Colloque: Art History for Artists: Interactions Between Scholarly Discourse and Artistic Practice in the 19th Century – Technische Universität Berlin – 7-9 juillet 2016

France Nerlich intervient dans le colloque international Art History for Artists: Interactions Between Scholarly Discourse and Artistic Practice in the 19th Century organisé à la Technische Universität Berlin, 7-9 juillet 2016. Pour plus d’informations, vous pouvez consulter la page suivante: https://arthistoryforartists.com/

The conference aims to examine the shaping of art history as a discipline during the 19th century in relation to artistic training and exchanges between artists and scholars. The development of art history has been associated with an array of socio-political and economic factors such as the formation of a bourgeois public, the politics of national identity and state legitimacy or the needs of an expanding art market. This conference aspires to explore yet another, less studied dimension: the extent to which the historical study of art was also rooted in an intention to inform contemporary artistic production.

The scholarship produced by the first generations of art historians in this period was intertwined with their interest in the art of their time, its quality and future development. Throughout the century many art historians made studies entirely dedicated to contemporary art and sought to provide artists with new ideals. The connection between scholarly discourse and artistic practice was also validated at an institutional level. Since the late 18th century courses in art history, along with courses in history, archaeology, art theory and aesthetics, had been systematically incorporated into the curricula of art academies, schools of design, academies of architecture and polytechnics. These spaces of art education were among the first institutional homes of art history, and played an important role in the shaping of the discipline well before the establishment of autonomous university chairs – a development largely overlooked in the history of art history, but also in the history of art education.

The historical study of art questioned academic normativity and multiplied the aesthetic models available for artists. Reacting against the growing commodification of art, many artists claimed a new role as creators for art history and for the museum, as an alternative to the market. At the same time, the influx of empirical knowledge on past art was often seen as a burden for artistic creativity. The overall reflective turn upon art and its past, tainted by the Hegelian announcement of the end of art, influenced the work of artists in multifarious ways that remain to be explored.

 


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