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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Innovation & Acculturation: The Émigré Art Historians and Britain

5 November 2019 - 6 November 2019

Time: 2:00 - 5:00pm
Venue: Graduate Centre 601

The conference aims to reappraise and – where appropriate – to challenge the received narrative about the history of art history in Britain. It will seek to re-evaluate just how ‘German’ British art history became between 1920 and 1970, and to explore the interactions with neighboring disciplines, such as Medieval History and Classics. Our aim is to examine the interaction between the practices ‘exported’ by the German émigrés and the British traditions of art historiography. Revisiting the shaping of art-historical discourse goes hand in hand with a reconsideration of the way émigrés scholars in Britain reacted to their new surroundings.

The conference is free. All welcome! Please register here to assist administration.

Location: Graduate Centre GC 601



13.45 Welcome and Introduction

14.00 Art History in Britain

Sam Rose (St Andrews) – Roger Fry as Art Historian

Emilie Oléron Evans (QMUL, Modern Languages and Cultures) – Nikolaus Pevsner’s ‘Reflections on not teaching Art History’

15.20 Coffee Break

15.50 Competing Methodologies Beyond Academia

Anne Uhrlandt (Munich) – Selling German and Dutch art abroad: The émigré Art Historian and Art Dealer Max Stern in London

Morwenna Blewett (Oxford) – Reception, Recognition and Rancour: The Barbed Hand of Rescue and the Impact of Refugee Restorers 1933-1948

17.20 Break

17.30 Burcu Dogramaci (Munich) – Immortal Portraits – Émigrés in Britain and the Historiography of early Photography

18.00 Discussion and wine reception



10.00 Women’s Career Paths

Vivian Zech (Vienna) – The Viennese School of Art History as a Lifeline: Dr. Betty Kurth’s Impact on a Science in Migration

Yonna Yapou (Jerusalem) – Edith Hoffmann: Not quite Czech, German, or British – but anchored by Britain

11.20 Coffee Break

11.50 Exchanges in Writing and in Practice

Astrid Swenson (Bath) – To Relinquish, Rebuild or Ignore: Thinking about Breaks and Continuities in Anglo-German Art Historical Exchanges through Writings on Cologne Cathedral, 1914-1946

Johannes von Muller (Warburg Institute) – ‘Under the most difficult Circumstances’. The Warburg Institute’s Exhibition Practice, 1933-48

13.20 Lunch

15.00 Art Histories and Jewish Identity

Rachel Dickson (Ben Uri Gallery) – Helen Rosenau and J P Hodin: Addressing Jewish ‘Art’ and Artists 1934-1972

Adrian Rifkin – Hearing Voices, between Exile and the Desire to be without: Finding Place to practice Histories of Art

The event is co-organised by Hans C. Hoenes (Courtauld Institute) and Emilie Oléron Evans (Dept of Modern Languages and Cultures, Queen Mary University of London), and hosted by the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at QMUL, with generous funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. It is part of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival – a nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture.


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