Skip to content

8: Jun13

The Vienna School beyond Vienna. Art history in Central Europe

Guest edited by Matthew Rampley

Matthew Rampley, ‘Introduction’  8-MR/1

Milena Bartlová, ‘Continuity and discontinuity in the Czech legacy of the Vienna School of Art History’   8-MB/1

Marta Filipova, ‘Between East and West: The Vienna School and the idea of Czechoslovak art’  8-MF/1

Nenad Makuljević, ‘The political reception of the Vienna School: Josef Strzygowski and Serbian art history’  8-NM/1

Stefan Muthesius, ‘The Cracow school of modern art history: the creation of a method and an institution 1850-1880’  8-SM/1

Paul Stirton, ‘The Vienna School in Hungary: Antal, Wilde and Fülep’  8-PS/1

Matthew Rampley, ‘The Strzygowski School of Cluj. An episode in interwar Romanian cultural politics’  8-MR/2

Magdalena Kunińska, ‘Marian Sokołowski: patriotism and the genesis of scientific art history in Poland’  8-MK/1

Documents

Wojciech Bałus, ‘Ksawery Piwocki and the Vienna and Lvov Schools of Art History’  8-WB/1

Jindrich Vybiral, ‘What is ‘Czech’ in Art in Bohemia? Alfred Woltmann and defensive mechanisms of Czech artistic historiography’  8-JV/1

Translations

Matthew Rampley (trans. & ed.), ‘Emil Filla, ‘‘Domenico Theotocopuli El Greco. Notes from an exhibition of El Greco in Munich’’’  8-EF/1

Marta Filipová (trans. & ed.), ‘Vincenc Kramář, “Obituary of Franz Wickhoff”’  8-VK/1

Matthew Rampley (trans.) ‘Ernő Marosi, ‘’The origins of art history in Hungary’’’  8-EM/1

Reviews

Matthew Rampley, ‘Rethinking the geography of art history’, Jerzy Malinowski (ed.), History of Art History in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Toruń, Society of Modern Art and Tako Publishing, 2012. 2 vols. 299 + 285 pp.  8-MR/3

Griselda Pollock, ‘Countering memory loss through misrepresentation: what does she think feminist art history is?’, Julie M. Johnson, The Memory Factory: The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900, West Lafayette, IN.: Purdue University Press, 2012, 438 pp., 136 b. & w. illus. £27.00 pbk, ISBN978-1-55753-613-3.  8-GP/1

Abstracts

Matthew Rampley, ‘Introduction: The Vienna School beyond Vienna. Art history in Central Europe’  8-MR/1

Abstract: A complex political, social and cultural space that occupied both eastern and western Europe, the Habsburg Empire has not fared well at the hands of commentators, who have frequently produced limited studies of individual parts, in particular, its capital city, at the expense of considering that complex network of relations that bound the imperial possessions together. The Vienna School of Art History has been no exception to this pattern. Studies of the work of its leading representatives, most notably Alois Riegl and Max Dvořák, have tended to place them the firmly within the tradition of German language scholarship. In one sense this is entirely appropriate and correct, but it risks producing a partial picture of the Vienna School. This issue of the Journal of Art Historiography attempts to explore that other side of the Vienna School, examining the ways in which the practices and values of its representatives came to shape the subsequent development of art history across central Europe.

Key words: Max Dvořák; Josef Strzygowski; Coriolan Petranu; Czech art history; Polish art history; Hungarian art history; Romanian art history; Habsburg Empire; Vienna

Articles

Milena Bartlová, ‘Continuity and discontinuity in the Czech legacy of the Vienna School of Art History’  8-MB/1

Abstract: This article considers the development of Czech art history from the late nineteenth century to the present. It argues that while Czech art historians were anxious to establish a distinctive art historical voice in Europe, they were led a symbiotic relationship with the Vienna School. Most of the leading art historians of the early years of the Czechosovak Republic after 1918 studied with Alois Riegl, Franz Wickhoff, Max Dvořák of Josef Strzygowski, and maintained a strong loyalty to the values and methods of their teachers. Thus for all that 1918 marked a political watershed, there was considerable continuity with the Vienna School of the Habsburg Empire. Despite the numerous subsequent political and ideological events, including four decades of Communist, Czech art historians continued to regard Vienna School art historians as fundamental points of reference, and this has been sustained by a self-understanding that has emphasised continuity with the past.

