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Views of Albion

The Reception of British Art and Design in Central Europe, 1890–1918


Andrzej Szczerski

Views of Albion is the first comprehensive study of the reception of British art and design in Central Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. The author proposes a new map of European Art Nouveau, where direct contacts between peripheral cultures were more significant than the influence of Paris. These new patterns of artistic exchange, often without historic precedence, gave art during this period its unique character and dynamism.
Beginning with an analysis of the concept of Central Europe, the book examines knowledge about British art and design in the region. In subsequent chapters the author looks at the reception of the Pre-Raphaelites in painting and graphic arts as well as analysing diverse responses to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Germany, Austria, Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Hungary and Southern Slavic countries. The epilogue reveals the British interest in Central Europe, echoed in the designs Walter Crane, Charles Robert Ashbee and publications of The Studio.
The book questions the insularity of British culture and offers new insights into art and design of Central Europe at the fin de siècle. It presents the region as a vital part of the international Art Nouveau, but also shows its specific features, visible in the works of artists such as Alfons Mucha, Gustav Klimt and Stanisław Wyspiański.
Andrzej Szczerski is an art historian and curator based at the Institute of Art History, Jagiellonian University. He is the president of the Polish section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and vice-president of AICA International. He has published previously on Polish and Central European art, design and architecture in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Modernizations: Art and Architecture in the New States of Central-Eastern Europe 1918–1939 and Four Modernities: Texts about Polish Art and Architecture in Twentieth Century (both in Polish). In 2009 he was a co-curator of the Symbolism in Poland and Britain exhibition at the Tate Britain in London. His current research concerns art in Central Europe since 1989.