Packaged in a Work of Art
Lebkuchen - German Christmas gingerbread pastries - are a work of art. So it is only right that they be packaged in a work of art.
This article was originally written in 2017 and has been updated in 2019.
In every new Collection of beautifully designed and illustrated metal chests and tins, Lebkuchen Schmidt of Nuremberg, Germany, includes a Chest showcasing the work of a famous painter. Many of our customers order the Artist's Chest every year to add to their collections.
Here are a few of the masterpieces that Schmidt has presented over the past decade (plus):
Last year's Artist Suitcase was colourful and exuberant with the paintings of Paul Gauguin a French post-Impressionist artist. Particularly highlighting the works he created in Tahiti in the late 1800's.
2017's Artist Suitcase celebrated the works of Claude Monet founder of French Impressionist painting. I can't say this was one of my favorite Artist Chests - seemed a little washed out. I think the 2008 Klimt Chest gets that vote - see it below.
In 2016 not only did the illustration change - the Chest was turned into a suitcase! The Art Suitcase that year showcased the works of world famous artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir - a leading Impressionist. This Chest was such a hit we sold out before October and had to fly in more from Nuremberg. I know that at least 3 of the Chests were sent by individuals to friends solely because of the painter that was being honored.
Renoir's paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color often focusing on people who don’t appear to know they are being painted! The chest includes references to a number of Renoir’s most famous paintings including Two Sisters painted in 1881 – I got to see the real painting in the Art Institute of Chicago on a visit their with my kids last year.
The 2015 Chest honored the artist August Macke and his painting “Woman with a Parasol in front of a Hat Shop” (1914). Lebkuchen Schmidt is a German company and I think it’s right for them to feature German artists from time to time! I love his vibrant colours but I have to admit that I personally enjoy his works from before 1912 when he
shifted into Cubism/Orphism. The painting he did of his wife is my favorite – it’s so rich and textured.
The 2014 Artist’s Chest was not a hit – we actually had chests left over that year. Not sure if we didn’t do a good enough job advertising them or if people weren’t that interested in the painting depicted on the chest or if it was that the theme was just so far from Christmas it just didn’t work for them. That year’s chest featured a 1835 work called The Stages of Life. It actually has a very interesting back story.
In the very first year that I owned Gingerbread World and hardly even knew what Lebkuchen was the Artist’s Chest 2013 depicted Claude Monet’s “The Artist’s Garden” painted in 1880. I have always loved gardens where there is a riot of colour and beautiful flowers and plants crashing together. A garden motif is applicable to Lebkuchen as well - the gingerbread gets its distinct flavor from a complex array of spices. Read our Blog "Lebkuchen Declared One of Nature's Best Remedies" to learn more.
Some other Artist’s Chests that I have come across on the internet include the 2011 Chest with Egon Schiele's 1914 "Autumn Sun With Trees". When Schiele wasn’t painting nudes he was experimenting with the fragile moods of light. And Schmidt nailed those subtle light effects when they created this impressively printed chest.
The 2008 Artist’s Chest depicts a painting by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt called "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" or "The Woman in Gold". All that gold makes it really look like a treasure chest and indeed the pastries inside are a treasure.
In addition to the treasure of pastries inside, a metal tin is included decorated with a motif matching the larger chest. Last year's tin was square but most often the tins are round and filled with glazed and chocolate Lebkuchen cookies. Depending on the size and shape of that year's chest there are 6 or 7 types of Lebkuchen included. Lebkuchen is an umbrella term for an array of traditional German Christmas pastries including the typical round cookie, rectangular bars, Stollen and Speculatius (among others).
The 2019 Artist Chest is now available to pre-order. The 2019 Artist Chest celebrates German Expressionist painter Franz Marc’s exuberant & colourful paintings. The combination of Lebkuchen and cookies inside is particularly nice this year - Cashew Chocolate Dream, Choice Dessert Lebkuchen, Premium Elisen-Lebkuchen bars, Speculatius and Nuremberg Anise Buttons.
Owner @ Gingerbread World
(Originally published January 25, 2017. Updated August 2019)