TOC: Journal of Art Historiography Volume 1 December 2009
Agnes Blaha, ‘Fritz Novotny and the new Vienna school of art history – an ambiguous relation’
Abstract: Fritz Novotny was repeatedly described as a member of the New Vienna School. In my paper I argue that Novotny’s relation to this group is rather ambiguous because Novotny, in spite of all similarities in the descriptions of formal qualities, had a very different attitude towards the role of the individual artwork than Sedlmayr and Pächt. Instead of aiming at a definite decision whether or not to include Novotny in the New Vienna School, the article demonstrates that opinions on this question can be interpreted as the result of different academic traditions in the Anglo-American and the German-speaking scientific communities.
Jonathan Blower, ‘Max Dvorak and Austrian Denkmalpflege at War’
Abstract: As was often the case with Vienna School art historians, Max Dvoøák (1874-1921) contributed a significant amount to the theory and practice of monument preservation. This paper considers his reactions to the precarious situation of artistic heritage during and after the first world war, which he conceived as a conflict between spiritual and material values. In writings that betray a less than objective patriotism, Italy emerges as Dvoøák’s principal antagonist, whilst critical voices in Austria – that of Karl Kraus in particular – undermined his position by calling for an end to the so-called monument cult.
Ricardo di Mambro Santos, ‘The concentric critique. Schlosser’s Kunstliteratur and the paradigm of style in Croce and Vossler’
Abstract: The essay analyzes the philosophical and methodological premises of Julius von Schlosser’s most important contribution in the field of art historiography: Die Kunstliteratur, published in Vienna in 1924. It examines Schlosser’s adoption of paradigms drawn from Croce’s aesthetics and Vossler’s linguistics in order to understand his radical shift from a positivistic method of research to an idealistic conception of the critique as a verbal (repeatable) evocation of the visual (unrepeatable) experience of art. According to Schlosser, works of art, given their relation to intuition, should not be considered potential objects of knowledge, but more appropriately vehicles for an inner, spiritual transformation. Since the “purest essence” of art cannot be reached beyond the “unique moment” of aesthetic experience, Schlosser’s critique no longer tries to analyze the “real centre” of a work of art – namely its “artistic” values – but limits itself to the description of the material conditions closely related to its creation. By means of a “concentric” approach, Schlosser thus investigates any element that belongs to the “historical grammar” of a “language”, giving up any conscious attempt to determine the real “centre” of a work of art, i.e. the untranslatable beauty of its “style”.
Dorothea McEwan, ‘ Aby Warburg’s and Fritz Saxl’s assessment of the ‘Wiener Schule’’
Abstract: The paper is an attempt to locate both scholars' views in the discussion of the direction and scope of the ‘Wiener Schule’. Warburg, who corresponded with members of the ‘Wiener Schule’, and Saxl, who was trained by its teachers, whilst reading the important books of its members, never wanted to be drawn into their research agenda. Warburg was clear that he wanted to pursue a different form of ‘Kulturwissenschaft', all but untranslatable into English, possibly approaching a term like cultural 'science'. Saxl, whilst sympathetic to individual proponents of the ‘Wiener Schule’, realized that its analysis of artistic production would not be shared by scholars working in the KBW and/or the newly established university in Hamburg. The result was friendly coexistence in equidistance.
Kristóf Nyíri, ‘Gombrich on image and time’
Abstract: There is a very close, indeed intrinsic, connection between the notions of image and time. Images are incomplete unless they are moving ones – unless, that is, they happen in time. On the other hand, time cannot be conceptualized except by metaphors, and so ultimately by images, of movement in space. That only the moving image is a full-fledged one is a fact that was fully recognized and articulated by Ernst Gombrich. Also, Gombrich entertained, and argued for, a rich and well-balanced view of the relationships between pictorial and verbal representation. An antidote to the unholy influence of Goodman, Gombrich deserves to be rediscovered as the figure whose work is ideally suited to providing a founding paradigm for a truly successful philosophy of images.
