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Aloïs Riegl: Art, Value, and Historicism Author(s): Henri Zerner Reviewed work(s): Source: Daedalus, Vol.

105, No. 1, In Praise of Books (Winter, 1976), pp. 177-188 Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences Stable URL: . Accessed: 01/11/2011 14:37
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the advent of except for a short piece that recently appeared in an anthology. such as Erwin Panofsky and Edgar Wind. Value. every work of art had a value for someone at some time in some place?consequently. but on others as well. the rapid progression to Novalis appears inevitable: For Herder. mark the German-speaking countries. etc. there were no bad works of art. the development of Romantic theory. had impact only on the major Viennese art historians. often invoked like an enormous not tury. only limited ones. Riegl's fame also went the confines of art beyond history. this problem of evaluation was reinforced and exacerbated by the of the gradually scientific pretensions of art. and even on Richard Krautheimer. Riegl's on the themselves to such use.) could be readily exploited for purposes of analysis and stylistic de plane/recession. Viennese master. In the nineteenth century. Once the problem is posed. of thought from Herder each work of art Any historical could only be judged according to the standards of the culture and civilization ^nwhich it was produced. where Bianchi-Bandinelli aware of his His writings have never been translated into importance). although he later abjured the faith. however. larly English. Walter Benjamin has recalled the decisive impression he received from Die sp?tr?mische Kunst reading industrie. It is in the work of Alois Riegl1 that these related problems became most acute. for Novalis. Sibylline texts.HENRI ZERNER Alois Riegl: Art. his name has remained at least vaguely 177 . view was Riegl perhaps the most influential art historian of the beginning of this cen His writings. which is still the basis of early modern criticism. regularly assigned undergraduates.2 With Outside in art and specialization faded altogether. Riegl did not make much of a and Raghianti were particu (the exception was Italy. professionalism history. Nevertheless. shows this clearly. Bernard Ber for instance. and where a possibility of their solution was if not interestingly altogether satisfactorily adumbrated. For a time it even became fashionable to to belong Riegl's cult. with its goal of an history developing not be abandoned without objectivity which could destroying the standards of the pro fession. kept the great book on a lecturn and expressed his reverence for the enson. because his pairs of opposing concepts (linear/painterly. of their role in the author's ideas did not lend scription independently theory. and Historicism of art poses an immediate problem for the evaluation of indi art vidual works. his popularity are to American whose writings had a W?lfflin. much more enduring fame.

against Semper's disciples who had twist ed his ideas into a sort of "materialistic" to them. and published his monumen tal work on Dutch group portraits of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (1902). celebrated HENRI ZERNER thanks to occasional to to the discipline and the social sciences. (Problems of Style). in that period only the decadence of classical art. Ecole des Chartes. Riegl a of decorative arts specialized in the study of art and took position in the museum a series of studies on textiles.5 Against a term that he the view that this period was "decadent. he attacked the standard explanation for the radical change of style during the Early Christian period in terms of the barbarian invasions. In 1893. has regained in some quarters his reputation as holy that his was the grandest effort ever made to give co more integrate it satisfactorily into the general field of reminders and even some distasteful traits in his work. He first studied law. Riegl observed in it the emergence of new values. and he was a contemporary in W?lfflin. With this work. a book in which he sketches the history Riegl published Stilfragen of ornament to Islam. in which he studied the art of late antiquity. Out of his lectures In 1897. Riegl belonged to a generation of great historians of art that includ and Emile M?le. Riegl left the museum came a number of the most famous of which was Sp?tr?mische Kunst publications. to Byzantium the and Islam. Aby Warburg. and saw instead in this change an organic transformation inside the Latin world itself. But it was not the contribution of individual artists that domain of the history of can . in 1858. In spite of certain he clearly merits such as that provided by Meyer over art his with rising dissatisfaction style. Vienna of Freud and Klimt. Furthermore. to this Riegl opposed the independence of aesthetic choice from material conditions. more particularly. Whether always present the appearance stylistic variations is more on the naturalistic same enduring or abstract. He also expounded the thesis of the historical continuity of art?in this case of ornamental art from the ancient Near East (Egypt) more patterns. claiming that the latter had only a negative and not a formative influence. Where his predecessors had seen industrie. especially the year the Neoclassical Adolf von Hildebrand Das Problem der sculptor published influence on art history and on Riegl in Form. was evolutionism. where and diplomatics were paleography highly developed.6 Riegl also gave lectures another period that was generally regarded as decadent. and it may in fact be herence theorists.178 list of great article on Schapiro's torical "professionalism. Riegl abandoned those fields of research where the individual artist be identified. Riegl a constant of history that recognized and irreversible only opposed philosophy progress. the most traditional rarely art. This book was a in Europe and the Near East from its origins ed Heinrich a thesis. and turned to post-Renaissance painting. Born shortcomings serious reexamination.4 which had an enormous particular. ornaments for the University of Vienna. Itwas directed against the architect and the polemical work with provocative orist Gottfried Semper or. then it for and dropped philosophy at the Institut fur a school modeled on the history. and purpose.3 Today. Trained Geschichtsforschungen. on the formation and development of the Baroque. technique." entirely rejected. According style determined by three factors: material. where he prepared on Oriental rugs." Riegl prophet.

