«Foundations of Art History in Switzerland: from Rahn to Wölfflin»
Johann Rudolf Rahn (1841–1912) and Heinrich Wölfflin (1864–1945) were major forces in the historiography of Swiss art. Both were professors of international repute who taught and researched at Zurich University. Their approaches to art history were quite different but mutually complementary. Rahn’s Geschichte der bildenden Künste in der Schweiz (1876) was the first comprehensive account of Swiss art. Wölfflin sought to enrich Rahn’s historical critique by systematically investigating the aesthetics of reception, culminating in a presentation of analytical terms in his Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (1915).
This two-day conference on the «Foundations of Art History in Switzerland: from Rahn to Wölfflin» is part of a longer-term project to explore more fully, and in a European context, the historiography of art history and of the Swiss institutions engaged in it.
The conference is the fruit of a partnership between three institutions: the Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich, the Collection of Printed Works at Zurich’s Central Library, and SIK-ISEA.