Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An art of their own: Reinventing “Frauenkunst” in the female academies and artist leagues of late-Imperial and First Republic Austria, 1900-1930
by Brandow-Faller, Megan Marie, Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2010, 514; 3398962
Abstract (Summary)

Focusing on the institutionalization of women’s art education, this dissertation traces the development of the concept of Frauenkunst , (women’s art) originally connoting substandard, amateurish works intended as distraction rather than vocation, as well as certain lower genres (flower-painting, still-life, etc) associated with slavish reproduction rather than creative innovation, in Austrian artistic-educational systems circa 1900-1930. The originally-private, later state-subsidized Viennese Women’s Academy, which gained official institutional parity with Austria’s premier state academies of fine and applied arts, assumes particular significance for the question of a distinct “women’s art.” Originally founded by a private-league, the Women’s Academy gradually became integrated in late-Imperial Austria’s mainstream institutional framework: gaining rights of public incorporation in 1908, increased levels of statefunding and employment of key personnel, and the privilege of issuing degrees equal to the Austrian Academy of Fine Arts. Both undercutting and reinforcing the existence of a gendered aesthetic, Austria’s single-sex academy and artists leagues brought the concept of Frauenkunst full circle: reinventing the stereotypes against which women artists had traditionally struggled.

The Viennese Women’s Academy represented a unique case in point of institutional equality of difference. While similar institutions in Central Europe closed after women were integrated into the mainstream state academies, the Viennese Women’s Academy experienced a renaissance just as Austria’s state Academy began accepting female students in 1919/20. Preceding women’s admission to the Academy, the state equipped the Women’s Academy with Courses in Academic Painting and Sculpture granted official institutional parity with the state Academy and extended government contracts to core-faculty. This sense of institutional equality of difference, pitted on the distinct pedagogical needs of female art-students, justified the Women’s Academy’s continued existence after women’s admission to the state Academy. Austria’s Women’s Academy occupied a liminal space between state-affiliated and league-school, the fine and applied arts, and public and private institution.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shedel, James P.
Commitee: Evtuhov, Catherine, Sarmany-Parsons, Ilona
School: Georgetown University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, European history, Art history, Gender studies
Keywords: Austria, Austrian women artists, Creativity and partnership, Vienna, Women's art education, Women's artistic institutions
Publication Number: 3398962
ISBN: 978-1-109-73485-0
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