Keywords: Vincenc Kramář; Vojtěch Birnbaum; Antonín Matějček; Max Dvořák; Václav Mencl; Zdeněk Wirth

Marta Filipova, ‘Between East and West: The Vienna School and the idea of Czechoslovak art’  8-MF/1

Abstract: Although the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 could be regarded in certain respects as a historical caesura, in others, there was continuity with the Habsburg past particularly in intellectual life. Czech art history between the wars was under strong influence of the Vienna school, especially Riegl and Dvořák’s theories, which their followers in Prague developed and adapted to the new political context. The question whether Czech or Czechoslovak art had historic links with the “East or West” was especially pertinent to many Czech art historians in this period, as it indicated western or eastern affiliation of art as well as art historical scholarship. Extending Riegl’s legacy, Czech art historians held discussions about mediaeval architecture in Bohemia but also about more contemporary art and folk art in Czechoslovakia. The politically motivated idea of “Czechoslovak identity” that was born in this time to validate the existence of a joint state of the Czechs and Slovaks gave rise to attempts to define “Czechoslovak art” and its place within European art history. The western preference of the Czech followers of the Vienna school, however, was contested by several local scholars and by Josef Strzygowski, the infamous antipode to Riegl and Dvořák, who emphasised the historical importance of “eastern” art in this geographical context. This article therefore focuses on the extent of dissemination of influential ideas from Vienna across Central Europe in the early twentieth century and on the way these ideas were adapted to specific political circumstances.

Key words: Vienna School of art history; Czech art history; Czechoslovakism; national identity

Magdalena Kunińska, ‘Marian Sokołowski: patriotism and the genesis of scientific art history in Poland’  8-MK/1

Abstract: Marian Sokołowski (1839–1911), the first occupant of a chair in art history at a Polish university, is often referred to as ‘the father of Art History in Poland.’ Yet, in many respects his work and his approach to the discipline has largely fallen into oblivion, even in Poland.  Although regarded as a ‘pioneer’ Sokołowski is frequently regarded as little more than an epigone of the Viennese School or as scholar driven primarily by the patriotic feelings that were the result of the partition of Poland during the nineteenth century. This article undertakes a detailed study of his writing; although he did not develop an explicit theoretical or methodological position, a coherent model of art historical practice underlay his scholarly enterprise, drawing on a combination of contextual study, cultural history and the typological analysis of forms. The article analyses that model and also examines its deep ideological engagement.

Keywords: Marian Sokołowski; Cracow; positivism; patriotism; Wölfflin; morphology; biology

Nenad Makuljević, ‘The political reception of the Vienna School: Josef Strzygowski and Serbian art history’  8-NM/1

Abstract: This article considers the impact of the work of Josef Strzygowski in Serbia and, after 1918, Yugoslavia. Although he was a controversial figure in Austria, his work was very positively received in Serbian intellectual and political circles. In particular, Strzygowski’s interest in Serbian art was seen as culturally and politically empowering in a state that was still concerned to gain recognition in Europe in the early twentieth century. Although there was a history of antagonism between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, the symbolism of the fact that a leading representative of the University of Vienna had a sympathetic view of Serbian art and culture was not overlooked by the social and cultural elite. The article thus examines the influence of Strzygowski in the light of the wider political context of Serbia and Yugoslavia. It also examines the profile of Strzygowski, after hie death in 1941 arguing that he has continued to serve as an important reference point for Serbian art historians, albeit in a rather more critical manner that was once the case.

Keywords: Meštrović; Serbia; Yugoslavia; Munich Psalter; Evangeliary of Etschmiadzin

Stefan Muthesius, ‘The Cracow school of modern art history: the creation of a method and an institution 1850-1880’  8-SM/1

Abstract: This article examines the origins of the ‘Cracow School of Art History.’ It argues that the title is well deserved, denoting a specific intellectual tradition that was tied to the milieu of the city. Its beginnings lay in the 1860s to 1880s, when Cracow fulfilled a role as the unofficial cultural capital of the divided Polish lands. Saturated with monuments of the past, it called for thorough art historical research. Until the 1860s this was supplied mainly under the auspices of the new specialist Austrian heritage organisation.  Soon, however, scholars in Cracow organised their own institutions devoted to pure research, notably the Akademia in 1872. Subsequently the University installed its new department of art history. The teachers in the latter institution in particular generated an unusual degree of  intellectual continuity and coherence.  The new model of scientific kind of research was introduced by Władysław Łuszczkiewicz (1828-1900) in his trenchant analyses of Polish Cistercian monasteries, combining empirical investigation with rationalist architectural maxims. Since then the belief in, and the rhetoric of an incorruptible academic-scientific search for art-historical truth has provided the principal tie for this group.