Karl Johns, ‘Julius von Schlosser and the need to reminisce’
Abstract: In the present essay of 1936, Julius Schlosser seems to have originated the term of ‘die Wiener Schule de Kunstgeschichte’. After surviving a period of exasperating rivalry with Josef Strzygowski, seeing so many colleagues go to their graves before completing their favorite projects, and possibly since Wilhelm Waetzoldt decided to omit Austrians from his Deutsche Kunsthistoriker, there were several reasons for a man of his age, experience and critical vigor to take stock of a development which seemed to be heading into an uncertain future.
Ian Verstegen, ‘John White’s and John Shearman’s Viennese Art Historical Method’
Abstract: John White and John Shearman were two of Johannes Wilde’s most brilliant students at the Courtauld. Although Wilde did not espouse a method his own concentration on site-specifics of works of art and interest in reconstruction, which was such an important component in his students’ work, can be traced back to Vienna school interests in intense knowledge of the artwork and parallels some of the classic pronouncements of the ‘second’ Vienna school of Hans Sedlmayr and Otto Pächt. By examining Wilde’s method, and various of White’s and Shearman’s studies, this point is demonstrated.
Jindrich Vybiral, ‘The Vienna School of Art History and (Viennese) Modern Architecture’
Abstract: The essay investigates the way Strzygowski, Dvoøák and Tietze interpreted contemporary architecture, and also traces the basic premises of the Vienna School in their views. Viennese art historians, namely Dvoøák and Tietze, shared a critical attitude toward historicism and eclecticism of he 19th century with their contemporaries. They regarded Otto Wagner as the most influential architect of the generation of 1900, but at the same time, they protested his belief that architectural form could be based solely on constructional reason and utility. They defined the notion that art emerges first from nonmaterial ideals. In opposition against architectural realism, based on the characteristics of technological society, they hold that architecture should be a product of imaginative subjectivity. Unlike advocates of empirical utilitarianism, finding their voice at the time, they stressed on importance of cultivating artistic tradition.
Robert Williams, ‘Das Eine im Wandel: music and Kunstwissenschaft’
Abstract: This essay examines the role of music in shaping Riegl’s conception of Kunstwollen and thus his conception of the history of art as a whole. Indebted both to Schopenhauer’s appreciation of music as an expression of the ultimate reality, that thing-in-itself which he calls the Will, and to Hanslick’s notion of music as tonal forms in motion, likened at one point to a moving arabesque, Riegl understood the Kunstwollen to be the ultimate object of a properly “scientific” art history, that thing-in-itself which the history of art must assume to exist as the condition of its own possibility as a science. Immaterial and dynamic, it displaces the focus of art-historical inquiry from the individual art object; its radical potential is at odds with the object fetishism of contemporary art history.
German art and philosophy:
Mark A. Cheetham, ‘Theory reception: Panofsky, Kant, and disciplinary cosmopolitanism’
Abstract: One of the most prominent philosophical legacies in the historiography of art history is Erwin Panofsky’s debt to Immanuel Kant. Structurally and thematically, Panofsky imports philosophy, embodied by Kant, into the body of the younger discipline. I will argue that it is Kant’s vision of cosmopolitanism governs the relationships between philosophy and art history for Panofsky. What I call "theory reception” – how Panofsky received Kant and how art history in the U.S.A. received Panofsky, however much he may have downplayed the theoretical aspects of his later work - was in part determined, as it often is, by political factors. I will also ask what would it mean for art history to be cosmopolitan now? To approach these questions, we need to move away from both art history and philosophy to study the re-engagement with the term cosmopolitan in other contemporary discourses.
Jae Emmerling, ‘An art history of means: Arendt-Benjamin’
Abstract: Transmissibility is an essential concept for any discourse on historiography and aesthetics. In fact, this concept traverses the contemporary impasse of art historical critical practice. Although explicitly associated with Walter Benjamin, the entirety of Hannah Arendt’s work on art and history is premised on transmissibility as well. It allows them to conceive a space of history from within the aesthetic, the world of artifice. This essay reads Benjamin and Arendt alongside and against one other in order to rethink art and history without resorting to eschatology or the histrionics of political theology. In creating this virtual historiography—Arendt-Benjamin—it conceives transmissibility as an aesthetic-historiographic concept that renders an openness between past and future, poiesis and aisthesis. Writing the history of art becomes the creation of a passage between what-has-been and artifice; it becomes the opening of history into life, an event of recollection.
