American Artists in Munich Artistic Migration and Cultural Exchange Processes
Der Tagungsband ist im Oktober 2009 erschienen als Band XXI der Veröffentlichungen des Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte in München
The conference proceedings were published in October 2009 (Veröffentlichungen des Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte in München, Vol. XXI)
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In 2003, a number of institutions in Munich decided to found an informal research group on the history of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Current members of the research group are: Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Prof. Dr. Walter Grasskamp, Dr. Birgit Jooss); Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Prof. Dr. Frank Büttner, Prof. Dr. Hubertus Kohle), Institut für Kunstpädagogik (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kehr); Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Dr. Christian Fuhrmeister, Prof. Dr. Wolf Tegethoff); Universität der Künste Berlin (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ruppert). For the upcoming event, Susanne Böller M.A. (Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus) has been co-opted.
Following the three conferences held since 2005, the research group now looks forward to hosting American Artists in Munich. Artistic Migration and Cultural Exchange Processes in cooperation with the Terra Foundation for American Art and with support of the Amerika Haus München e.V. This symposium again aims at exploring the phenomenon of artistic migration and transfer in a case study. In particular, we wish to investigate the attraction of the self-proclaimed "Kunststadt"/"City of the Art(s)" for American Artists from the mid-19th century to World War I and beyond: Who came, when, and why?
Speakers will look at the general influences on the decision of a place of study, which depended not just on the attractiveness of a city and its art institutions, but also on the students’ own cultural background. What was the significance of the American artistic community in Munich? How did leading compatriots shape the growing artists’ colonies in Bavaria? What, in particular, prompted the Americans to come to Munich: The academy’s renown in teaching technical skills, or rather the city’s bustling art scene? To what extent did the change in genre (from history to landscape painting) contribute to Munich’s attractiveness, as opposed to Düsseldorf, which had basically been the Americans’ first choice until the mid-19th century? How influential was, finally, the appeal of Paris as an avant-garde center in debasing the training in Munich as old-fashioned and traditional?
We also hope to learn more about how the Munich school and its protagonists became known in the United States. Existing studies of American painters in Munich focus on leading representatives from the peak of the movement in the early 1870s and 1880s, when the realism of the returning artists’ paintings caused something of a sensation in the American “art world”. However, to do justice to this complex phenomenon, it must be investigated in its multi-faceted entirety, taking into account the development of styles and genres over more than half a century, experienced by approx. 420 American students – who formed indeed one of the largest groups of non-German-speaking students enrolled at the Academy –, and also by the unknown number of American artists who studied elsewhere in town, since numerous private schools and studios offered valuable alternatives. Consequently, the conference will not be limited to students of the academy.
Following the holistic approach adopted for the previous conferences, the papers will not only indicate what the artists received in Munich, but also how they in turn fuelled the city's artistic life. Another interesting topic is the way in which American artists transformed the results of their stay in Munich upon return to their native country; it is precisely this dual or bifocal perspective which seems best suited for an analysis of this give-and-take of cultural exchange.
We are grateful to the following institutions for their kind support: