Neuber, orfèvre minéralogiste à la cour de Saxe
Johann Christian Neuber (1732-1808) is one of the rare german craftsmen, with the cabinetmaker David Roentgen or the goldsmith Joseph Würth, whose reputation has crossed borders. He is the author of exquisite little golden snuffboxes, incrusted with jaspers and semiprecious stones from his native Saxony assembled with the “Zellenmosaic” technique. His creations combine mineral classification and extreme hand-crafted precision and delight the european courts of the time, which were attentive to the development of natural sciences and geology in particular. Neuber is especially known for having created one of the biggest masterpieces in the occidental art: the Teschen table of peace which used to be kept in the house of the family for who it was realised, the castle of Breteuil, and is now in the Louvre. Until now the only book devoted to Neuber was published in 1935 (Walter Holzhausen, Johann Christian Neuber, ein sächsicher Meister des 18. Jahrunderts, E. Heinrich, Dresden, 1935). This new publication, written under the supervision of Alexis Kugel, includes scientific contributions like these of Dr Dirk Syndram and Dr Jutta Kappel from the Green Vault in Dresden, and presents a new aspect of the jeweller’s life and work insisting on his masterpiece, the Teschen table of piece, as well as two other major realisations: Moritzburg console table and Repnine centrepiece. The book also offers an analysis of the evolution of the snuffboxes’ production and includes a catalogue raisonné of about 200 boxes. This book was published to accompany the prestigious exhibition devoted to Neuber, first presented in the Green Vault in Dresden in February-April 2012 and in the Kugel gallery in Paris in September-November 2012.