Branko Mitrovic, ‘Ruminations on the dark side: history of art as rage and denials’
Abstract: The holist view is that the creativity of an author is the manifestation of the creativity of the group he or she belongs to; the individualist view is that the creativity of the group is merely the sum of the creativities of the individuals who constitute that group. The holist understanding of human creativity was particularly widespread among Weimar-era historians and their almost unanimous tendency to adopt holist historical explanations constitutes a collective phenomenon in its own right. The paper explores the problems of providing an individualist explanation of this phenomenon.
Beat Wyss, ‘The Schopenhauer-Galaxy’
Abstract: My paper discusses the methodical question of the cultural unconscious, taking up the concept of “mentalities” by the Annales school of historiography, and Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of “habituality”. The scope is to describe contemporary manifestations in philosophy, literature and artwork in epistemic terms. Is there a modernist mentality, encompassing different disciplines, genres, and authors? In a case study, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungen, and Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism are subjects of a discourse analysis. Their common denominator is the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, whose legacy is paradigmatic for the intellectual field between European Symbolism and avant-garde.
Allan Langdale, ‘Interviews with Michael Baxandall, February 3rd and 4th, 1994, Berkeley, CA ‘
Abstract: The following interviews with Michael Baxandall were conducted in Berkeley on February 3rd and 4th of 1994. The content of these interviews include general responses about developments in art history in the years between 1960 and 1985, a period of dramatic modifications in the discipline. Among the issues are the rise of the social history of art and the sources from anthropology that informed Baxandall’s concept of the ‘Period Eye’. Baxandall talks about his own work, his personal intellectual history, and the scholars of past and current generations who influenced him. Other topics include Baxandall’s professional trajectory, the Warburg Library, and aspects of cultural history having to do with Renaissance Humanism. These interviews first appeared as an appendix to the PhD dissertation by Allan Langdale, Art History and Intellectual History: Michael Baxandall’s Work between 1963 and 1985, U. C. Santa Barbara, 1995.
Allan Langdale, ‘Linguistic Theories and Intellectual History in Michael Baxandall’s Giotto and the Orators’
Abstract: This essay examines some theoretical and methodological aspects of Michael Baxandall’s book Giotto and the Orators. Humanist observers of painting in Italy and the discovery of pictorial composition of 1971. It includes reflections on the book’s reorientations of the scholarly debate over the relationship between Renaissance/Early Modern humanism and painting, as well as consideration of the linguistic theories that either directly or tangentially inform Baxandall’s method. Sources such as Wittgenstein, Cassirer, Ordinary Language Philosophy, and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis are discussed. Some of the book’s aims and methods are clarified by a comparison to Panofsky’s Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism of 1951.
Janet T. Marquardt, ‘Defining French ‘Romanesque’: the Zodiaque series’
Abstract: This essay examines the use of the term “Romanesque” as an artistic style and time period for architecture, sculpture and other arts photographed and published in a journal and multiple series of books by monks at the abbey of la Pierre-qui-Vire in Burgundy between 1951 and 2001. Although the term suggests a coherent body of work with related qualities, the actual imagery destabilizes our understanding of how one can actually define Romanesque. At the same time, the artfully composed photogravure illustrations and inclusive survey of sites strongly influenced art historians of the twentieth century by reinforcing notions of geographic workshops, bringing a fresh, modernist aesthetic to well known material, and publishing photographs of many unknown works for the first time.
