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Imagined Cosmopolis

Internationalism and Cultural Exchange, 1870s–1920s


Edited By Charlotte Ashby, Grace Brockington, Daniel Laqua and Sarah Victoria Turner

The period from the 1870s to the 1920s was marked by an interplay between nationalisms and internationalisms, culminating in the First World War, on the one hand, and the creation of the League of Nations, on the other. The arts were central to this debate, contributing both to the creation of national traditions and to the emergence of ideas, objects and networks that forged connections between nations or that enabled internationalists to imagine a different world order altogether. The essays presented here explore the ways in which the arts operated internationally during this crucial period of nation-making, and how they helped to challenge national conceptions of citizenship, society, homeland and native tongue. The collection arises from the AHRC-funded research network Internationalism and Cultural Exchange, 1870–1920 (ICE; 2009–2014) and its enquiry into the histories of cultural internationalism and their historiographical implications.

This collection has been edited by members of the ICE network convened by Grace Brockington and Sarah Victoria Turner.

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15. European Design Journals as Transnational Spaces (Charlotte Ashby)


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15   European Design Journals as Transnational Spaces

The proliferation of art and design journals across Europe in the decades around 1900 created a new and expanding field in which cultural debate flourished. The period saw an explosion of such titles, driven by the growing appetite among professional groups and the public for a discussion of art and design issues. This development was facilitated, in no small part, by the falling costs of publication, particularly in relation to illustration.1 A sense of the sheer volume of printed discourse related to art, architecture and design in this period can be gauged by the 111 separate European titles listed in Stephan Tschudi-Madsen’s classic Sources of Art Nouveau, which still did not include Russian, Nordic or Eastern European publications.2 The debates that had rumbled on through the nineteenth century regarding the question of a style for the modern age spilled from the arena of the purely professional into the public domain, propelled by the voices of influential critics across Europe and by the spectacle of the great international exhibitions. Journals from this period capture something of the cacophony of voices, discussions and ideas which an increasingly active and visually sophisticated press communicated to a pan-European readership.

In this chapter, I will concentrate on the paradoxically transnational dimensions of the more-or-less nationalist design press, a subset within art and design titles that flourished in tandem with rising nationalism and national movements in this...

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