Photograph of someone swimming

Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust Collaborative MA Programme

From 2014-16, the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust was supporting a two-year interdisciplinary research-led programme at The Courtauld Institute of Art. The project was a collaboration between Dr Klara Kemp-Welch from The Courtauld and Dr Beata Hock as Visiting Scholar from the University of Leipzig, and consists of two parts:

  1. The development of a new MA special Option on Central European modernism;
  2. A series of research events designed to further explore new directions in Central European modernism studies.

The objectives of the programme were to:

  1. Expand the intellectual range represented by The Courtauld by bringing together scholars from different traditions and different disciplines to teach a postgraduate course on a topic of mutual interest.
  2. Engage MA students with the interdisciplinary approach to the subject.
  3. To have an immediate impact on the research and thinking of the two colleagues who work together but it also leaves a legacy of enriched curriculum.
  4. Deepen interdisciplinary exchange between art history and other humanities studies.
  5. Deepen inter-university collaboration.

1. Special Option Central European Art and Culture 1918-1956: A Minor Modernism?

Inspired by the particularly Central European features of Franz Kafka’s writing and identity as a German-speaking Jew from Austro-Hungarian Prague, Deleuze and Guattari stressed the significance of his lived experience of multiple cultural identification as a key quality of what they called ‘a minor literature’. Minor literatures, they argued in 1975, have a ‘high coefficient of deterritorialisation’; ‘everything in them is political’.

This special option examined the enterprise of modernism from the perspective of Central Europe, interrogating the unique characteristics of ‘minor modernisms’. The course embraces the dynamism of the ‘global turn’ in art history and the challenges of art historiography in a multi-ethnic region to combine the study of major ‘isms’ of art such as Dada, Constructivism and Surrealism with research on local artists’ associations and their particular aspirations. The timeframe 1918-1956 calls into question European modernism’s usual framing as an interwar phenomenon to consider how it reinvented itself in relation to the rise of national socialism, World War 2 and the division of Europe at Yalta, thereby challenging the vestiges of Cold War thinking in contemporary art history.

The identities of key cultural actors in Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Czechoslovak and Polish Republics often remained plural despite the formation of individual nation states after the collapse of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire. Exchange and transformation, as proposed in the landmark exhibition Central European Avant-Gardes: Exchange and Transformation (LA County Museum of Art, 2002), were thus hallmarks of Central European self-perception, and cultural production was closely bound up with patterns of migration, shifting borders, and the interchangeability of majority and minority positions.

2. Research Event

AAH2015 41st Annual Conference & Bookfair, Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich,

9 – 11 April 2015
After the Great War / After the Cold War. Nations, identities and art histories in Central Europe

Session Convenors:

Klara Kemp-Welch, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and Beáta Hock, University of Leipzig,

The collapse of Imperial and Soviet empires after the Great War and the Cold War saw the (re-)formation of individual nation states and the production of new cultural identities across Central and Eastern Europe. These changes brought new opportunities for artists and art historians but also new challenges. Our session brings together papers exploring how art, art histories, and institutions in the region have engaged with shifting approaches to nation and identity across the modern and the contemporary periods. Taking into account how war has redrawn the geopolitical map of the continent, this session operates with the expanded and conceptually evocative designation of Central and Eastern Europe. Themes considered include: the histories of minority communities; the construction of identity through print media and popular culture; international perspectives on national traditions; and changing institutional frameworks for European art. Our aim is to enquire how art, art history, and exhibition history between the wars might shed light on the tensions between the local and global that have come to the forefront since the end of the Cold War. We historicise nation and identity in the region from a range of perspectives, with a view to better understanding the cultural ramifications of political polarisation and the resurgence of nationalism in Europe today.

Svitlana Biedarieva (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London) Seven Plus Infinity: Ukrainian art from Avant-Garde to Underground

Malgorzata Sears (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London) Negotiating Modernism: The 1925 Paris Exhibition and the Formation of New State Patronage in re-born Poland

Niccola Shearman (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London) Altered Visions – On visible relief in the German woodcut after 1918

Françoise Forster-Hahn (University of California, Riverside) The Changing Incarnations of the National Gallery in Berlin: Symbol of art and nationhood before, during, and after the wars

Alexey Ulko (Samarkand Visual @rts, Samarkand) Construction of Uzbek National Identity through Arts (1917–2014)

Matteo Bertelé (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) Germany and Russia at the 1993 Venice Biennale. Redefining post-Cold War geopolitics at the Giardini

Ksenia Nouril (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) Applying the Fantastic: Women and the Third Way in the art of Polish contemporary artist Paulina O?owska

Jasmina Tumbas (University at Buffalo, New York)  Countering Persecution, Misconceptions, and Nationalism: Contemporary Roma activist art and the case of Hungary

(Nóra Veszprémi – speaker withdrawn from original listing)

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The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust was created as a Trust by foundation document on 28 October 1992, some four years before Marie-Louise died. The Trust received charitable status on 21 November 1996. The Trust was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status in 2011. The creation of the Trust was the vision of Marie-Louise to provide a vehicle after her death for the preservation and promotion of her work, and the charitable support of the arts and other objects as stated below. Two of the original Trustees, David Scrase and Sean Rainbird are still serving as Trustees. The work of the Trust began after the death of Marie-Louise in 1996. The task of collating and indexing the archive, framing and conserving the paintings and publishing works directly related to Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, filled much of the first ten years of the Trust’s existence as a charity.

The Charitable Objects of the Trust are defined as:

  • The advancement of education of the public in the fine arts particularly painting and sculpture by any means but primarily by: (a) arranging public exhibitions of paintings and works of art and in particular those by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky; (b) the publication of literary works about the life and works of artists including Marie-Louise von Motesiczky.
  • The relief of diseases and other medical conditions impairing vision by assisting with the payment of medical and other expenses incurred in the treatment and care of eyes, including but not limited to, the costs of patient care, support and assistance to enable sufferers to live independently.
  • The general purposes of such charitable bodies or for such other purposes as shall be exclusively charitable as the trustees may from time to time decide.
Painting of a girl in a red hat
Self-portrait with Red Hat (1938), Marie-Louise Von Motesiczky (1906-1996)