One can begin by making Riegl completely accomplishment: artistic value was relative had certainly been entertained during the Romantic period. important when analyses. one makes an attempt at systematization?an attempt that is. Riegf shows himself analysis of particular works of was the most decisive and in It is. on the whole. however. sculpture. Riegl's monumental to demand consideration. but neither have they been replaced by what one might comfortably effort to confront all these issues remains paradigm. any aesthetic theory explanation severs art from that system that attempts to reach a definitive history. today and continues An account of Riegl's contribution is harder to give in positive terms.ALOIS RIEGL 179 interested him in this long series of masterly. criticism. an examination with the Dutch portraits. the hierarchical distinction between the applied or decora tive arts. penetrating. it These convictions have disappeared by today. points. Riegl's plea for equal treatment for all historical periods. and there signs that the situation is progressing further in this direction: little in the Western tradition remains to be discovered. to define the artistic projection of that society. seems nevertheless at least theoretically acceptable to are many people today. a brilliant master of the detailed art. on the other. while a serious the art of primitive peoples is apparent. however. to the but it always had to be accommodated contending notion that some periods? or the French thirteenth classical antiquity. The writings of Riegl span a great variety of subjects. not word. in the field of theory that his contribution which he found followers. and architecture). They held. nonetheless. of which the masterpieces are the Hals and Rembrandt. and the higher arts (painting. century?had attained artistic supremacy. and sometimes overly fastidi nor was he concerned with the so problem of patronage. on the one hand. iconographie point of view that stresses the matter of a work of art. It is. the light or mechanistic "materialistic" of stylistic evolution. is true. where the latter alone are considered to be art in the strict sense of the and which In brief. they remain remarkably solid both in their research and in their general historical views. history. and undermines a necessary corol to the first we are not to our view on the lary point if impose post-Renaissance Western The second art of remote cultures. of the works through dealing ous of themselves. if it is by no means easy to realize. His contribution can be defined most terms of the readily in various approaches he opposed: factual positivistic which archeologists practice history own an represented his training. leaving behind to later a number without a completely generations systematic order and bequeathing of radical and often puzzling texts. the High Renaissance. The first is generally recognized as an the field of art history. Riegl attacked all the fundamental convictions of traditional no means are not. the primacy of the individual artist's consciousness and will. very call a new unmatched if art especially necessarily advisable. The idea that reopened two effort to deal with . any normative or interpretation judgment. Riegl died in 1905. which interprets the work in the subject biographical of the artist's life. and. He attempted. is more difficult to accept: effort to overthrow the point Riegl's of the individual creator as central to the of the work in favor of supremacy significance a inheritance higher communal point of view reflects a decidedly subversive Hegelian our whole aesthetic tradition. the Syndics of the Cloth-Drapers' Guild. particularly most a collection of ideas complete realization.

One?his out irreducible historicism?comes escapes history. content or objective immanent meaning?each work. which." This school of Riegl's followers appears might to it.9 The problem lies in determining dently. by its style. The other. were most two Around 1925. had already become obsolete during Riegl's lifetime. one concept or. Its place in of the work.11 it then the Kunstwollen as what we call a "deep structure. with Das holl?ndische Gruppenportr?t. When er it is Roman fibulae. his thought is plex. The to the space. which is for Riegl the tendency art historical he studies a particular genre. must confront the whole of art history. replaces is articulated in several cycles in which one may observe apparent regres evolution loss of deep space at the end of antiquity is a case in point. wheth major object of investigation. the task of the art historian is to explore and reveal the culture from which seemed this virtuality of the work of art as fully as possible. some works can be "optical" but not subjective. Sedlmayr7 pointed one nor The objective-subjective polarity neither overlaps the previous exactly entirely the general it. in his introduction to Riegl's collected essays. According Sedlmayr is a central and informing principle. a truly creative force.180 HENRI ZERNER Let us go a little more specifically into the tenets of Riegl's convictions. goes he turned to the fundamen In his later years. but also sible to progress directly from the inconsistent and discontinuous perspective of antiq sions. exactly what a on which his followers were never able to agree. The scholar.10 its meaning Neo-Kantian. but only as limiting factors of resis as a link in tance. one should say more pru Riegl's ideas crystallized around perhaps around one term: Kunstwollen. strongly and persistently. The tactile-optical increasingly from Hildebrand's influential Problem of Form. the chain of artistic events that he must and rests on a theory of perception out. however. of course. Nothing is not so much concerned with the conditions at the historical moment when the Riegl work appears?these conditions are important. as from an objective to an is taken over. as a It sought to avoid any concept of the Kunstwollen metaphysical too unscientific. an attempt to explain art historical change as phlo entity?it as a and others interpreted the Kunstwollen Panofsky. it is an apparent a necessary advance. most brilliantly articulated by Panofsky. meant Riegl point by the word. the historian first has to discover this called itsmethod Strukturanalyse. Wind. Riegl claimed that itwould have been impos regression. more com nism and of submitting it to a dangerous teleology. He sees art evolving in one great movement that from a tactile (haptisch) vision of the world toward a more and more optical one. While Riegl has been admired for acceding uity continuity of Renaissance to an elevated of view from which he could envisage such long-range artistic point he has also been accused of reducing art history to a simplistic mecha developments. or Dutch group portraits. giston explained heat. according the surface make it possible for him to understand will then informing principle. isHegelian. . powerfully expressed by to it. which phenomena. understand this historical chain elucidates the aesthetic tal analytical tools of Romanticism and talked of an evolution alternative subjective vision.8 Furthermore. Riegl always places Empire furniture. It is each individual work. involves the whole of it comes. when his ideas being actively discussed. In fact. itwithin a much larger development. interpretations of is could be distinguished: One.

philosophical with all the ver equipment of the author. although the word Kunstwollen has fallen almost entirely out of use. His use of the term Kunstwollen as the years not changes only but at the same time within the same text. and much clearly than Riegl. Riegl avoids using the word 'style. there is no doubt that to establish art as a science Riegl wanted history and to define its autonomy. of the meaning of Kunstwollen simply the result of incoherence that we can explain away in order to regularize the system . Otto Pacht has explained this by saying that the meaning o?Kunstwollen ten developed during the of Riegl's theoretical reflection. the reconstruction of teleological thetic urge the past by the establishment a succession of facts or through historical criticism of events. One can only for work example."12 metaphysical a did not entertain the Riegl possibility of Rankean positivism. difficulty Riegl meant by the term is the varied.' Like Morelli even in he him. we will have to retain it in our discussion of Riegl in order to conserve the distance that he wished to keep between traditional ideas and his own. they a more of the necessary and fruitful positive role. having invested the term Kunstwollen us with residues of various that do not always satility of his mind. presents borrowings fit comfortably together. was ambivalent. The meaning it seems to vary with its context. "As for what determines the aes determination) to see natural in works of art by stressing or objects represented repressing the features that isolate them or one can conversely unify them. Both interpretations can be defended is elusive because the word Kunstwollen can only look for it in Psychology. he aspired to what he called a His "positivism" consisted largely in "positivism. These fluctuations In principle. it would deceive itself if it believed it had thereby become an exact science. are not. The change of word obviously betrays an effort to rethink the fundamental notions of art history. His attitude. His writings exhibit a years searching mind in constant motion and. more had envi Very early. An understanding play ambiguity of the term will enable us to define Riegl's peculiar place in the formalist study of art?in the general tendency. only indulge in conjectures that an art historian must absolutely refuse to make. Stilfragen. moreover. were produced during a particularly active decade of European reason for our Another in pinning down what thought. phenomena social sciences in strong models. somewhat sur . not to say character of the intellectual and disparate. go by. we still lack this foundation. to study art as a closed system. On the one hand. that is. however. scientifically provides when one can catch the flux The of these models for physics.' Curiously enough. uses it except when someone else's ideas." in renouncing causes (or the the avoiding any metaphysical question. however. the young W?lfflin sioned two opposite conceptions of science and had made his choice: decidedly A history that would only register things that have happened one after another cannot be defended.13 cannot pose such a clear-cut alternative between two views of science because Riegl he is not prepared to give up empirical positivism. His solution is bold. Thus Kunstwollen is hardly paraphrasing loaded with all the ambiguities that usually affect the concept of style. study of the first of artistic development. This is why. We must note first that in the term Kunstwollen before Riegl's writing replaces the word 'style.ALOIS RIEGL 181 of by quoting Riegl's writings. Riegl. Mechanics.

182 HENRI ZERNER this most prising. Within the complete formula itself."15 This comes out at the end of clearly "Naturwerk und Kunstwerk": All these non-artistic domains of culture constantly play a part in the as history of art insofar the work of art (which is never without an outside purpose) with its exterior they supply impul sion. the artist can give the picture its unity through the inter resentation and artistic "forms" . space played a central but also forW?lfflin because it occupies an ambiguous place midway between a device of rep part precisely ing with actual the thing represented. as expressed of the glance. Color and contour can be understood as sense ofMaurice Denis's famous strictly pictorial devices in the definition of a picture as "a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order. in other words. in an attempt to confine itself to what is specifically artistic. accepting of the work of art. It is the very Kunstwollen. tries to restrict its to "form" as activity opposed to content. it can only appear as so und nicht anders. probably felt it simply subterfuge. however. and by the direction in relation to it. introduces an incongruous element. just as space is. elusive entity. is by no means easy. The introduction of space keeps the study of from being narrowed down to a sterile analysis of configurations. und Farbe in Ebene that Riegl who oder Raum?in repeats his favorite formula? untiringly full has here reduced it to contour and und Farbe is precisely the Kunstwollen. but our expect. or. that makes his as scientific: "There remains the Kunstwollen approach the only secure datum. it as the only exists specific It should be remarked color and has left out plane and space. was as the Kunstwollen is strictly a formal principle: it only exists as justified insofar "color and outline. For instance. because we are not deal space but with fictional or imaginary space (since Riegl uses the com in Das hollandische formula for painting For Riegl. however. and put forth perhaps not without irony. Riegl. In his book on Dutch group complex system of relations?but imaginary extends the domain of specifically artistic analysis to the psychological portraits. This kind of be that Riegl experienced criticism."14 conviction and the German idealist tradition by Riegl reconciles his empirical as data not. This bizarre and apparently willful global comprehension act may seem to be a intellectual however. Gruppenportr?t. that the art historian will not be able correctly to assess the subject of a particular work of art and the way this subject is conceived until he has understood in what way the will [Wollen] that has given the impulse to such a theme is identical with the will that has formed the corresponding figure in outline and color this way and no other. and between the figures and the spectator. and in all formal criticism that followed. But the exact distribution between the two. as one would the results of sensual perception. we must take note of a shift. its content. It a rich visual structure?a broadens this kind of criticism by including the analysis of an structure. It is clear. giving domain Umriss the latter "will" orWollen form nach Umriss of the visual." Space. on the plane or in space. This is treated as a formal element.16 Clearly. a definition of form beyond its opposition to content. Riegl relations among the figures. Is this simply an economy of words? Itmay also the difficulty that affects all formalist criticism. plete passim).

