The Wilhelmine Empire's opening decades (1870s - 1880s) were crucial transitional years in the development of German modernism, both politically and culturally. Here Marsha Morton argues that no artist represented the shift from tradition to unsettling innovation more compellingly than Max Klinger. The author examines Klinger's early prints and drawings within the context of intellectual and material transformations in Wilhelmine society through an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses Darwinism, ethnography, dreams and hypnosis, the literary Romantic grotesque, criminology, and the urban experience. His work, in advance of Expressionism, revealed the psychological and biological underpinnings of modern rational man whose drives and passions undermined bourgeois constructions of material progress, social stability, and class status at a time when Germans were engaged in defining themselves following unification. This book is the first full-length study of Klinger in English and the first to consistently address his art using methodologies adopted from cultural history. With an emphasis on the popular illustrated media, Morton draws upon information from reviews and early books on the artist, writings by Klinger and his colleagues, and unpublished archival sources. The book is intended for an academic readership interested in European art history, social science, literature, and cultural studies.
Marsha Morton, Professor of Art History at Pratt Institute in New York, has published and lectured frequently on topics in nineteenth-century German art and culture.
Contents: Introduction: Klinger: defining a modern spirit; An anxious art: foundations in German romantic irony and the grotesque; Structuring an anxious art: arabesque `methods of composition'; Darwinian tales: men and women in nature; The global network and the human condition: German anthropology and Klinger; Archetypes and symbols: Klinger's mythological representations in an age of ethnography and psychology; Dreams and hypnosis: senses, symbols and the corporeal unconscious; In the papers and on the stage: crime, passion, and punishment in Wilhelmine Berlin; Epilogue; Biographical highlights; Select bibliography of writings on Max Klinger (graphic arts); Index.