06/24/2015, Lecture: Paul Michael Lützeler – The Emperor’s Matter of Priority? German Art at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis (Des Kaisers Chefsache? Deutsche Kunst bei der Weltausstellung von 1904 in St. Louis), Potsdam

Paul Michael Lützeler

Rosa May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities
at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Des Kaisers Chefsache? Deutsche Kunst bei der Weltausstellung von 1904 in St. Louis.

Wednesday 24 June 2015, 2:00 PM.

Location: Universität Potsdam, Campus am Neuen Palais, Haus 9, Raum 102.

The Lecture will be presented in German language.

Content of the paper:

The World Expo 1904 was organized to commemorate the purchase of the Louisiana territory by Jefferson in 1803. Kaiser Wilhelm was keen to maintain good relations with the US, and vice versa, the United States were interested in the presence of a Central European Great Power. The emperor perceived himself as a patron of the arts and wanted to make sure that German painting would be well represented. The artists wanted to be represented by a many-sided “Art Parliament”. When Kaiser Wilhelm, who despised newer styles like Impressionism and Art Nouveau, found out about it, he dictated the terms: only the academic art with their images of a glorified Prussian or German history, with its landscapes or religious motives, should be sent to St. Louis. These resctrictions provoked some uproar in Germany and led to new secessions. The Imperial Commissioner at the World Exhibition, Theodor Lewald, had to place some favored images at the Palace of Art  (today St. Louis Art Museum), which were officially selected by Anton von Werner (court painter to the Emperor). However, Lewald succeeded to accommodate examples of modern trends in architecture, decoration and plastic in the exhibition building “Varied Industries”. The paper will show many of the exhibited paintings and works of art in order to emphasize the importance of the relationship between politics and art.

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