Silvina Vidal, ‘Rethinking the Warburian tradition in the 21st century’
Abstract: The present article is divided in two parts. The first one deals with the contribution of José E. Burucúa’s book: Historia, Arte, Cultura. De Aby Warburg a Carlo Ginzburg to the field of Warburgian studies. The following aspects receive particular attention throughout this article: (i) the growing importance of Warburg’s thought in relation to the crisis of the major 20th century historical narratives and the linguistic turn; (ii) the relevance of certain concepts (such as das Nachleben der Antike, the Denkraum and Pathosformeln) to the present field of cultural studies, and (iii) Burucúa’s position regarding the current theoretical disputes taking place among those intellectuals influenced by Warburg's ideas. The second part reproduces an interview with the Argentinean art historian, in which he discusses in detail certain cultural phenomena, through a Warburgian perspective.
Elizabeth Burn Coleman, ‘Historical ironies: the Australian Aboriginal art revolution’
Abstract: This paper examines the Aboriginal Art revolution that has occurred over the last 40 years in Australia, and in particular, the idea that we should understand Aboriginal art as a form of contemporary art. Not only does the Aboriginal arts movement challenge the legitimacy of Australia’s sovereignty through its legal claim to and spiritual connection with the land, but it challenges broader historical and art historical myths – the inevitability of the demise of Aboriginal cultures, and artistic myths about the ‘universality’ of art. Artistic claims to the ‘right to appropriate’, if this is what is required for expression of their artistic vision, show themselves to be elements cultural hegemony of colonisation.
Karl Johns, ‘Julius von Schlosser, The Vienna school of the history of art (1934)’
Abstract: Julius v. Schlosser, The Vienna School of the History of Art - Review of a Century of Austrian Scholarship in German Including a list of members edited by Hans Hahnloser. Dedicated to the spirit of Theodor von Sickel and Franz Wickhoff on the 25th anniversary of their deaths and the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Österreichisches Institut für Geschichtsforschung. A translation of ‘Die Wiener Schule der Kunstgeschichte‘, Mitteilungen des österreichischen Institut für Geschichtsforschung Ergänzungs-Band 13, Heft 2, Innsbruck: Wagner 1934.
Karl Johns, ‘Moriz Thausing and the road towards objectivity in the history of art (1883), with a provisional list of his publications and translation of his inaugural lecture ‘The status of the history of art as an academic discipline’’
Abstract: On the basis of their substantial publications and widely publicized polemics, Alois Riegl and Franz Wickhoff are justifiably considered the founding figures of the so-called Vienna School of Art History. The historical accident that specialized journals did not previously exist, and meetings and public discussions of the methodology of the history of art did not yet regularly take place, should not however obscure the fact that a coherent and outspoken tradition already existed. When Moriz Thausing held his inaugural lecture in 1873, he was delineating a course of study which linked the history of art to the other disciplines as he must have himself already have been teaching for nearly a decade. His discussion of the nature of art and the method of its historical study as distinct from related subjects and particularly philosophical aesthetics are worth recalling in the context of the origins of the academic study of the history of art.
Consolato Latella, 'Wind and Riegl: the meaning of a "problematical" grammar'
Abstract: This article constitutes a detailed critical reading of Edgar Wind’s early work, focusing, in particular, on his German philosophical writings concerning art,art history and art-historical methodology. Through comparisons with the authors
Wind tackled (Alois Riegl, Heinrich Wölfflin, Hans Tietze) and by whom he was inﬂuenced (Erwin Panofsky, Alois Riegl), this article shows Wind’s contribution towards a redefinition of art history as an autonomous discipline and his plan of a concrete systematic study of art (konkrete Kunstwissenschaft) confronting the important heritage of the thought of Riegl. By following the path which brought Wind to the definition of a systematically organized table of ‘artistic problems’ - which are fundamental to the art interrogation - supposed to work as a kind of compass for the art historian, this article aims to contribute to the understanding and
interpretation of such concepts as ‘style’ and the Riegelian Kunstwollen.
Thijs Weststeijn: Paul Taylor (ed.), Iconography without Texts. Warburg Institute Colloquia 13, 2008
Nicolás Kwiatowski: José Emilio Burucúa, Historia, Arte, Cultura. De Aby Warburg a Carlo Ginzburg, 2003
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)