Conference report: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire?

The first CRAACE conference, ‘In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Art and Architecture in Central Europe’, took place in the Moravian Gallery, Brno, from 12 to 14 September 2019. With three keynote speakers, five sessions and fifteen papers, the event explored the topic of continuities and ruptures in post-Habsburg Central European art history from several angles, sparking many engaging discussions. This brief report below can only highlight a few of the wider topics that emerged in the course of the three days. (The conference programme can be accessed here.)

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CFP: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Art and Culture in Interwar Central Europe

Proposals are invited for papers at the conference

In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Art and Culture in Interwar Central Europe

Moravian Gallery, Brno

12 – 14 September 2019

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 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:

  • Cultural memory of the Habsburg Empire
  • Formation and reformation of the avant-gardes
  • Exile and migration
  • The destruction, creation and renewal of artistic networks
  • The art market, galleries, museums and other institutions of the art world
  • Artistic, architectural and broader cultural policies of the new states

Confirmed keynote speakers are: Pieter Judson (EUI, Florence); Eve Blau (Harvard University); Milena Bartlová (Academy of Art and Design, Prague) and Enikő Róka (Kiscelli Museum, Budapest).

The deadline for submission of proposals is Wednesday 1 May 2019. Submissions should be sent to: craace1918@outlook.com