists who worked at the European Renaissance and Baroque courts. Being art historian, Georg Laue is well provided with literature, not only on his favourite subject: amber treasuries. He gives information as well as estimations on art objects. Since 1999, Georg Laue is publishing his own series of elaborately designed catalogue books in collaboration with scholars and museum curators, dealing with various aspects of Kunst- and Wunderkammer."
The Kunstkamera George Lauen, it’s a gallery in Munich.
Kunstkamera means in English cabinet of curiosity in French it’s cabinet de curiosity, so it’s a
room where you have all these objects coming in the 16th and 17th Century.
I’m a second generation dealer so my father started in the 1960’s and so when I was a little boy I
was always in the gallery, I would travel with him and I liked it so much when I was ten years old I
said I will be an antique dealer too and we had four children and I was the only one who was really
interested in the business so he was really happy.
My father was a dealer for all objects so we had furniture, we even had old vintage cars, old Jaguar
or an old Bentley I thought I really would like to be a specialist for one area so I got specialised in
the Kunstkamera business.
It means a little bit eclectic objects but we cannot say everything would fit in a Kunstkamera, the
pieces have to be from the Renaissance which means 16th Century up to the Baroque to the 17th
Century so they have to be three to four hundred years old and they must be of high, high quality,
it’s very important and you have many, many different parts which have to be in we have
naturalia, objects from nature you have mirrorabilia, mirable objects like miracles like a unicorn
which we today know comes from a narwhale but in the Renaissance they thought it’s a piece from
the unicorn so this actually has to be in every Kunstkamera.
I like very much all the different materials which you find in the Kunstkamera you have objects
made out of ivory of amber of mother of pearl of coral, what I like most is to make the research on
A month ago I found a fantastic amber object it was at a very small sale and it was mounted as a
mirror but I’ve seen immediately that it was a very, very early piece it’s … something medieval
ages around 1380 so we removed the frame and we found out it’s a v… so it was for 200 years in
the wrong frame, we put it out of the frame together with a restorer so we have to work together
with special people and now it’s here and it’s one of the highlights of the fair.
It originally comes from the north east German coast called K… which is now a Russian part and
the Baltic Sea and over 90% of all amber comes from there, even in the Roman times they found
It was an amulet. It was originally mounted in silver, it was enamelled inside that only two others
known, one is in the …. In Munich, the other one is in London in the Wallis Collection, both of
them have their original frames, this one is lost.
I mean this is really the most wonderful thing that you can do when you find something and you
know what it is but then you make when you have bought it you make the research you’re 100%
sure that you are right and then you find the right place where it will stay forever and if it’s a
museum it’s a wonder thing, because it’s open for the public, everybody can see it and you
yourself you can go there and look at your own piece which is now in the museum.
Amber is really one of my favourite materials so we really have found one, what I like a lot too are
all these memento … hats which you can see in the next box … objects which reminds you that
we’re for a short time and that we have to be happy in this time. (you don’t think of putting some
diamonds on them?) No. Not yet (you don’t want to do the Damien Hurst routine) But I met him
last year and he was because I did an exhibition in Berlin, installed a Wunder… in Berlin and he
came to see it he was totally knocked out of his shoes and he liked it a lot and he said George you
have to do a Wunder… to me.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Georg Laue, Kunstkammera, Munich