Thursday, 15 July 2010

Walderseeschlößchen, Dresden

A combination of Neo-Baroque and Jugendstil

Dresden may be known above all for its Baroque monuments, such as the Zwinger, the Hofkirche, or the recently-rebuilt Frauenkirche, but many different architectural styles can be appreciated when walking along the streets and avenues of the Saxon capital. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a transitional period between Historicism and Jugendstil (as Art Nouveau is known in Germany), are well represented especially in the Neustadt, Striesen, Strehlen, Blasewitz and Radeberger Vorstadt districts.

Even if some architects sought to build 'pure' Jugendstil buildings, that wasn't always achieved. The international or at least pan-European dimension of Art Nouveau conflicted with regional identities and loyalties which remained a major force, even in a post-1870 unified Germany. In architecture the different historicist styles embraced during the nineteenth century, which looked at a frequently idealized past to reinforce the individuality of each German state, didn't give way easily to emerging new tendencies. Given these tensions, it is hardly surprising that in several German cities some buildings combine Neo-Gothic or, like in Dresden, Neo-Baroque outlines with Jugendstil decoration, as the Walderseeschlößchen at Stresemannplatz 3 illustrates.

Walderseeschlosschen Dresden Jugendstil Stresemannplatz
The Walderseeschlößchen, or Little Waldersee Castle (originally the square it faces was called Walderseeplatz, after Field Marshal Alfred von Waldersee. The name was changed after 1945), was built in 1906-1907 for Carl August Eichler, the director of a construction company. Certainly designed by Paul Colditz, who then rented a flat on the first floor, it clearly shows that Neo-Baroque was still popular even if by 1905 Jugendstil was at its peak in Dresden. However what really catches the eye is the stucco decoration on the façade, and this is obviously Jugendstil. The wavy lines and the floral ornaments that rise from the portal upward to embrace a female figure above the top window contrast sharply with the Mansard roof.


  1. Thanks for this Sebastien. My ancestors are from Dresden. Piano makers. Any history on this city I ravenously read up and absorb. Have never been ... yet.

  2. Dresden is really a wonderful city. I hope you have the opportunity to visit it one day.

  3. I have contacted the chamber of commerce in Dresden to see if any records of my family's piano factory were still on record, street address, whatever ... but after the bombing, nothing was left of city archives. Not sure if the building was in the city center or perhaps out a bit where it could have survived.

    Here is a bit I wrote about it on my blog:

  4. Thanks for the link Nutmegger. The lettering on the piano is definitely unusual. Shame you didn't find any record about your ancestors' factory. There is the Thürmer Pianoforte-Museum in Meissen but I doubt they would have any relevant information.

  5. I found your blog while trying to find out more about the amazing carvings on buildings in Katharinenstrasse in the Neustadt - especially the woman's face peering out from a wall of leaves. Survivors of the bombing and still beautiful in spite of decay and graffiti. Thankyou for your blog.

    1. Are you referring to the Jugendstil apartment building at Katharinenstraße 1 built in 1905 by Friedrich Wilhelm Hertzsch (his name is to the right of the entrance)?

  6. Yes! struggling to communicate but with a little help it might now work...


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