School of Culture and Communication - Theses

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    Intersecting cultures: European influences in the fine arts: Melbourne 1940-1960
    PALMER, SHERIDAN ( 2004)
    The development of modern European scholarship and art, more Austria and Germany, had produced by the early part of the twentieth century challenging innovations in art and the principles of art historical scholarship. Art history, in its quest to explicate the connections between art and mind, time and place, became a discipline that combined or connected various fields of enquiry to other historical moments. Hitler's accession to power in 1933 resulted in a major diaspora of Europeans, mostly German Jews, and one of the most critical dispersions of intellectuals ever recorded. Their relocation to many western countries, including Australia, resulted in major intellectual and cultural developments within those societies. By investigating selected case studies, this research illuminates the important contributions made by these individuals to the academic and cultural studies in Melbourne. Dr Ursula Hoff, a German art scholar, exiled from Hamburg, arrived in Melbourne via London in December 1939. After a brief period as a secretary at the Women's College at the University of Melbourne, she became the first qualified art historian to work within an Australian state gallery as well as one of the foundation lecturers at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne. While her legacy at the National Gallery of Victoria rests mostly on an internationally recognised Department of Prints and Drawings, her concern and dedication extended to the Gallery as a whole. Franz Philipp, a Viennese art history doctoral student, whose passage of exile was deeply traumatic, arrived in Australia on board HMT Dunera. He rose to become the 'co-architect' of the newly founded Fine Arts Department ofthe University of Melbourne, where he instituted a rigorous standard of 'continental' scholarship. Professor Joseph Burke, a graduate in Fine Arts and a British war-ti~e civil servant, was appointed to the first Herald Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne in 1946. His mission was not only to establish art historical studies in the University, but also to take art into the public sphere; both these responsibilities demanded a multifarious role in the fine arts and cultural environment in Melbourne. Together with other important Europeans and Australians, these three scholars assisted in the cultural revision of the post-war period, legitimating cultural and educational paradigms and processes by establishing a more dynamic cross-cultural and international programme of scholarship and change within the arts more generally. Individually and collectively, Ursula Hoff, Franz Philipp and Joseph Burke became a seminal force in the academic, intellectual, museological and cultural environment of post-war Melbourne.
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    The butterfly in the antipodes: James McNeill Whistler's graphic work in the National Gallery of Victoria: history and legacy
    Clayton-Greene, Kim L. R. ( 2012)
    This thesis interrogates the history and legacy of James McNeill Whistler’s graphic work in Victoria and, more broadly, Australia. The holdings of Whistler’s black and white work at the National Gallery of Victoria [NGV] are employed as a case study through which Whistler’s importance in Australia is examined. This dissertation argues that an analysis of the provenance of this collection reveals the history of Whistler’s artistic reception and reputation and proposes that the collection can act as a historical barometer, charting changes in the legacy of Whistler’s graphic art in Australia. Four periods central to the development of the history and legacy of Whistler in Australia are proposed by this thesis. The first is the earliest arrival of Whistler’s work in Australia, at the NGV in 1892, which prompted the first serious appreciation of Whistler’s artistic reputation. The second is the impact that Whistler’s graphic work had on the development of the Australian etching movement in the first decades of the twentieth century and the extent to which the artist’s influence was noticeably long lasting. The third is the inclusion of Whistler’s graphic art into the homes of Melbourne’s wealthier citizens in the inter-War era and the particular taste in interior design that this reflects. The fourth is the NGV’s recognition of Whistler’s established reputation as a leading print artist of the nineteenth-century etching revival through the targeted acquisition of his work in the mid-twentieth century. The important place in the history of graphic art that Whistler’s work occupies has recently been shown by the launch of the significant online catalogue raisonné of Whistler’s etchings. This thesis seeks to extend this scholarship on Whistler’s graphic art to Australia.