Nach Klimt kein Ende? Ambivalenz und politische Legitimation in der Kunstgeschichte der Zwischenkriegszeit

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Title in English Beyond Klimt? Ambivalence and Political Legitimacy within the Field of Art History during the Interwar Period


Year of publication 2021
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description In 2018 the Belvedere Exhibition Nach Klimt kein Ende brought attention to a curious phenomenon in the history of art: the fact that while German art of the 1920s and 1930s has been an object of endless fascination, that of Austria is almost invisible on the international stage. This article examines the reasons for this fact. It argues that while the marginal position of Austrian art after 1918 reflects the loss of international political and cultural status of Vienna, it is also a function of a variety of political factors. These include, for instance, the way that the history of art is enmeshed in wider historical narratives, in particular, the myths of rebirth of the new states of central Europe; the fact that figurative painting was a prominent aspect of interwar Austrian art (with little interest in avant-garde practices of photomontage or photography); the fact that many Austrian artists openly endorsed Catholic and other religious values; ambivalence and awkwardness regarding the authoritarian dictatorship of Austria that preceded the Anschluss. All of these have made it difficult to fit Austrian art into larger narratives of modernism. Ultimately, the paper argues, the Belvedere exhibition reminds us that the implicit values and framework governing the historiography of modern art should never be regarded as ›settled‹.
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