Key words : East Central Europe; late 19th century empiricist art history; nationalism; localism; Łuszczkiewicz

Matthew Rampley, ‘The Strzygowski School of Cluj. An episode in interwar Romanian cultural politics’  8-MR/2

Abstract: This article examines the work of Coriolan Petranu (1893-1945), a Romanian art historian who studied the vernacular art and architecture of Transylvania. Petranu was a graduate of the Vienna School, having studied with Josef Strzygowski, and following the model of his teacher, sought to challenge existing art historical hierarchies by drawing attention to the architecture of its Romanian population. Transylvania was a contested territory, and this article examines the ways in which Petranu became enmeshed in the rivalries between Hungary and Romania over the cultural affiliation of the region and how his study of vernacular culture reflected wider debates in the early twentieth century over the nature of Romanian identity.

Keywords: Folk art; Hungary; Romania; Károly Kós; Nicolae Iorga; Corneliu Codreanu

Paul Stirton, ‘The Vienna School in Hungary: Antal, Wilde and Fülep’  8-PS/1

Abstract: This article has two principal aims. The first is to outline the approach and development of a group of Hungarian-born art historians who trained in Vienna and who came together in Budapest during the First World War. The radical intellectual climate and the experience of war and revolution exposed these scholars to new concepts of art and culture, challenging many of their aesthetic principles. From this emerged one tradition in the social history of art. The second part of the article traces the dispersal of this group and their subsequent careers, contrasting their work with approaches to art historical scholarship that dominated in Hungarian institutions in the inter-war period. By implication, the article suggests that a distinctive type of art history could have developed in Hungary if the political situation had been more conducive.

Key words: Lukács circle; Ferenc Pulszky; Imre Henszlmann; Frigyes Antal; Janos Wilde; Karoly Tolnay; Edith Hoffmann; Jenö Lányi; Otto Benesch; Arnold Hauser; Lajos Fülep

Documents

Wojciech Bałus, ‘Ksawery Piwocki and the Vienna and Lvov Schools of Art History’  8-WB/1

Abstract: The scientific work of Ksawery Piwocki (1901-1974), Polish art historian, differed from the work of researchers of his generation in two essential aspects. It took folk and primitive art into account and considered art contemporary with Piwocki’s life.  The ideal sought by Piwocki was a comprehensive outlook on artistic phenomena. In relation to the individual work of art, this entailed emphasising the role of form as the factor shaping the structure and essence of the artefact. Form not only constituted the painting or sculpture, but was also the bearer. Piwocki’s comprehensive examination could be also applied on a wider scale, to historical periods and artistic genres, as well as to folk art. That is the source of both the researcher’s interest in Kunstwollen and its connection with the notion of style as a supraindividual drive producing the style of a historical period of inner meaning, i.e. the outlook on life and psychological content . The views of Piwocki were formed under the influence of the Vienna School of Art History (Alois Riegl) and scholars from the University of Lvov (Jan Bołoz Antoniewicz, Władysław Podlacha), where he studied before World War 2.

Keywords: Piwocki; L’viv; Folk Art; Formalism; Dilthey; Ethnography; Riegl

Jindrich Vybiral, ‘What is ‘Czech’ in Art in Bohemia? Alfred Woltmann and defensive mechanisms of Czech artistic historiography’  8-JV/1

Abstract:  The art historian Alfred Woltmann (1841-1880) in a lecture delivered 1876 put forth a highly provocative thesis on the predominance of the German element in the art of the Bohemian capital. He created thereby the outlines of a highly problematic situation, the resolution of which for many decades formed one of the central themes of Czech art history. Scholarly conclusions that proved the inferiority of the Slavonic tribe – and could not be simply disproved – consequently formed an insurmountable barrier for the efforts of Czech nationalist scholarship. Psychology makes use of the concept of “frustration” for such cases. Reactions to frustration are most commonly the defensive or ego-defensive mechanisms first mentioned in 1894 by Sigmund Freud and later described more fully by his daughter Anna Freud. The individual manifesting the symptom attempts to “destroy” the barrier or to attack the source of frustration in order to renew his or her psychic balance and repair his or her damaged self-evaluation. The essay aspires to make use of Freud´s systematic analysis to sketch an overview of the unconscious defensive mechanisms to be discerned in Czech artistic historiography following in the wake of Woltmann’s lecture (aggression, escape into fantasy, dismissal, repression, compensation, rationalisation, auto-accusation).

