This article examines the role of memory in discussions of art theory, practice, and education in Wilhelmine Germany (1890-1918). Its focus is on the artist Arnold Böcklin, whose prodigious memory is often cited in accounts of his work. In the Böcklin literature, as well as in contemporaneous writing on art theory and art education, memory work was considered an essential and necessary cognitive function in the creative process. Conservative art historians like Henry Thode and such progressive artists as Max Liebermann summoned Böcklin's fabled memory in these debates, as did writers on art theory and art education. Georg Simmel also invoked concepts of memory in his discussions of the mood (Stimmung) of Böcklin's landscapes, which he considered in terms of a counterbalancing trend to rational and visual regimes of modernity. In all these discussions around Böcklin's memory, remembering was understood not as an end in itself, but as a means to something new.

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Journal Oxford Art Journal
Frank, M. (2016). 'he painted everything, so to say, from his head': Arnold Böcklin's Great Memory and Artistic Practice in Wilhelmine Germany. Oxford Art Journal (Vol. 39, pp. 67–86). doi:10.1093/oxartj/kcv029