we are dealing religion. If we take into consideration not only science?we between the arts. The Kunstwollen. how individual collective . This unexpected conception of data empiricism. while it is only through ficial intellectual effort. strengthened by the influence of Konrad Fiedler. it nec only be coincides with the other domains of culture. Basically his thought isHegelian. becomes The of the Kunstwollen the nature of concept determines peculiar ambivalence formalism. tury one can understand Insofar as all this is part of the Kunstwollen. the shading of which suggests volume. At this point.and seventeenth-cen quality of attentiveness (Aufmerksamkeit) Dutch art is expressed. a relation with come in this domain unity. history. But to reduce the term to the a suggested by the individual work of equivalent of a science of art to ruin the as is decidedly meaning hope for history such Riegl had If the Kunstwollen is a meaning which is the result of an interpretation. These man in the history is the history of the spirit (Weltgeist)?of art can as one world?the progressive realization of the Idea.17 Insofar as art is a development and independent activity. it His to accept it as a datum. rather than restrict them perception of color and line to do. man is nature a maker of art as he is nature a primary activity. of the glance. as well. is how the essential for sixteenth. this. in order more exactly to understand the role of the Riegl's in Riegl's Kunstwollen thought and what Iwould call his relative formalism. how Panofsky as an immanent artistic could have understood the Kunstwollen Indeed. aspect can one manifestation among others of the spirit and. whose post-Kantian critical philosophy makes art an instrument of knowledge independent. and the whole thing resembling the appearance as the foundation of an a of a lemon. in Riegl's is probably gives thought. conception extraordinary action in his analysis of art. global. entertained. and non-conceptualized through the of visual perception of perception. The data of art are what and their relation to the spectator?to history we can see. see a table or a lemon in a an arti picture. by speaker. and in particular. This is justified insofar as we do. Should we. the of art is an autonomous domain of science specific study and its aim is precisely to bring out the of art and the organic principles of its specificity are the bases of true formalism. The history of only exist of this history?outside which there is nothing. according to Riegl. therefore. in general. treats the of the depicted characters study psychology us?as vectors. significance. to "formalize" impossible Riegl's strategy is meaning. that is only apparently allows Riegl an freedom of naive. ilization?state. adds our others have attempted of volume and space evoked in the perception work of art and. shall but any of the other to the conclusion unity and domains of human civ large that. and to our as Riegl.ALOIS RIEGL 183 creates an indirect link between himself and the mediary of the spectator who depicted characters whose glances are turned toward him. that we can see it as a yellow patch. essarily On the other hand. his interpretation has been very fruitful and has brought out something hinted by Riegl and neglected by his Hegelian followers: the whole complex of cultural connotations art. we must turn to his Art is a implicit philosophical positions. This by art an autonomy which. more specifically. after a process of decoding. all aspects of representation as well. for example. indeed.

The first concerns the relative autonomy of the vari ous cultural domains insofar as are specific activities (we have already noted how they to art). The ideas of Riegl on cultural unity are effective only when we deal structures changing at long range. The in the various fields cannot be compared directly. probably accept it In reality. What read two things in this reservation. is very different from W?lfflin's. but. nevertheless. Wollen as and the various of branches At of culture the same have at least from some point of view. a "state civilization. necessarily to that of the Kunstwollen identical seems to present this exact historical of the various parallelism Although Riegl domains of culture as being the result of observation and deduction. one must "relation between individual unity and collective unity. unit." structures at a level sufficiently "deep" to eliminate particular cultural investigate expressions. the emergence Riegl examines in the entire expanse of the Roman empire. length of time that. he examines the Dutch Kunstwollen and he carefully describes the progressive realization of this Kunst enteenth centuries." Are we to understand en hour all cultural manifestations have reached the same point in their evolution? arts like a well-disciplined This army and obeying superior marching image of the as an one must orders may seem strikingly absurd.18 various domains completely analysis. HENRI ZERNER [Wollen] that particular people at a given time has fol turn out in the that this same people tendency at is. The other aspect of Riegl's reservation has to do with the way we should under that on a given day at a giv stand the phrase "at a given time. Riegl envisages an analysis as the that would reach one or several very general and fundamental principles such In other words. consideration. the therefore. Riegl's formalism. It is hard to say to what extent Riegl chosen for consideration meant a "nation" the word Volk. In the study of the of a new Kunstwollen of the sixteenth and sev group portraits. the significant social unit for by to a whole race. a certain to be compared within can be considered as a synchronie the size and type of human group can vary extensively. investigation For the latter. The parallelism such a time unit.184 ever. the different abstract assumption.19 proposition one. I believe. himself felt obliged to qualify it immediately with the phrase uncomfortable Riegl im letzten Grunde does this mean? We must. ("in the last analysis"). although meticulous structures to reach the has necessarily through the deeper and analysis of these epiphenomena. a far-reaching and an article of faith or a postulate. can vary from a small group or a city study limits must obviously be chosen in relation to the social segment under The time a transitional In Kunstindustrie. and completely distinct "double root of art" implies a truly autonomous development the historian . not surprisingly. period. while the limits of that unit will group. wollen. has to be investigated within in the parallel disciplines have to be adjusted according to the results obtained (the Dutch social sciences). the basic intentional unity of a social of cultural domains." time. the it will of civilization. however. at the level of what Fernand with basic mental Braudel has called la longue dur?e. in any case. follow the direction of the will lowed in the same in these last time. this applies phenomena but only at the end of an analytical and interpretive process. one can see in it an It is. and not at the level of rapid surface movements. this instant has no existence.

