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Hans Christian Hönes on ‘Out of the shadows? Discovering Mary Warburg’

21 June 2021

Out of the shadows? Discovering Mary Warburg

Review of:

Hedinger, Bärbel; Diers, Michael (Eds.): Mary Warburg. Porträt einer Künstlerin. Leben, Werk, München: Hirmer Verlag 2020, ISBN-13: 978-3-7774-3614-2, 535 S., EUR 68.00

Hans Christian Hönes (University of Aberdeen) 25/HCH1

Abstract: This book review discusses the lavishly illustrated catalogue raisonné of the work of Mary Warburg, nee Hertz. Warburg is undoubtedly best known as the wife of art historian Aby Warburg. This catalogue aims to highlight, for the first time, Warburg’s independent achievements as an artist. The review highlights the merits of the book, in particular its in-depth contextualization of Warburg’s work within the social and cultural history of Hamburg. The review also reflects more broadly on the merits of such large-scale cataloguing endeavours today, especially when ‘minor figures’ such as Mary Warburg are concerned.

Keywords: Mary Warburg, Aby Warburg, women artists, middlebrow, dilettantism

Interesting links: Pictures from the book; a YouTube video from the Warburg Institute -‘The Artist and the Scholar: Mary Warburg (née Hertz) and Aby Warburg’

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