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Title: Bernhard Pankok and Design Reform in Germany, 1895-1914
Authors: Fox, Peter
Advisors: da Costa Meyer, Esther
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the early career of artist and designer Bernhard Pankok (1872-1943) as site of convergence for major threads in the history of German design reform. Pankok has long been counted as chief exemplar of Jugendstil, the German variant of Art Nouveau, but my study goes beyond dictates of style to consider a wider array of discursive practices and institutional actors. I argue that Pankok’s most important work in the applied arts, from about 1895 to 1914, was integral to a larger, multifarious agenda premised on yoking graphic, interior, and furniture design with the construction of a unified national consciousness. A range of critics, curators, and businessmen, all with diverging projects, found Pankok especially suited to articulate a national artistic identity commensurate with the German Empire’s newfound industrial might. To that end, the first chapter begins by charting the nationalist re-orientation of graphic art by German critics at the end of the nineteenth century and the attendant impact on Pankok’s career as a graphic designer for publishers of major magazines (Georg Hirth, Alexander Koch), literary works (Eugen Diederichs), and newspapers (August Scherl). Chapter two surveys Pankok’s contributions to the early years of the furniture atelier Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk vis-à-vis changing modes in display spurred by both applied arts museums and world’s fairs. The third chapter isolates Pankok’s signal contribution to Jugendstil ornament, his revival of the wood-inlay practice known alternately as intarsia and marquetry, and suggests that German critics willfully couched their appraisals of Pankok’s work in nationalist terms to obscure his debts to French designers associated with the Ecole de Nancy. The fourth chapter follows Pankok to Stuttgart and examines his imbrication with state bureaucracy, including an acrimonious feud with architect Theodor Fischer over the commission of a municipal exhibition building, a project that tested the capacity of modern architecture to mediate between changing concepts of nation and state. Reading Pankok’s oeuvre opens onto larger questions of how a single artist can be understood to embody collective, national qualities, whether intentionally or not, and the shifting abilities of both individuals and groups to define and propagate these qualities.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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