Accepted Paper:

Is there a Viennese school of Indian Art History? Early considerations on Indian and Oriental Art by Viennese scholars at the beginning of the 20th century  

Author:

Verena Widorn (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

The paper deals with the methodological approach to Indian and Oriental Art by students of Josef Strzygowski, such as Stella Kramrisch, Emmy Wellesz, or Ernst Diez, at the Viennese Institute of Art History in the first half of the 20th century.

Paper long abstract:

The paper deals with the methodological approach to Indian Art by Viennese students, such as Stella Kramrisch, Emmy Wellesz, Ernst Diez, or Heinrich Glück, in the first half of the 20th century. This circle of young art historians - all of them became well known and highly appreciated scholars in the field of Asian or Oriental art - were on the fence of the rivalry between the different representatives of the Viennese Art History Institute. Trained and highly influenced by the ideas and world view of their teacher Josef Strzygowski, they established a new notion of this hitherto rather unknown research area and put a special focus on the study of the "Nature" of Indian fine art and its artistic value - a method highly propagandised by Strzygowski. But they thoroughly and successfully also applied the new formalistic and comparative method emphasized by Alois Riegl or Max Dvořák. However, until recently there was a tendency (especially in Vienna) to exclude Strzygowski and his students from the long tradition of the so called Viennese School of Art History. But are the methods developed by the members of the Viennese School of Art History only applicable for European art? The focus of the paper lies on a careful analysis of the applied methodology of the earliest publications of Kramrisch and her colleagues on Indian art written mainly in German (and therefore hitherto hardly considered by the international community).

Panel P05
Imagining India in Central and Eastern Europe