Art and Culture in Interwar Central Europe
In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Art and Culture in Interwar Central Europe
The First World War is often held to have brought about not merely political and social disruption, but also a profound caesura in artistic and cultural life. Nowhere was this more evident than in Austria-Hungary, where Vienna and Budapest lost their pre-eminent status as cultural capitals, and the creation of new states transformed the political and artistic status of cities such as Prague, Brno, Salzburg and Košice. The disruption to artistic life was dramatically symbolised in the deaths in 1918 of some of the leading figures of pre-war modernism: Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Bohumil Kubišta and Egon Schiele.
Post-war nostalgia for the Habsburg Empire amongst writers such as Joseph Roth, Stefan Zweig and Miklós Bánffy is well known and, as Marjorie Perloff has suggested, the collapse of Austria-Hungary left its imprint on what might be termed a specific ‘austro-modernism.’ But what was the impact of the events of 1918 on the visual arts? How did artists, designers and architects negotiate the changed terrain of the post-war social and political world? To what extent did the memory of the Habsburg Empire continue to shape artistic life? To what extent did artists and architects actively seek to consign it to oblivion?
As part of the ERC-funded project “Continuity / Rupture? Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918-1939” (https://craace.com) this conference examines the ways in which the visual arts shaped and were shaped by new aesthetic, political and ideological currents, with particular reference to Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Proposals (300 words) are invited for 30-minute papers that examine topics such as:
1. Cultural memory of the Habsburg Empire
2. Formation and reformation of the avant-gardes
3. Exile and migration
4. The destruction, creation and renewal of artistic networks
5. The art market, galleries, museums and other institutions of the art world
6. Artistic, architectural and broader cultural policies of the new states