Starting in 1914, it was run as an independent museum, and the new focus was to put on presentations that took an art-historical approach and were ordered by stylistic periods. Numerous collection items were lost to destruction and theft during the final weeks of the Second World War, including valuable tapestries and exhibits from the East Asia collection. For a long time after the war, there was also a lack of exhibition space, as Dresden's city centre was destroyed. Several parts of the collection found a home in the Zwinger, while some pieces of furniture are still on show in the Moritzburg and Weesenstein castles today.
In 1963, the collection was moved to Schloss Pillnitz (Pillnitz Palace). In addition to special spaces such the visible storage display of the furnishings manufacturer Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau and the Weinlig rooms in Schloss Pillnitz, special exhibitions regularly shine a light on selected objects at the centrally located Kunsthalle am Lipsiusbau.