Guest Researchers

Prof. Dr. Robert Felfe

Research stay in Wolfenbüttel in July/August 2016

Professional background

Robert Felfe has been a professor of European Art History of the 17th and 18th Century at the Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar at the University of Hamburg since March 2014 and is a member of the research project “Naturbilder / Images of Nature” at his institute. He had previously worked as a substitute professor in Hamburg and Berlin. In 2011, he earned his habilitation with his thesis on “Natural Form and Artistic Processes. Elements of a History of Knowledge in 16th- and 17th-Century Art”. His main research areas include collection history of early modernity and prints and drawings of the 16th to 18th century.

Research project and public presentation

During his stay in Wolfenbüttel, Robert Felfe addressed the history of pictorial strategies and conventions which have organised and characterised the portrayal of plants as a subject of scientific knowledge. He held a public presentation on the subject at the Meißnerhaus of the Herzog August Bibliothek on the evening of 1 August 2016. In the lecture he drew links between his research focus and questions that extend beyond the immediate functional context: Does the subject of plants and the field of botanical interests provide a basis for reconstructing vegetable paradigms of the image?

Prof. Dr. Valentin Groebner

Research stay in Wolfenbüttel in October 2015

Professional background

Valentin Groebner, born in 1962 in Vienna, is a professor of Medieval and Renaissance History at the University of Lucerne where he has taught since March 2004. He studied in Vienna, Marburg and Hamburg. After receiving his doctoral degree in Bielefeld in 1991, he worked as a research associate in the History Department at the University of Basel where he also earned his habilitation in 1998. In 1996/97, Valentin Groebner was a fellow at the Berlin Wissenschaftskolleg, and in 1999, a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. In 1999/2000, he was invited to the Department of History of Art at Harvard University as a visiting professor, and in spring 2001, he was a professeur invité at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. From 1999 to 2001, he was a member of the working group “The Moral Authority of Nature” and in summer 2001, he was a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Since then he has received a number of teaching assignments in Switzerland and the USA. In the spring of 2014, he was a visiting researcher for the research project “Bild-Evidenz”  (Evidence of Images) at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is a member of the Swiss Association for Economic and Social History (SSHES).

Public presentation At the invitation of the MWW project in Wolfenbüttel, Valentin Groebner held a public presentation at the Herzog August Bibliothek on the evening of 28 October 2015, entitled  “Me-Faces: How much history is contained in writers’ photos and advertising posters at the beginning of the 21st century?” Based on his book “Ich-Plakate: Eine Geschichte des Gesichts als Aufmerksamkeitsmaschine”, published in 2015, he discussed the portrayal of the human face in the public sphere since the Middle Ages and examined the origin of these faces and the expectations tied to them.

Prof. Jonathan Long

Research stay in Marbach in July 2016

Professional background

Jonathan Long is a professor at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University. He has written several works on German and Austrian literature of the 20th century, including monographs on Thomas Bernhard and W. G. Sebald. He also wrote essays on Bertolt Brecht, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Monika Maron and Gerhard Fritsch. In 2005, he received the Philip Leverhulme Prize and the Max Kade Prize for the best article in the field of Modern Austrian Literature. He is the co-founder of the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies and co-director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. The subjects of his current research work are the photographic book genre and visual culture in the Weimar Republic.

Research project

Jonathan Long spent four weeks at the DLA as a visiting researcher in July 2016 as part of the MWW research project “Politics of the Image”. He was initially interested in the archived photos of writers at book readings and other events, in which writers played a role, for example, training seminars for teachers, exhibitions etc. He began by investigating the role writers’ photos play in the self-portrayal of the Marbach archive and then delved into the chronicles of the archive from its beginnings in the early 1950s until the present day. He expanded his perspective to include photos of poetry readings in general and made use of the extensive holdings of such photos contained in media documentation. In addition, he read everything he could find in the library about writers’ photos and took the opportunity to visit the Jünger House in Wilfingen. Professor Long plans to present the results of his research stay in a lecture and publication on the role of poetry readings and writers’ photos in rituals of legitimisation in German Studies and the literary community. 

Sophie Tauche

Research stay in Weimar in June 2015

Professional background

Sophie Tauche studied Philosophy and Art History at the LMU Munich, where she also wrote her dissertation in 2014 on scholars’ portraits around 1800 based on depictions of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. In addition to 18th- and 19th-century portrait painting and 19th-century portrait photography, Sophie Tauche is also interested in the interplay between the natural sciences and the fine arts.

Research project

At the invitation of the MWW project “Politics of the Image” in Weimar, Sophie Tauche conducted research in June 2015 on the political potential of Goethe’s portraits and their use for the political agenda of the Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach duchy around 1800. Her research focused on portraits in the form of paintings, drawings and medallions which were created in connection to the 50th anniversary of Carl August’s reign and the 50th anniversary of Goethe’s induction into public service. Following her stay as a visiting researcher, Ms Tauche filled in for and later replaced Christian Hecht as research associate of the MWW Research Association at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar.

More information Sophie Tauche: Image Politics in Silk and Lace. Review of the exhibition “Franz Xaver Winterhalter – Painter in Her Majesty’s Service” in the MWW blog, published on 16 September 2016.