Grewe, Cordula Chercheuse invitée dans le domaine "Arts décoratifs, design et culture materielle" (mai - juin 2014)


Cordula Grewe, senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in German art of the long nineteenth century. She is particularly interested in visual piety, Romanticism and its Sacred Imaginary, and aesthetics. She has published widely on Romantic art and art theory, contributing to numerous exhibition catalogues, essay collections and journals such as Pantheon, Word & Image, Modern Intellectual History, New German Critique, and the Art Bulletin, which in March 2007 published her article “Historicism and the Symbolic Imagination in Nazarene Art.” In October 2009, her book Painting the Sacred in the Age of Romanticism appeared with Ashgate, and she is currently preparing a second book, The Nazarenes : Romantic Avant-Garde and the Art of the Concept, to be published with Penn State University Press in 2015. She has held numerous grants, among them the 2006-2007 Hans Kohn fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, an Alexander-von-Humboldt fellowship (in 2009 and 2013), and a fellowship at the Kolleg BildEvidenz : Geschichte und Ästhetik, Freie Universität Berlin. She is serving in the boards of Intellectual History Review and Modern Intellectual History. Cordula Grewe's new research topic is a monographic study of the “tableau vivant,” which will take her from the period around 1800 to the present.


Monographs :

  • Painting the Sacred in the Age of Romanticism. Burlington : Ashgate, 2009

Essay Collections :

  • Intellectual History Review 17, no. 2 (July 2007) : Special issue An Empire of Vision : German Art and Visual Culture, 1848-1919
  • Die Schau des Fremden : Ausstellungskonzepte zwischen Kunst, Kommerz und Wissenschaft. Stuttgart : Franz Steiner Verlag, 2006
  • “Religion, romantisme et le politique de l'image,” in : Exhibition catalogue De l'Allemagne de Friedrich à Beckmann. Paris : Réunion des musées nationaux, 2013, 168-193

Articles :

  • “Biblische Antike und bildliche Vergegenwärtigung : Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Gustave Doré und William Holman Hunt,” in : Ernst Osterkamp und Torsten Valk (eds.). Imagination und Evidenz : Transformationen der Antike im ästhetischen Historismus. Berlin / New York : Walter de Gruyter, 2011, 259-289
  • “Epigonalität als Erfindung,” in : Sabine Fastert, Alexis Joachimides, and Verena Krieger (eds.).Die Wiederkehr des Künstlers : Themen und Positionen der aktuellen Künstler/innenforschung. Köln/Weimar/Wien : Böhlau 2011, 227-250
  • “Christliche Allegorie und jüdische Identität in Eduard Bendemanns ‘Gefangene Juden in Babylon',” in : Alexander Bastek and Michael Thimann (eds.). “An den Wassern Babylons saßen wir ...” Figurationen der Sehnsucht in der Malerei der Romantik. Ferdinand Olivier und Eduard Bendemann. Petersberg / Fulda : Michael Imhof Verlag, 2009, 41-56
  • “Repenser l'émulation : Entre réenchantement et modernité, le projet nazaréen,” Histoire de l'art 64 (2009) : 27-36
  • “Portrait of the Artist as an Arabesque : Romantic Form and Social Practice in Wilhelm von Schadow's The Modern Vasari,” Intellectual History Review 17, no. 2 (July 2007) : 99-134
  • “Historicism and the Symbolic Imagination in Nazarene Art.” Art Bulletin 89, no. 1 (March 2007) : 82-107

Projet de recherche

In 1854, Wilhelm Schadow, the director of the influential Düsseldorf Academy, published an autobiographical novel, The Modern Vasari. The tableau vivant occupies a paradoxical position in his account. Critically dismissed as a low form of entertainment with no artistic merit, it nevertheless plays a central role both as structural element and dramatic subject. This tension indicates a conflict in Schadow's perception between a conscious, narrow insistence on genre hierarchy and an unconscious, practical embrace of the poetic potential of the artist festival as a means to realize Novalis' dream of romanticizing the world. Focusing on nineteenth-century Düsseldorf, this project explores the significance and aesthetic influence of the tableau vivant for art making and art criticism between the 1830s and the 1890s. It examines in particular two aspects : first, the question of intermediality and Gesamtkunstwerk, especially because musical accompaniment was crucial to the Düsseldorf performances and often provided by master composers such as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy or Robert Schumann ; second, the close relationship between the tableau vivant and the popular genre historique represented famously by painters such as Carl Friedrich Lessing and Eduard Bendemann. Like the tableau vivant, this new category in painting challenged protocols of representation, while, in turn, providing sought-after models for staged performances. As a commentary on the nature of representation, the tableau vivant proves to be doubly self-reflective, addressing not only the nature of the imitated picture as re-representation but also doubling that re-presentation in the moment of enactment on a meta-level. The need of theorizing the implications of the new genre for aesthetics and art criticism was widely felt in the period, and my research aims to make the specific vocabulary that arose in response available for contemporary art history. A key problem was the effect of reality, and thus the comparisons between painting and living picture intersected with the vivid debates about realism and naturalism that shaped the art scene of mid-nineteenth century Europe. My project thus approaches the tableau vivant as a unique opportunity to re-examine such key concepts as liveliness (Lebendigkeit), copy or effigy (Abbild), and emulation (Nachahmung), contributing a new perspective to a set of questions that for centuries have shaped Western theories of the image. The goal is thus the articulation of a new theoretical model of aesthetic practice and its possibilities in the nineteenth century. To that end, this project emphasizes questions of international transfer and exchange, thus investigating the relationship between artists, their work and their various involvements with the performative adaptations of their production (one could think here of Ary Scheffer and Wilhelm Schadow or Charles Gleyre and Eduard Bendemann), as well as comparing the reactions of art critics and audiences to the interaction between the visual arts and their theatrical rendition.