The Middle Ages and the modern era are the focal points of Hans Sedlmayr’s first work biography, Hans Sedlmayr’s Art History. A Critical Study, published in 2017 by Böhlau Verlag. Based on an analysis of the Sedlmayr estate in Salzburg, it addresses the dialectics of Verlust der Mitte (The Loss of the Middle), the infamous polemic against modern art, Die Entstehung der Kathedrale (The Emergence of the Cathedral) his weighty contribution to Gothic research. It focuses on the formative yet controversial author as a cultural critic. The paradoxical fusion of modern ideas and reactionary thinking can be explained and criticized with the use of cultural-critical arguments. The book shows which ideological implications lie at the heart of art historiography, thus demonstrating the makings of art history. Particular attention was paid to bridge the epochal boundaries between research in medieval, modernity and modern era studies, typical to art history.

Partial aspects of the dissertation were presented and consolidated in Amsterdam, Dublin and Prague in 2017. The article “The Cathedral—a Pathos-Formula of Modernism” for example, compares avant-garde receptions of the Gothic. This is due for publication in 2019 in the anthology Gothic Modernisms edited by Juliet Simpson. In addition, an article on Sedlmayr’s self-representation as the Sun King under the title, “Hans Sedlmayr: The Anti-Classical Condition” is in preparation. In 2017, a study was published, contextualizing the positions of Hans Sedlmayr and Rudolf Schlichter as former proponents of the Karlsruhe avant-garde that joined the right-wing conservative camp. “Anti-Art. Surrealism as the Image of the Enemy and as Therapeutic Agent in Seydlmayr and Schlichter” appeared in the volume Surrealism in Germany (?) published by Isabel Fischer and Karina Schuller. (

Prof. Dr. Beat Wyss, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich

Böhlau Verlag: Köln, Wien, Weimar 2017