1st Edition

Rethinking Modern Austrian Art Beyond the Metropolis

By Julia Secklehner Copyright 2025
    218 Pages 10 Color & 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This study examines the role played by regional cultures in modern art and visual culture in Central Europe between 1918 and 1938.

    Analysing paintings, photographs, prints, and illustrated magazines in relation to topics such as tourism, social activism, rural exoticism, gender, and ethnic diversity, the book offers a fresh perspective on Central European art and visual culture. It pays particular attention to Austria, a country often ignored in histories of modernism in Central Europe, yet one where the countryside gained high visibility as a part of modern culture between the wars. Examples from Czechoslovakia and Hungary also play an important role in comparison and challenge the nationally fragmented histories of modernism in the region. The book’s approach overall is also relevant beyond Central Europe: it corrects assumptions that modern art and visual culture were at home in the urban space and emphasises the role of the countryside as an agent of renewal and emancipation in order to construct a more nuanced history of modernism.

    The book will be of interest to scholars studying art history, European studies, modernism, and cultural history.

    Introduction: Central European modernism and the countryside  1. Dreams of Autonomy: Regionalism as post-war regeneration  2. Constructing the Countryside: Regionalism’s rise to soft diplomacy  3. Paradise of Leisure: The modern countryside in tourism, fashion and popular culture  4. Rural Utopia. Heimat photography between popular nationalism and modernist experimentation 5. Socialist dystopia? Leftist visual culture and rural margins as a political battleground  4. Rural Exotic: The Countryside as a Place of Difference  Conclusion: The interwar years as an age of provincial rule?


    Julia Secklehner is Research Fellow at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.