it will exactly genres to reveal decipher is not history in it the Kunstwollen to seek in the work produced of art what it and corre shaped it that has are the most immediately be realized that group portraits character of the Dutch Kunstwollen. interesting mostly theory. the very disparity between the original popularity and importance of a the group portraits and the little appeal they have for us today makes them privileged for historical investigation: a sound and object strongly expressed consequence of histor icism. that but the to Guild. Faced with practical problems. At the end of his life. his implied sometimes outspoken admiration for particular works of art such as Rembrandt's In most Cloth-Drapers1 tion. the respect for in the end.ALOIS RIEGL 185 art from other organic laws ruling the history of style. total rejection of normative judgments Riegl's radical historicism?his to aesthetics and of any fixed standard of artistic accomplishment?seems preclude any at all. religious. With Riegl. The initial formalist conviction ensures the rigorous internal analysis of the work of art.21 likely of all the essential In other words. of the most crucial problems raised by Riegl's work is that surrounding the as many have come to feel of value. and yet such One are inevitable. practice graphic. the separation of tactic. too and disturbs a system that would otherwise run the risk of functioning smoothly of observed data. There are was a more signs that he groping for systematic solu his thoughts on the subject were Gruppenportr?t by task of art as it is. The practice of art criticism in Sp?tr?mische Kunstindustrie holl?ndische Gruppenportr?t has theoretical and methodological and even more inDas that are implications more abstract statements. and. It is a particularly pressing problem concept today. it would be impossible to explain any features as due to lack of skill. and makes it possible to avoid the pitfall of explaining the work by imposing an exterior interpretation?whether bio or other. This explains why a purely theoretical essay like Natur regardless werk und Kunstwerk is not entirely satisfactory. but not one that clears much ground. notion of artistic form and shows us a way to escape from the dangers of a reductionist criticism. we would really have no right to talk about artistic failures. It ensures the proper human activities appears essentially as a methodological art as a special domain of under interrogation of the specific works. that the art historian's function is not to pass judgment on a work of art. the unequal attention he gave to different or choice examples. The practice inflects the enriches it. we would have only value judgment successful works of art?which seems contrary to common sense. but even inDas holl?ndische no means out. Riegl's theory of history is in relation to his method. As Pacht has put it: "If we accept the deterministic assumptions without qualification. the contribution of art history to the social sciences as a par standing. fully worked Insofar sponds as one to modern considers taste. The breaks open too narrow a socioeconomic. art ticular branch of a more general Geisteswissenschaft. Riegl was put in charge of organizing a government commis sion for the preservation and restoration of monuments. ."20 of his works Riegl dealt with the problem in a pragmatic way through his of subject. not covered most Riegl is by Riegl's interesting today largely because of this interplay between practice and theory.

Why things would nuances seem rather clear-cut. of the object are valued and autonomy where the completeness values. risches Wert). to respect the mark of time to their original condition? Or ought one. The nuances he are not permanent distinguishes categories but historical a pattern which to stages in a clearly correspond history of values. Looking more closely. as in the rest of not is Riegl's thought. later. present-day almost to the exclusion of everything else. This value is a historical value. the distinction between what is artistic and what is only provi sional and restricted to certain levels of analysis. from the controversy excited of itsTitians. One to restore medieval churches to recall here the many nineteenth-century attempts may sarcastic remark in front of the their supposed pristine state."22 of Monuments. by the London National Gallery's cleaning on "The Modern a on the subject are Cult Riegl's thoughts presented in long paper a whole range of He distinguishes Its Nature and Development. but for Riegl its full consequences were to be found only in the . The two aspects of record. consequently it has value In actuality. art historical value (kunsthistorisches Wert). the situation is more complicated. has two aspects or values: On hand. et pr?t and ready for use"). ue as commemoration or remembrance historical value (histo (Erinnerungswert). In Riegl's view. which considers the object specifically as an irreplaceable of art. however. on the other as art. as well as Louis Dimier's C'est flambant its restoration by Viollet-le-Duc: fortress after Carcassonne neuf. present-day value (Gegen value (Alterswert). and the alterations that they have suffered at the hands of passing generations ?These questions are always relevant as we can see. which. value of newness (Neuheitswert). Values Riegl envisages the problem Characteristically. antique use value (Gebrauchswert). historical appreciation develops only was still concerned with a reconstruction of the positivist history nineteenth-century as present. do we need all this? At first glance. is the taste For Riegl. the one hand.186 he HENRI ZERNER more in our interest in the thought closely about the different factors involved remains of the past and in the way we handle them. never disappears. end by being very closely related. functional or wartswert). val in value: value as monument (Denkmalswert). Riegl recognizes that there is always an aesthetic side to our historical interest. This history follows relates to Riegl's more general views. Any monument. the object being considered as a development but as a record of art. It has The last historical acquisition had a long development. artistic value (Kunstwert). Itmoves from to the subjective. which were originally so sharply set apart. the on the taste of the (and of the individual observer)?is latter?entirely dependent day subjective and variable. The former?historical?value is objective and stable. the object. More it moves from an insistence on the objective specifically. ? servir ("It is spick-and-span-new is the Alterswert. Should one simply make the our own taste? Should one try and restore them as attractive as monuments possible for on the contrary. for the new and shiny. occurrences. but there is an art histori link in the cal value as well. with the evocation of historical stages in their original past perfection. any man-made object. the value of the old as such. for instance. to an increasing sense of historical distance. its aesthetic value comes to the fore. however. in a historical perspective. and. although he does not spell this out. it is a record and it has historical significance. the primitive aesthetic urge.

