Approaching Africa: The Reception of African Visual Culture in Germany 1894-1915

Husemann, Manuela (2015) Approaching Africa: The Reception of African Visual Culture in Germany 1894-1915. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the approaches to African visual culture in German publications between 1894 and 1915. Considering the development from a purely ethnographic analysis towards an art historical and art scientific discourse, it brings together formerly unconnected fields of research. By introducing theories from translation studies this thesis will identify how scholars from different disciplines
analysed and interpreted African art in order to mediate their function, meaning and formal aspects to a German audience.
The main focus is on the changing convention from approaching African art with a developmental attitude towards discussing its stylistic peculiarities. By looking at ethnographic publications, art and popular culture this thesis investigates the role of art historical writing on African art in the wider academic and popular discourse. In particular four publications - Ernst Grosse Die Anfänge der Kunst (1894), Karl
Woermann Die Geschichte der Kunst aller Zeiten und Völker (1900), Wilhelm Worringer Abstraktion und Einfühlung (1908) and Carl Eintein Negerplastik (1915) – are considered to give a historiographical insight into the development of intellectual thought of non-European art as well as art itself.
Bringing together the theoretical framework of translation studies with published sources and archival material, this thesis considers the diverse descriptions of African art by a variety of different scholars. By presenting analyses of these publications this thesis
aims to give a fuller picture of contemporary ideas that had a direct or indirect impact on the reception of African art. It comes to the conclusion that although each of the scholars approached African art in unique ways, their publications were an important step towards the integration of non-European art in general, and African art in particular, into a canon of art that is not solely defined and confined by the classical ideal of beauty.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Brian Watkins
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2016 12:09
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 12:09
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59211
DOI:

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