Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern by Carolyn Kay

By Carolyn Kay

In this new examine of artwork in fin-de-siècle Hamburg, Carolyn Kay examines the profession of the city's paintings gallery director, Alfred Lichtwark, considered one of Imperial Germany's such a lot influential museum administrators and a well known cultural critic. A champion of recent paintings, Lichtwark stirred controversy one of the city's bourgeoisie by means of commissioning modern German work for the Kunsthalle through secession artists and helping the formation of an self sufficient paintings circulation in Hamburg stimulated through French impressionism. Drawing on an in depth volume of archival study, and mixing either ancient and artwork old techniques, Kay examines Lichtwark's cultural politics, their influence at the Hamburg bourgeoisie, and the following adjustments to the cultural scene in Hamburg.

Kay focuses her research on smooth paintings scandals in Hamburg and exhibits that Lichtwark confronted powerful public resistance within the Nineties, profitable major aid from the city's bourgeoisie purely after 1900. Lichtwark's fight to realize recognition for impressionism highlights conflicts in the city's center type as to what constituted applicable types and matters of German paintings, with competition teams hard a conventional and 'pure' German tradition. the writer additionally considers who in the Hamburg bourgeoisie supported Lichtwark, and why. Kay's neighborhood research of the controversy over cultural modernism in Imperial Germany makes an important contribution either to the examine of modernism and to the heritage of German culture.

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Extra resources for Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern Painting in Hamburg, 1886-1914

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He suffered from the criticism of those who opposed the modern art he introduced, and he never quite escaped from the petty judgments of lesser men who knew that he did not have the full academic qualifications of some of his peers. He had not received a Prima from the Gymnasiums he attended, and had stopped his university studies at Leipzig before the Habilitation, although the Hamburg Senate named him an honorary professor in 1890. Even his writing style - sparse, crisp, and evocative - offended some people.

Why, for example, were there so few portraits of Hamburg's illustrious statesmen? 8 Eventually, Lichtwark's efforts on behalf of modern portraits won out, albeit with the help of private donations. Liebermann painted seven portraits even after the Petersen difficulties, and in 1906 completed a superb ensemble portrait of nine Hamburg professors (including Justus Brinckmann) entitled The Hamburg Assembly of Professors (plate 2). However, he painted all of these works after 1905 - twelve years after the controversial Petersen portrait - during which time Lichtwark had calmed the waters.

The artist's choice of colour and composition, and the manner in which he recreates the appearance of the subject - show- The Petersen Portrait 43 ing us the physical qualities of men and women of his time, and what sort of clothing they wore - all combine to give a distinct impression of a society and its people. 6 According to Lichtwark, even more important than this historical function was the ability of portraiture to express and reinforce the superior qualities of a nation's predominant social class.

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