Postwar Europe and the Power of Art in the late 1940s and the 1950s

Reproduction of Anni Albers’ and Gloria Finn Dale’s Untitled, 1959. 48 × 65 in. (122 × 165 cm). Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Cornell University (accession number 92.029). ©2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/VG Bildkunst, Bonn.
Reproduction of Anni Albers’ and Gloria Finn Dale’s Untitled, 1959. 48 × 65 in. (122 × 165 cm). Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Cornell University (accession number 92.029). ©2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/VG Bildkunst, Bonn.

Analysing the contribution of art to the reconfiguration of Europe after World War II, the study aims at a new perspective: Whereas a still effective art history of the Cold War established the dominance of the two political systems, the approach of this study is  completly different. Based on the idea that cultural spaces are formed by constant dynamics, of which art is one of them, the project conceives of art as an important factor in establishing culture and the cultural identity of postwar Europe. Exemplifications in the three fields "material", "form", and "medium"  want to show the intertwined complexity of the European art world in the late 1940s and the 1950s. The study is a contribution to a horizontal global art history which considers Europe as a heterogeneous and important region of our world, albeit not as its norm. Our cooperation with specialists on art history of Eastern and Southeastern Europe are an integral part of this project.


Project duration: 2017/04/01 – 2020/03/31

Funding: German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

Please find our publications on Reflex.