A comparative study of state art policies : institutional practices and exhibition organisation in Britain and Germany c.1945-51 with particular attention to the cultural policies of the British-occupied zone of North West Germany during these years

Thesis


Davies, Veronica 2005. A comparative study of state art policies : institutional practices and exhibition organisation in Britain and Germany c.1945-51 with particular attention to the cultural policies of the British-occupied zone of North West Germany during these years. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsDavies, Veronica
Abstract

This thesis is a comparative study of state policies and institutional practices relating to art in
Britain and Germany in the period from 1945-5 1. This study examines the context for the
production of visual art and considers its dissemination through art exhibitions and criticism
in this important transitional period. It also assesses the contribution of the visual arts towards
the process of cultural reconstruction and to the re-negotiation of national identities in both
countries. Significantly, the cultural history of this period has been relatively under-examined
and has not been the subject of extensive nor detailed research. Until now, mainstream art-historical
accounts have tended to focus on the Paris-New York axis during these years,
rendering Anglo-German art developments relatively peripheral. It is this marginalisation that
this thesis seeks to counter.
This study is divided into two main sections. The first focuses on the British Zone of
occupation in postwar Germany. My research draws on a wide range of British and German
archival and other sources to compare the experiences and perceptions of the British
occupying forces with the different approaches adopted by German artists and arts
administrators involved in reconstruction. The second section offers a detailed comparative
case study of two regional art museums, Leeds City Art Gallery and the Kaiser Wilhelm
Museum in Krefeld. A particular feature of this comparison is the detailed investigation of
these museums' exhibition and acquisition policies, and how these relate to the wider political
issues and cultural imperatives identified in the first section.
My conclusion reinforces the broader view that the years 1945-51 form a turbulent
transitional period in the cultural histories of both Germany and Britain. What is underlined
is the often provisional and contingent nature of arts policies as they were aligned with and
incorporated into wider aims of cultural reconstruction. What also emerges are the complex
ways in which the visual arts contributed towards, and were subject to, the fluctuating and
evolving political and cultural circumstances of both countries in the years leading up to the
Cold War.

KeywordsCold War; visual art; national identity
Year2005
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1300
File
File Access Level
Registered users only
Publication dates
Print2005
Publication process dates
Deposited11 May 2011
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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