"Art Histo general presentation Riegl's by rians and Art Critics. appearance according to the moment * cannot be written once and for all : it is a continuous process. from the moment of its creation. References 'A can be found in the volume of the works of A. therefore. French version of this paper appeared in the September. It introduces a sense of distance. The historian must. pp. issue ofCritique. Kaiserhauses. comprising only but also the different ways the work has been received bility (today's Kunstwollen). but also the history of values. It is true that the twentieth cen "palpable" reality tury has indeed placed great value on the sense of historical distance and that in the practical domain. reprinted (Vienna. 124-38. 3Meyer 4AdolfHildebrand. Painting Sculpture G. which was the immediate subject of Riegl's reflection. 1975. deliberate even strive to overcome his taste. 2nd ed. der kunsthisto Gruppenportr?t. Das holl?ndische as an article in Jahrbuch 1964) . (Vienna. is implicit. It is not his own reaction grounded in his modern artistic sensi complex. pp. by (Chicago. The history of art becomes not merely the history of artistic production. but which and the individual. 2W. There ideas Otto Pacht. Anthropology Today. dispels some of the apparent paradox between history and criticism. 1923)." of Form attacked Modern in Western Art (New York. 1971). This forms an aggregate which has both historical a relative also constantly grows and alters its significance and stability. Kroeber ed. appreciation Benjamin has since described as the aura. pp. originally published rischen des allerh?chsten then as a separate volume 1902. This. The history of art. by Crafts in of Our Teutonic Forefathers . This value is not. VI: Alois 1963. Perspectives History taken out of Das holl?ndische passage Gruppenportr?t. prefer to keep the Today. of the accretion of time that surrounds the work of art. Riegl's analytical and historical exploded the notion of value into investigations makes the problem much easier to deal with and fragments. but he has to make himself aware of the value on impose placed the work of art as part of his data. English trans. therefore. principal Stilfragen Kunstindustrie (Berlin. however. 1893. (Augsburg-Vienna. Aufs?tze pp. 1893). 1907). of the past with all the marks of the time have lived through rather than they a we no impoverish them in favor of rejuvenation longer believe in. Kleinbauer. but when he makes them he is no more free of his aesthetic preferences than the artist who made the art. a simple given fact. however." Burlington Magazine. It corresponds. May.ALOIS RIEGL 187 twentieth century. however. are The works 1929). Eugene This is an important Schapiro.. The Problem 5This thesis was and (New York. L. "Style. Baldwin in The Arts and Brown. A. Riegl of his collected bibliography essays entitled Gesammelte xxxv-xxxix. The art historian is not the man who can be called to account for the value judgments he pronounces. still does not directly deal with the question of what makes one work of art Riegl better than another. 1927. He needs neither to suppress ly and self-consciously nor to his judgment. making us conscious of our own somewhat remote rela tion to it. in Riegl's system exactly to the most advanced of art where the subject's way of "optical" stages seeing ismade increasingly important at the expense of the of the object. 1953). Das Problem des Form in der bildenden Kunst (Strasbourg. He certainly makes such judgments. 2nd ed. curiously. It is the taste for the alterations that nature and time have inflicted on the an of what Walter perfection of the man-made object. *A shorter. Riegl. 188-93. Sammlungen is an admirable of 1931).. the notion of conservation works we often has largely replaced that of restoration. 71-278. Sp?tr?mische in 1901. His answer..

