The Legacy of German Art and Culture in St. Louis

The Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum invite the public to this exploration of German art.

To this very day, the reception of modern and contemporary German art in the United States has been quite varied. On the one hand, cities such as St. Louis, Detroit, Boston, and Los Angeles have a strong private and institutional investment in German art, with origins traceable to both immigrant German populations and German expatriate art historians. On the other hand, on a national scale, public opinion of German art has been tainted by political animosities that date back to World War I and by distinctive aesthetic tastes. French modernism—elegant, beautiful, and often less overtly political—not only appealed to American collectors but also gained the respect of significant art historians such as Alfred H. Barr, Jr., and in the canonical narratives French rather than German artworks became the cornerstones of aesthetic modernism.

This panel, organized in conjunction with exhibitions of modern and contemporary German art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, explores the history of exhibiting and collecting German art and culture in St. Louis. From the early influence of seminal figures such as the nineteenth-century beer magnate Adolphus Busch, to the elaborate presentation of German art and culture at the 1904 World’s Fair and the impact of significant collectors such as Morton D. May on the institutional legacy of German art, to major acquisitions and exhibitions of postwar German art, panelists will discuss why German art and culture is so appealing to St. Louis.


Event Details:

  • When: 

    Saturday, September 7, 2013
    1:00 p.m.

  • Where: 

    Steinberg Hall, Washington University in St. Louis
    Forsyth Blvd. and N. Skinker Blvd.
    St. Louis, MO

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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