Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern by Carolyn Kay

By Carolyn Kay

In this new examine of artwork in fin-de-siècle Hamburg, Carolyn Kay examines the profession of the city's paintings gallery director, Alfred Lichtwark, one among Imperial Germany's such a lot influential museum administrators and a popular cultural critic. A champion of recent artwork, Lichtwark stirred controversy one of the city's bourgeoisie by way of commissioning modern German work for the Kunsthalle by way of secession artists and aiding the formation of an self sufficient paintings stream in Hamburg encouraged by way of French impressionism. Drawing on an in depth quantity of archival study, and mixing either old and paintings ancient ways, Kay examines Lichtwark's cultural politics, their influence at the Hamburg bourgeoisie, and the next adjustments to the cultural scene in Hamburg.

Kay focuses her research on glossy artwork scandals in Hamburg and exhibits that Lichtwark confronted powerful public resistance within the Eighteen Nineties, profitable major aid from the city's bourgeoisie in simple terms after 1900. Lichtwark's fight to achieve reputation for impressionism highlights conflicts in the city's center type as to what constituted applicable types 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 learn of the controversy over cultural modernism in Imperial Germany makes an important contribution either to the examine of modernism and to the historical past of German culture.

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German artists would find patrons, who in turn would make a good investment. The advantages would extend beyond the production of fine art; Lichtwark thought that German fashion, furniture, and architectural design could utilize the finest native talents. For instance, he defended the idea of employing local craftsmen and artists to decorate German public buildings. In this comprehensive scheme Germans bought German art, German artists prospered, German crafts and designs defeated foreign competition, the economy improved, culture flourished, Bildung spread - and the net result was German national pride.

He attempted to carry on his work as usual, but within a year he was unable to ignore the illness. A physician performed a difficult operation, and a few hours later returned to see if the patient had any complications. 57 In this small incident we see Lichtwark's powerful will and vitality (even in the face of terminal disease), charac- Alfred Lichtwark and Modern German Art 23 teristics that propelled his work as director of the Kunsthalle and found expression in his wide-ranging interests. In the past he had written on such diverse subjects as painting, architecture, amateur arts and crafts, flower arranging, public memorials, city parks, the need for a university in Hamburg, home decorating, photography, and graphics.

50 The two became even closer when Kalckreuth moved to Hittfeld, where Lichtwark spent his summers. Lichtwark allowed this artist to paint a portrait of his mother, Helena Lichtwark, and was exceedingly pleased with the results. Kalckreuth also did a portrait of Lichtwark in 1911, for the official celebration honouring the twentyfive years of Lichtwark's service to the Kunsthalle. This portrait, Alfred Lichtwark, Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle (plate 1), is one of the very few likenesses we have of Lichtwark; he usually resisted having his portrait done, but allowed Kalckreuth to paint him because of their close friendship.

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Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern by Carolyn Kay
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