PRINT May 1970

Die Brücke at Cornell

IN 1896 A GERMAN CRITIC COMPLAINED that although “history has begun to disappear as the subject matter of art, the past has won new powers as a stylistic model . . . Our art life has become like a museum with the spaces for all periods of art history and for all past schools of art arranged one next to the other. We have now attained the ability to express ourselves in all art styles of the past. In all these Protean artistic accomplishments, our time seems to have as its artistic characteristic the lack of a characteristic.” (Carl Neumann, Der Kampf um die neue Kunst, Berlin, 1896; pp. 63–64.) In answer to this accusation, both Impressionism and Jugendstil asserted their independence from historicism, but their vociferous self-defense was not always convincing. In 1902, Max Liebermann used his ahistorical Impressionist technique to depict Delilah as she triumphantly sheared Samson of his

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