Landscape Imagery, Politics and Identity in a Divided Germany, 1968-1989 explores the communicative relationship between German landscape painting and the viewing public that developed in the wake of the student revolutions of the late 1960s. The book demonstrates that, contrary to some historical thinking, more similarities than differences characterized the sociopolitical concerns of East and West Germans during the late Cold War Era, and that it was these shared issues that were reflected in the revival of the Romantic painting genre. Catherine Wilkins focuses on recovering the agency of the individual artist and in revising historiography with sensitivity to narration 'from below.' Interdisciplinary in nature, art historians can benefit from the study's analysis of images and artists not widely known outside of Germany. Additionally, the consolidation of statistics and data regarding German postwar cultural policy are relevant for political and cultural historians. The author contributes to the ongoing multidisciplinary debates regarding Histoire Croisée (in arguing that a clear dichotomy between East Germany and West Germany did not exist but rather that the residents of both nations shared a concern over some of the same issues of the period) and memory studies (by using images as primary historical sources, able to be employed in the recovery of potentially 'subversive' memory and identity). Issues related to gender relations, environmentalism, and spiritual belief are addressed by Wilkins, with appeal for scholars working with those particular themes. Poststructuralist and literary theorists as well can find arguments supporting an alternative means of writing history through artworks and private memories.
'… well-written and beautifully produced. It has a generous set of colour illustrations of the artists under discussion.' Journal of Contemporary European Studies
'… [an] imaginative and engaging work - a book that will be valuable to a wide audience including art historians and historians, other German studies scholars, and anyone with an interest in postwar German art - the reader is provided with more than twenty of the key images created by the six Cold War artists and their post-Wende students.' German History
Contents: Introduction; Defining the culture and politics of a new generation; Revolutionary romantic landscapes; War memory and division; Gendering Germany in the 1970s and 1980s; Reconsidering religiosity in divided Germany; Conclusion; Post-script, post-wende; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.