Meyer Schapiro has called my attention to this early in Rom Riegl's isolated reaction to 6His notes were 7Hans in Gesammelte pp. Aufs?tze. Otto out that does not use Pacht has (art. can be established art and this unity. human perfection p." of Art Works of Judging artistic value as a strictly on an effort to reconcile his On ance with Angeles. uSee. Although to art. Riegl knew l6Gesammelte 17There would Aufs?tze. 1946). Aufs?tze. p. 1903). technique" zu einer in Kleine der Architektur. The to been has relation the Kunstwollen between and Schopenhauer's pointed terminology already Herbartian formalism since he had studied with Fiedler deserves independently special study. Riegl " am 'Fin de si?cle. wissenschaft. Furthermore. Hildebrand. p. l4Gesammelte p." reprinted 13"Prolegomena Psychologie was first in 1886. 9I shall the German word 10Erwin Panofsky. Aufs?tze. Sedlmayr's und Kunstwerk. has not yet been produced by anybody. 20Art." p. pp. reservation." p. matter. but what is I should not like to answer this question without with scientific evidence. Denkmalkultus. "Der Begriff des Kunstwollens" in Zeitschrift fur Aesthetik und allgemeine Kunst inDie published posthumously Entstehung "Die Quintessenz der Lehren Sedlmayr. has been Riegl's conceived. a point to which present-day On the origins toricism with Fiedler's theory. keep throughout or 'intention' 'Artistic will' is not exact. in particular. Gesammelte Aufs?tze. Gruppenportr?t 22"Der moderne 144-93. 63. for instance between iswhether The only question religion. although the unconscious of our whole historical hypothesis Aufs?tze. 63. art in Fiedler's much more that he was not interested it is hard to believe sophisticated historicism in regard to the essence of art. "In to the Gesammelte however.) Riegl pointed as one would In a recent article "Alois und die Entstehung der autonomen Kunstwille rather expect. this paper because there is no satisfactory translation. out.' out the vitalist connotations of Willibald Sauerl?nder has brought Kunstgeschichte the term. however. to say about who was not a philosophical phi Riegl's bricolage. the nature of the work of art.p. He considers Riegl's philosophy of art conception based surely partly the most recent contribu and connections of Riegl's thought." 12"Naturwerk he does not hide his introduction in Gesammelte Aufs?tze. de si?cle aestheticism. I shall return later. proof 193. Aufs?tze. to express is und Farbe 15"Umrisse in Ebene oder Raum" favorite formula the "visual" Riegl's of art. Riegl's that theory is antihistorical may have theory. This dissertation published 60. fight against purpose. 45. 21 Das holl?ndische (1902). today sure is that the Gesammelte 49. at. "I am writes: Riegl In my convinced that it is even this assumed opinion. a nude woman. be much Zimmermann. Sauerl?nder it to Maurice Denis's "Remember that a picture?before has compared it is autonomy a flat surface covered with or other?is a battle horse. Kunstindustrie. (Berkeley value." 8"Zur kunsthistorischen der Becher von Vafio. of view. questioned by pedants. In Sp?trumische to this mechanistic of point opposition conception a one in the the first time. Riegls. 1910). 9). originally sein Wesen in 1903. XIV (1920). Schriften (Basel. 24.?t. and discusses the connection with^w to be a models of universal and of vitalism philosophical synthesis is history.. p. losopher. und seine Entstehung.1 88 HENRI ZERNER (London Riegl and Edinburgh. teleological I have?for I where in the work perceived Stilfragen comes in a and which through (p. 64. I believe?proposed teleological of art the result of a definite Kunstwollen conscious of its ends. thinking. 73. he names and whose ideas he author whom It is is the theoretical openly discusses. in accord as "It is well known what many roles have been assigned different fed on such formulas But the different and Los ways in which 1949). tion is Sauer l?nder 's article cited above. published . Aufs?tze. l*Gesammelte 19Elsewhere often p. only strictly sources." reprinted in Gesammelte it is unity exists absolutely. 71-90. or some colors story essentially assembled in a certain order." Stellung der Barockkunst introduction to (Vienna. The relation from various that he has read a great deal and retained fragments obvious. in England.