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    STUDIA HISTORIA - Issue no. 3 / 2002  

Authors:  IULIA MESEA.
  Abstract:  Tradition and Modernity. The Painting in South Eastern Transylvania at the End of the 19th Century and the Beginning of the 20th Century. For Transylvania, as well as for the entire Europe, the 19th century was a time of great changes in the conception man’s place in society. These changes also affected the field of art, which was fighting to impose its new role in society. In the condition of a multicultural area, in southeastern Transylvania, the phenomena of the 19th century were even more complicated. The three cohabitant nationalities perceived this situation in different ways, according to their own expectations. The Germans developed a collective anguish concerning their future because they were afraid to be overnumbered in their own cities and because of the perspective to belong to either Hungary or Romania, which could have affected their administrative autonomy. The Romanians and the Hungarians were fighting exactly for one of the specified unions. Thus, the feelings of fear and insecurity were reflected in southeastern Transylvanian art due to historical reality. At the end of the 19th century Transylvanian painting underwent the impact of European modern trends. In southeastern Transylvania the most important artistic center was Sibiu. The supremacy would be taken by Braşov during the first decade of the 20th century. The study points out the conditions and the way in which the modern trends were received by the artists during their training in the important artistic centers of Central Europe, mostly in Munich, Vienna, Berlin, Rome and then implemented on their work and activity. The features that characterize the artistic life in Central Europe can be also traced, in a certain measure, in Transylvanian art, proving that this region received the influences of European artistic movements of the time. In the last years of the 19th, century a group of artists - gathering Arthur Coulin, Robert Wellmann, Octavian Smigelschi, Fritz Schullerus, Hermine Hufnagel, Michael Fleischer from Sibiu; Lotte Goldschmidt, Friedrich Miess, Emerich Tamás, etc. from Braşov - who had begun their artistic education under the guidance of the German artist Carl Dörschlag decided to continue their studies in Munich, the most important artistic center of Central Europe. Strongly influenced by the Zeitgeist of the end of the century, they returned in Transylvania determined to change the conception regarding the place of the work of art and of the artist in the Transylvanian society, trying to impose the new spirit, popularizing it through conferences, writings and works of art. Another way for the promotion of the new ideas was the foundation of cultural reviews (Die Karpathen, founded in Braşov in 1907) and artistic societies (the Association Sebastian Hann, founded in Sibiu in 1905). Part of their artistic work can be approached from the point of view of modernity, though these modern elements were frequently implemented on a traditional background. The portraits of this period are a continuation of the academic exercise but also gaining important expressive values. The landscapes are not anymore a simple reproduction of reality. They got subjective and symbolic values. Some artists of the group were influenced by the Symbolism of the time. The stronger impact can be traced in the works of Emerich Tamás, Fritz Schullerus, Octavian Smigelschi. As a conclusion the study underlines the fact that the activity of these artists did not tend to break the old structures, but to create the institutional and mental frame for modern art to develop. Their revolt manifested against the conservatism of the Transylvanian society that was not prepared to receive the new. That is why their role in society was not only that of artists but also of educators. Due to their efforts, the Transylvanian society received the western influences in the relation centre/peripheria. Their practical and theoretical activity opened new ways for modern art in this area.  
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