1st Edition

State Construction and Art in East Central Europe, 1918-2018

    316 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume offers a comprehensive perspective on the relationship between the art scene and agencies of the state in countries of the region, throughout four consecutive yet highly diverse historical periods: from the period of state integration after World War I, through the communist era post 1945 and the time of political transformation after 1989, to the present-day globalisation (including counter-reactions to westernisation and cultural homogenisation).

    With twenty-three theoretically and/or empirically oriented articles by authors from sixteen countries (East Central Europe and beyond, including the United States and Australia), the book discusses interconnections between state policies and artistic institutions, trends and the art market from diverse research perspectives. The contributors explore subjects such as the impact of war on the formation of national identities, the role of artists in image-building for the new national states emerging after 1918, the impact of political systems on artists’ attitudes, the discourses of art history, museum studies, monument conservation and exhibition practices.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, cultural politics, cultural history, and East Central European studies and history.


    Agnieszka Chmielewska, Irena Kossowska, and Marcin Lachowski

    PART I: Cultural Specificity of East Central Europe

    1. History Too Fast

    Éva Forgács

    2. Universal or National? Making Art on the European Periphery

    Agnieszka Chmielewska

    3. The Concept of Eastern Art and Self-Historicisation: The Slovenian Case

    Nadja Gnamuš

    PART II: Nation- and State-Building Processes

    4. Performing Everyday Activity, Creating Eternal: Ukrainian Art on the Fronts of the First World War

    Sofia Korol

    5. Civil War – Communist Upheaval – Attack of the White Slaughterers? The Civil Wars of 1917-1922 in Finnish and Soviet Karelian Literature

    Thekla Musäus

    6. The Archipenko Brothers: Discussion about National Art

    Vita Susak

    PART III: Aestheticization of Politics – Ideologization of Aesthetics

    7. In/Tolerance to Visual Anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia 1918–1948

    Milan Pech

    8. Art History and State Reconstruction in Greece in the 1950s and Early 1960s

    Lefteris Spyrou

    9. Contesting Legitimacy: From the Photo Club to Fine Art Subjective Documentary―Andrejs Grants. Latvia: Changing and Unchanging Reality

    Pamela M. Browne

    10. "Poles Forming Their National Flag": Artistic Reflection on the Transformation of the Political System in Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe

    Piotr Majewski

    PART IV: Art Exhibitions as Political Instrument

    11. Western Modern Art Exhibitions in the USSR in 1930s–1950s

    Katarina Lopatkina

    12. "The Lenin of Soviet Art Has Not Yet Been Born": Nascent Socialist Realism in Warsaw of 1933

    Irena Kossowska

    13. From Hanoi and Havana to Paris and New York: Czecho-Slovak Cultural-Diplomatic Exhibitions during the Cold War

    Mária Orišková

    14. 1956. Old Masters and the Ephemeral Borders

    Patricia García-Montón González

    15. Somewhere Something

    Pavlína Morganová

    16.  Dreams and Nightmares: Nationalism in Art Exhibitions from Socialist Romania 1974-1989

    Cristian Nae

    17. Local/Global Latvian Art at the Venice Biennale

    Stella Pelše

    18. "Grey in Colour" - Observations on the Reconstruction of Modernity

    Marcin Lachowski

    PART V: Architecture as Vehicle for State Cultural Policy

    19. Cities in Interbellum Lithuanian Republic (1918-1940)

    Paulius Tautvydas Laurinaitis

    20. About Two Gems in the Stadtkrone of Kaunas, the Provisional Capital of Interwar Lithuania

    Giedrė Jankevičiūtė

    21. An Elite Place for the Masses: Prague Castle and its Role in the Legitimisation of Socialist Rule in Czechoslovakia (1948–1968)

    Veronika Rollová

    22. One Ideology, Two Visions: Ecclesiastical Buildings and State Identity in the Socialist Capital During the Post-War Rebuilding Decades 1945-1975, East Berlin and Warsaw

    Marcus van der Meulen

    23. Monument Preservation during Socialism: Restorations and Reconstructions of Hungarian Roman Catholic Churches in the 1960–70s

    Erzsébet Urbán


    Agnieszka Chmielewska is Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Europe at the University of Warsaw.

    Irena Kossowska is Full Professor of Art History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and the Polish Institute of World Art Studies in Warsaw.

    Marcin Lachowski is Associate Professor at the Institute of Art History at the University of Warsaw.