By Carolyn Kay
In this new examine of artwork in fin-de-siècle Hamburg, Carolyn Kay examines the occupation of the city's artwork gallery director, Alfred Lichtwark, one among Imperial Germany's such a lot influential museum administrators and a well known cultural critic. A champion of recent artwork, Lichtwark stirred controversy one of the city's bourgeoisie via commissioning modern German work for the Kunsthalle through secession artists and aiding the formation of an self reliant paintings move in Hamburg stimulated through French impressionism. Drawing on an intensive quantity of archival study, and mixing either ancient and artwork old methods, Kay examines Lichtwark's cultural politics, their impact at the Hamburg bourgeoisie, and the next alterations to the cultural scene in Hamburg.
Kay focuses her learn on glossy paintings scandals in Hamburg and exhibits that Lichtwark confronted powerful public resistance within the Eighteen Nineties, successful major aid from the city's bourgeoisie in simple terms after 1900. Lichtwark's fight to realize attractiveness for impressionism highlights conflicts in the city's center type as to what constituted appropriate kinds and topics 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 examine of the controversy over cultural modernism in Imperial Germany makes an important contribution either to the research of modernism and to the heritage of German culture.
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Additional resources for Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern Painting in Hamburg, 1886-1914
The answer to this question appears to be yes. The Burgerturn in Germany became essential for the success and popularity of modern art by the early 1900s. 94 As studies of the Biirgertum have shown, the middle classes did not compose a homogenous entity, but a diverse collection of groups according to profession, wealth, education, and religion. 98 Thus while the Biirgertum as a whole did not welcome German or French impressionism and a large section of the middle class likely remained quite hostile to modern art,99 especially French art (witness the success of Langbehn's Rembrandt als Erzieher), a significant number of wealthy bourgeois did support and enjoy modern art - enough to keep art dealers happy and prompt dramatically higher prices for impressionist and post-impressionist paintings after the turn of the century.
By placing German impressionists on the side of youth, Lichtwark also offered artists a defence against public indifference or hostility. Some day, he promised these artists, you will be honoured. 127 By calling the new German art youthful in spirit and technique, Lichtwark raised a battle cry for cultural progress; indeed, he defined good art as necessarily controversial. Lichtwark did not limit his praise of German art to the impressionists. Menzel, Bocklin, Friedrich, and Leibl had a place in his list of German masters.
And he defended Tschudi in 1908 during his conflict with the emperor over the purchases of paintings by Courbet, Delacroix, and Daumier for the National Gallery. '117 He also stressed that German art had to excel as an independent cultural expression: 'Directly at hand there is public interest in building a front against the affectation of foreign ways. I am the last person who wishes to reject foreign artworks, as long as they only provide inspiration. '118 To find a solution to this problem, Lichtwark looked to the cultivation of modern German art as a distinctive and innovative expression of German culture, thus setting himself apart from cultural nationalists who defined traditional volkisch (populistic) art as quintessentially Germanic.