Emilie Oleron (Paris III/CNRS) : Transposing the Zeitgeist : Nikolaus Pevsner between Kunstgeschichte and Art History
Throughout his career, the German-born art historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) attempted to elevate the history of art and the history of architecture to the status of academic disciplines in Britain, the country to which he emigrated in 1933. His theoretical approach, centred around the study of the links between artistic forms, national characters and the concept of Zeitgeist, informed the historical language that he gradually caused to spread in the United Kingdom. It is possible to regard Pevsner’s body of work as a continuation of reflections that started in Germany and to observe in it both specificities of aspects of the German-speaking history of art, isolated from their context of origin, and transformations of the vocabulary and the language of the discipline due to this change of place.
Richard Woodfield (Université de Birmingham) : Ernst Gombrich. A Viennese Art historian in London
Ernst Gombrich was, arguably, the most famous art historian of the twentieth-century. However, not only did he have no school his work had little or no impact on the daily practice of Anglophone art history, except to validate the intellectual respectability of the discipline within the British university community. Most significantly his key works were misunderstood or misrecognised. His employment at the Warburg Institute and the fame of his Story of Art created a situation where he could freely pursue problems he inherited from the Wiener Schule, Panofsky and Warburg. He was never, in the Kuhnian sense, a « normal » art historian. He was a « commentator » in the sense of the contributors to Kunstgeschichtliche Anzeigen and Kritische Berichte. In the Anglophone world he was one of its most distinguished outsiders.
Professor Woodfield’s presentation will be based on the following material: http://academia.edu/255819/Richard_Woodfield_Ernst_Gombrich_and_the_problem_of_being_a_Viennese_art_historian_in_London