Key words: Czech art history; nationalism; defensive mechanisms; Alfred Woltmann

Translations

Matthew Rampley (trans. & ed.), ‘Emil Filla, ‘‘Domenico TheotocopuliEl Greco. Notes from an exhibition of El Greco in Munich’’’  8-EF/1

Abstract: Emil Filla (1882-1953) was one of the leading modernist painters working in Prague before the First World War. Anxious to avoid the limitations of the provincial art world of Prague, he avidly consumed the most advanced artistic practices of the major art centres of the time, culminating in a quite personal appropriation and interpretation of Cubism. A close reading of Filla’s article reveals obvious traces of Vienna School thinking; the most striking is his repeated reference to the artistic will (vůle umělecká) which is a direct Czech translation of Riegl’s ‘Kunstwollen’. Filla’s interest, too, in how El Greco treated spatial relations, bears more than a passing resemblance to Riegl’s exploration of figure-ground relations in Late Roman Art Industry.

Key words: Mánes Association; Czech Cubism; Skupina výtvarných umělců; Julius Meier-Graefe; Max Dvořák

Marta Filipová (trans. & ed.), ‘Vincenc Kramář, “Obituary of Franz Wickhoff”’  8-VK/1

Abstract: Wickhoff, ‘a man of great refined artistic taste who refused to be bound by period theories and who was open to all truly artistic impressions’, is remembered in this obituary, written by his former student of Czech origin, Vincenc Kramář (1877-1960), an eminent art historian and art collector. Published in 1909, the text overviews the theoretical and methodological approaches that Wickhoff as well as Riegl used and thus outlines, for the first time, the main traits of the Vienna School of art history, such as genetic links and universal development of art and the objective study of the works of art, that have been associated with it until today.

Keywords: Franz Wickhoff; Vienna School of art history; Alois Riegl; universalism; objective method

Matthew Rampley (trans.) ‘Ernő Marosi, ‘’The origins of art history in Hungary’’’  8-EM/1

Abstract: This text examines the early development of art history in Hungary, from antiquarianism to the 1880s. As with other states in Europe, a key driver behind the establishment of ‘scientific’ art history was the rising concern for ancient monuments. In particular, they came to be seen as repositories of collective memory, which increasingly came to be equated with ‘national tradition’. In the early stages of this process, a prominent role was played by the Central Commission for the Investigation and Protection of Monuments in Vienna, but once Hungary gained almost complete autonomy in the Habsburg Monarchy after 1867, it was Hungarian art historians and the Hungarian Monuments Commission in Budapest that took over responsibility. The period thus saw the emergence of Hungarian art history from under Viennese tutelage, and with the emergence of a generation of art historians who established a Hungarian-language historiographic literature.

Keywords: Imre Henszlmann; Arnold Ipolyi; Flóris Rómer; Central Commission for the Investigation and Protection of Monuments

Reviews

Matthew Rampley, ‘Rethinking the geography of art history’, Jerzy Malinowski (ed.), History of Art History in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Toruń, Society of Modern Art and Tako Publishing, 2012. 2 vols. 299 + 285 pp.  8-MR/3

Abstract: This review discusses the conference proceedings History of Art History in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. It focuses on the importance of the publication, and the fact that it highlights the almost complete ignorance of the historiography of art of central and eastern Europe, and also identifies a recurrent methodological deficit in many of the contributions, namely, their tendency to rely on a positivistic documentation of writers and texts with little analysis of their conceptual, aesthetic and ideological implications. The conference is thus an invaluable platform for further study, and also makes clear the need for more sophisticated critical interpretations.

Keywords: Poland; Ukraine; Hungary; Romania; Russia; Soviet Union; Tatars; Jews; Cracow; Lviv;

Griselda Pollock, ‘Countering memory loss through misrepresentation: what does she think feminist art history is?’, Julie M. Johnson, The Memory Factory: The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900, West Lafayette, IN.: Purdue University Press, 2012, 438 pp., 136 b. & w. illus. £27.00 pbk, ISBN978-1-55753-613-3.  8-GP/1

Abstract: Johnson offers a detailed study of women in the Viennese avant-garde art movements between 1880 and 1940, detailing both the careers and the critical/public reception of their contributions to various Vienna art groups. Johnson aims to counter the myth that women were confined to the private sphere, suffered institiutional discrimination and were hence unrecognized by their contemporaries, arguments Johnson attributes misleadingly to ‘feminist’ art history.  Her book sets itself up in refutation to feminist straw women, thereby distorting feminist analysis of women and modernist art movements. The effect of this false battle with straw feminists is to miss out on the analysis of the specific significance of the politics of memory in the twentieth century’s selective representation of the artworlds of Vienna that serve precisely to confirm feminist analysis of the modernist phenomenon of new gender politics being erased by the distinctly unmodernist forms of androcentric art historical and museal representations of modernist art movements and their significantly egalitarian art worlds.

Keywords: Vienna 1900; Feminist Art History; Memory Studies; Austrian Women Artists; Anti-Semitism; Modernist Art History.