Makeup as Muse: Claes Oldenburg
The Makeup Museum presents: Stila at 25

Quick post: ghosts of beauty exhibitions past

I'm not sure where I was from May through September of 2011, but I totally missed the news about an exhibition on the history of makeup at the Couven Museum in Germany.  Sponsored by Babor, the exhibition displayed cosmetic items from antiquity through today, with an emphasis on the late 20th century.  From the website:  "This exhibition takes a tour through the history of seductive cosmetics from antiquity to the present day. In cooperation with Babor Cosmetics, an internationally operating Aachen family business, a selection of objects and paintings relating to the culture of cosmetics will be on show. Visitors will also get an insight in the fast-moving yet highly characteristic trends of fashionable beauty and cosmetics from the 1950s to the present day."

Poudre "Pompeia", Pappdose 19. Jh., L.T. Piver, Paris, Slg. Ilse Sommer, Foto: Königs
(image from

I tried to translate as much as I could from the brochure.  It seems like it was a bit light on the historical aspects and a little heavy on the business/advertising side - there seemed to be a LOT of guest speakers from Babor for the various panels and Babor representatives hosting tours and workshops for an additional fee - but the topics were pretty interesting:  body care in ancient Greece, Cleopatra's bathing routine, and an exploration of beauty ideals through the centuries.

I'm not sure whether I would have made the effort to travel internationally to see it, since it does sound more commercial than educational and it seemed to be relatively small-scale (I have the sense it only took up one or two rooms), but it's at least nice to know there was another cosmetics-related museum exhibition. 

I'm working away on various exhibitions of my own so I hope to have more in-depth content soon.  In the meantime, have you ever been to Germany?  I need to go, if only just to experience the Lipstick Museum in Berlin...but that's a post for another time. ;)

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