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Blue Chinese Salon

Grand Tour

The Blue Chinese Salon marks the start of the apartments occupied by Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan – a suite of rooms that are distinguished by their particularly sumptuous interiors.

The room takes its name from its Chinese wallpaper, emblematic of the eighteenth-century fascination with Eastern Asian art objects.

!The Blue Chinese Salon restoration scheduled for 2024 is presently in the preparation phase. Consequently, continual discoveries and resulting alterations are ongoing in this space. We appreciate your understanding.

Within the strips of wallpaper are blue medallions with scenes of Chinese craftsmanship such as silk and porcelain production or the cultivation of rice and tea. These are framed by painted floral swags and baskets of flowers, among which flit birds and butterflies.

The wallpaper was made for export in China in keeping with Western tastes. It represents a fine example of the intersection of the Chinese artistic tradition with the notions of European clients. Characterized by the integration of original East Asian art objects into courtly Rococo décors, the interiors at Schönbrunn from the time of Maria Theresa attest to the mutual influences between European and Far Eastern art.

This room was also the setting of a momentous event in Austria’s more recent history. Here, on 11 November 1918, negotiations took place that led to the signing of a declaration by Karl I, the last emperor of Austria, in which he renounced any participation in the affairs of state. The next day the Republic of Austria was proclaimed, thus sealing the end of Habsburg rule, which had lasted for over six hundred years. However, since Karl refused to abdicate formally, he had to go into exile with his family. The two portraits show Karl and his wife Zita, the last imperial couple of Austria.

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