In 1786 the Duke of Courland Peter von Biron (1724-1800), an outstanding art collector, purchased the Duchy of Sagan. As a result of that acquisition the castle of Sagan began hosting a collection of several hundred works of art. The artistic interests of the ducal family showed also in their patronage of various artists, e.g. the portraitist Josef Grassi or Anton Graff, both of whom received from the Duke a comission in Sagan in 1798, as well as Wilhelm Tischbein. The collector's youngest daughter, Dorothea, later Duchess de Talleyrand-Périgord (1793-1862), inherited her father's passion. She enlarged the collection with her own acquisitions and later with the inheritance from Maurice de Talleyrand. After the Congress of Vienna she came into possession of a sizable group of bronze and plaster castings of antique sculptures (e.g. Apollo Belvedere and Medici Venus) from the museum Napoleon Bonaparte intended to found. In 1855 the Duchess decided to make the art collection in Sagan accessible to the public. On that same occasion a catalogue of paintings and sculptures from her gallery was printed, including over 500 objects.
At the end of 18th century the palace in Sagan began hosting an impressive collection of works of arts, counting over 560 paintings at the time and growing continuously. The portrait gallery featured numerous depictions of monarchs and rulers of France, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Italy and Sweden. Among the works of old masters the most prominent were paintings of Dutch artists (Rembrandt, Steen, Goltzius, Hobbema, Wouwerman). The collection included also many paintings of contemporary artists, e.g. a significant group of Angelika Kauffmann's works and landscapes of Jakob Philip Hackert. In the sculpture gallery one could admire works of Christian Daniel Rauch, Ludwig Wilhelm Wichmann, Bernard Afinger, Pietro Tenerani and Scipio Tadolini. Prints and numismatics were an important part of the collection.
Verzeichnis der Gemälde-Sammlung Seiner Hoheit des Fürsten zu Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Loewenberg 1855
Katalog der werthvollen Gemälden alter Meister aus dem Nachlasse Fürsten Friedrich Wilhelm Konstantin von Hochenzollern-Hechingen, Rudolf Lepke’s Auctions-Hause, Berlin 1890
Niels von Holst, Die Gemäldegalerie Herzog Peters von Kurland in Sagan, „Quellen und Forschungen zur Baltischen Geschichte“, 5 (1944), p. 15-25
Katarzyna Adamek-Pujszo, Działalność kulturotwórcza książąt żagańskich Bironów (1786-1862), v. 2, Zielona Góra 2007
- Magdalena Palica