By Carolyn Kay
In this new research of artwork in fin-de-siècle Hamburg, Carolyn Kay examines the occupation of the city's paintings gallery director, Alfred Lichtwark, one in every of 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 via commissioning modern German work for the Kunsthalle by means of secession artists and helping the formation of an self sufficient artwork circulate in Hamburg inspired through French impressionism. Drawing on an in depth volume of archival learn, and mixing either ancient and paintings historic ways, Kay examines Lichtwark's cultural politics, their impression at the Hamburg bourgeoisie, and the next adjustments to the cultural scene in Hamburg.
Kay focuses her learn on glossy paintings scandals in Hamburg and indicates that Lichtwark confronted powerful public resistance within the Eighteen Nineties, profitable major help from the city's bourgeoisie in simple terms after 1900. Lichtwark's fight to achieve popularity for impressionism highlights conflicts in the city's center category as to what constituted applicable kinds and topics of German paintings, with competition teams challenging a standard and 'pure' German tradition. the writer additionally considers who in the Hamburg bourgeoisie supported Lichtwark, and why. Kay's neighborhood examine 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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Additional resources for Art and the German Bourgeoisie: Alfred Lichtwark and Modern Painting in Hamburg, 1886-1914
Lichtwark devoted himself to the Kunsthalle, taking very little time for personal matters outside of family illness. Undoubtedly he loved his duties, and connected the future of the Kunsthalle with his life's purpose, but he also believed in the benefits of hard work, and the duties of any public servant to his position. He did not admire Bureaukratismus (bureaucratism) if this meant a loss of individuality or demanded a servile type of intelligence, but in one of his most famous essays, The German of the Future,41 he did single out the best examples of professors, teachers, and officers as positive models for the rest of the nation.
4 Lichtwark completed this study in 1898 - six years after the fiasco of the Petersen portrait. 5 For example, he noted that portraits can leave a rich legacy for future generations, offering clues to the characteristics of an era. The artist's choice of colour and composition, and the manner in which he recreates the appearance of the subject - show- The Petersen Portrait 43 ing us the physical qualities of men and women of his time, and what sort of clothing they wore - all combine to give a distinct impression of a society and its people.
According to Lichtwark, the officer achieved this independence after years of training his body, disciplining his will, and refining his intelect. '108 Lichtwark wanted the Burgertum to adopt the officer's qualities, and so he took an aristocratic ideal - much like his eighteenth-century example - and urged the middle classes to aspire to it. He advocated an aristocracy of the Burgertum: an elite class of gentlemen who could direct, influence, and educate the rest of the nation. When Lichtwark met industrialist Walther Rathenau, he recognized the type of middle-class leader he hoped for: 'A man of business, who is superior to all in spirit, understanding, culture, and in the ability to express not only his ideas, but also his feelings.