The Expressionist Turn in Art History: A Critical Anthology, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Expressionist Turn in Art History

A Critical Anthology, 1st Edition

Edited by Kimberly A. Smith


374 pages

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During the period in which Expressionist artists were active in central Europe, art historians were producing texts which also began to be characterized evocatively as ’expressionist’, yet the notion of an expressionist art history has yet to be fully explored in historiographic studies of the discipline. This anthology offers a cross-section of noteworthy art history texts that have been described as expressionist, along with critical commentaries by an international group of scholars. Written between 1912 and 1933, the primary sources have been selected from the published scholarship of both recognized and less-familiar figures in the field's Germanic tradition: Wilhelm Worringer, Fritz Burger, Ernst Heidrich, Max Dvořák, Heinrich Wölfflin, and Carl Einstein. Translated here for the first time, these examples of an expressionist turn in art history, along with their secondary analyses and the book's introduction, offer a productive lens through which to re-examine the practice and theory of art history in the early twentieth century.


'The Expressionist Turn is a ground-breaking anthology and the first of its kind to consider the concept of an "expressionist" art history. Providing both new, primary translations and trenchant, secondary interpretive texts, this book will change the way we approach the elusive term "Expressionism" as a stylistic designation and a historiographic category.' Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, The Clark

'… provoking argument about the relation of art to history is a worthy endeavour, so the editors and authors of The Expressionist Turn have already put us in their debt.' Journal of Art Historiography

'This book is a treasure for all who are interested in the complexities and contradictions of the emergence of German Modernism's interpretive mode. Given the contemporary relevance of the need for a drastic change in art historical perception and practice, it is high time for an Expressionist revival, or at least arrival, in the Anglophone world. The Expressionist Turn in Art History does much to pave the way.' Sehepunkte

'The introduction by Kimberly Smith is both erudite and comprehensive. In addition to outlining the tricky nomenclature of an "expressionist" art history and the goals of the project, she provides succinct summaries of the essays and translations, as well as a lucid discussion of the relationship between "Expressionist art and art history".' Art History

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Kimberly A. Smith. Part I Wilhelm Worringer: Illustration and advertising: Wilhelm Worringer’s Die altdeutsche Buchillustration, Kathleen Chapman; Introduction to Old German Book Illustration (1912), Wilhelm Worringer. Part II Fritz Burger: Expressionism and empathy: Fritz Burger’s theory of art, Elena Filippi; From Cézanne and Hodler: Introduction to the Problems of Contemporary Painting (1913), Fritz Burger. Part III Ernst Heidrich: Ernst Heidrich as an ’expressionist’ art historian? A look at Vlaemische Malerei and other volumes written for the Jena arts publisher Eugen Diederichs, Eveliina Juntunen; From Flemish Painting (1913), Ernst Heidrich. Part IV Max Dvořák: Inventing ’mannerist expressionism’: Max Dvořák and the history of art as history of the spirit, Hans Aurenhammer; ’Tintoretto’ (1920), Max Dvořák; Foreword to Oskar Kokoschka: Variations on a Theme (1921), Max Dvořák. Part V Heinrich Wölfflin: Heinrich Wölfflin and the German sense of form, Michela Passini and Francesco Peri; Italy and the German sense of form (1921-22), Heinrich Wölfflin; Principles of Art History: a revision (1933), Heinrich Wölfflin. Part VI Carl Einstein: Carl Einstein and Expressionism: the case of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Charles W. Haxthausen; Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, from Art of the Twentieth Century (1926), Carl Einstein; Wassily Kandinsky (1926), Carl Einstein; George Grosz (1926), Carl Einstein. Bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Kimberly A. Smith is Professor of Art History at Southwestern University, where she teaches the history of modern art.

About the Series

Studies in Art Historiography

Studies in Art Historiography
The aim of this series is to support and promote the study of the history and practice of art historical writing focussing on its institutional and conceptual foundations, from the past to the present day in all areas and all periods. Besides addressing the major innovators of the past it also encourages re-thinking ways in which the subject may be written in the future. It ignores the disciplinary boundaries imposed by the Anglophone expression 'art history' and allows and encourages the full range of enquiry that encompasses the visual arts in its broadest sense as well as topics falling within archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and other specialist disciplines and approaches. It welcomes contributions from young and established scholars and is aimed at building an expanded audience for what has hitherto been a much specialised topic of investigation. It complements the work of the Journal of Art Historiography.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)