Visiting Expert Lecture

The Warburg and The Courtauld: Imbricated Histories

Free and open to all, booking essential

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

Mon 24 May, 2021

This summer, The Courtauld welcomes visiting expert Prof. Elizabeth Sears (University of Michigan) to give the first lecture in a two-part series – The Warburg and the Courtauld: Imbricated Histories. 

The Courtauld Institute of Art opened in 1932. The Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, staffed with significant art historians, was enabled to escape Nazi Germany in 1933 and reopen in London as the Warburg Institute in 1934 owing in good part to the efforts of the very men responsible for the creation of the Courtauld. In two lectures that draw on extensive and in part newly available archival information, the deep connections and the profound differences between the two institutions – both of which would do much to shape the development of Art History in Britain – are brought to light. The first lecture charts an interconnected history through the crises of 1936 – when the Warburg, directed by Fritz Saxl, nearly folded and the Courtauld suffered the public disaster of the resignation of its first director, W.G. Constable. The second, moving forward in time as late as the Gombrich-Blunt eras, focuses on articulated distinctions in the purposes, methods and pedagogical philosophies of each.

The second lecture will take place on Tuesday 29 May 2018 at The Warburg Instiute and information for that instalment is available here:

Prof. Elizabeth Sears is George H. Forsyth Jr. Collegiate Professor of History of Art at the University of Michigan and current departmental chair. Trained in the Warburg tradition, she conducts research in two areas: the medieval representational arts and disciplinary historiography, her historiographical studies treating the work of scholars including Aby Warburg, Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind, Gertrud Bing, Jean Seznec, W. S. Heckscher, H. W. Janson, and Roger Hinks. Her research has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and residential fellowships in Rome, Hamburg, Berlin, and Washington DC.