Bard Graduate Center’s inaugural exhibition Along the Royal Road: Berlin and Potsdam in KPM Porcelain and Painting, 1815-1848 explored the intimate relationship between the decorative and the fine arts in the first half of the 19th century, setting them in a social and political context.

The exhibition featured 70 architectural and landscape paintings and drawings by Carl Daniel Freydanck as well as 30 presentation porcelains from the Royal Porcelain Manufactory (KPM) in Berlin. The porcelains were particularly distinguished by their meticulously-painted decoration—miniaturized “views” taken directly from Freydanck’s original oil paintings. Together, the canvases and porcelains depicted the sights of the royal court of Prussia as they were admired by travelers along the historic road that linked Berlin and Potsdam. In the exhibition, the scenes were arranged sequentially in the order they would have been encountered on the royal road, along with contemporary photographs of surviving sites from the same vantage points painted by Freydanck.

Presented just three years after German reunification, the exhibition illustrated how the changing urban landscape of Berlin and Potsdam inspired KPM’s designers and how these views were widely disseminated. One highlight was an amphora shaped presentation vase, dated 1848, featuring views of Berlin architecture painted on both sides: one of the Royal Palace, since destroyed, and the other showing the newly rebuilt Opera House.

On view from October 16, 1993–January 30, 1994, the exhibition was organized by Bard Graduate Center with Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, also the principal lender of objects. It was curated by Winfried Baer and Ilse Baer.