Reassessing Nikolaus Pevsner
Nikolaus Pevsner was one of the most important and influential art historians of the twentieth century. He opened up new areas of enquiry in the history of art, revolutionising architectural studies in England and playing a key role in establishing the discipline of design history. Through his lectures and broadcasts, as well as the remarkable volumes in The Buildings of England series which made him a household name, he did much to encourage greater interest in, and understanding of, art and architecture among a wide public. This wide-ranging collection of essays, based on papers delivered at the conference held at Birkbeck in celebration of the centenary of Pevsner's birth, offers the first sustained critical assessment of Pevsner's achievements. With contributions by leading international scholars, the volume brings together a wealth of new material on Pevsner and his intellectual background, both in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s and in England, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Paul Crossley; The intellectual background: The formation of Pevsner's art history: Nikolaus Pevsner in Germany 1902-35, Ute Engel; Germanness, Englishness; Jewishness, scientificness, popularisation?, Stefan Muthesius; Writer and editor: Nikolaus Pevsner's contributions as editor of The Pelican History of Art series, Seymour Slive; Pevsner the writer, Adrian Forty; Nikolaus Pevsner and the architectural writers of the nineteenth century, Alexandrina Buchanan; Englishness and English tradition: Nikolaus Pevsner and medieval studies in Britain, Nicola Coldstream; 'The Greatest Century': Pevsner, Victorian architecture and the lay public, Lynne Walker; What counts as art in England: how Pevsner's minor canons became major, Ian Christie; Pevsner and Englishness, Andrew Causey; Pevsner and the Modern: Good design in British industry, 1950-56, Gillian Naylor; 'The Rediscovery of the Picturesque': Nikolaus Pevsner and the work of architects and planners after the Second World War, Michela Rosso; The puzzled lieber Meister: Pevsner and Reyner Banham, Nigel Whiteley; Bibliography; Index.
'Skilfully edited and refreshingly free from anecdotal trivia...' Bridget Cherry, Building Design
'...this book genuinely does what it claims; it reassesses his legacy, and it does so fairly, sensibly, and with a good sense of its subject's limitations... What is so striking - and admirable - about this collection is the extent to which Pevsner's defenders have acknowledged and engaged with the arguments of his critics.' The British Art Journal
'This satisfying volume weaves together many strands, offering its fair share of paradox, and yet convincingly celebrates Pevsner's stated belief in 'the blessings of modesty, faith in service, and a certain neutrality'.' Gillian Darley, The Architectural Review
'... a fascinating and detailed exploration of both the man and his work... a fitting academic tribute to the achievements of a man who has had a lasting impact on the way that we appreciate our architectural legacy.' Malcolm Airs, Journal of Architectural Conservation