Richard Hamann (art historian)

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The art historian in his 59th year.

Heinrich Richard Hamann (born May 29, 1879 in Seehausen (Börde) , † January 9, 1961 in Immenstadt , Allgäu ) was a German art historian and founder of the Photo Archive Photo Marburg .


The son of a country mailman, later a postman, received a scholarship due to his outstanding academic achievements and attended the pedagogy for the monastery of Our Lady in Magdeburg. There he made friends with Georg Kaiser and Wilhelm Waetzoldt . In 1898 he graduated as a Primus Omnium . With the help of another scholarship, he then studied philosophy , German studies and art history in Berlin , where he in 1902 when Wilhelm Dilthey Dr. phil. received his doctorate . Suffering from a serious illness and financially impoverished, he managed to get by as a private tutor until he received a small research grant in 1905. In 1911 he completed his habilitation with Heinrich Wölfflin and the first professorship for art history at the Royal Academy in Posen . In 1913 he accepted an appointment as full professor of art history at the University of Marburg , where he worked until his retirement in 1949. From 1947 to 1957 he was visiting professor for art history at the Humboldt University in Berlin .

In 1924 his groundbreaking work on German sculpture in the Middle Ages was published in the Marburg Yearbook for Art History ; in it he brought for the first time in the chronicles of Thietmar of Merseburg Cross from the time of the Cologne archbishop described Gero with the Cologne Cathedral located Cross - today as Gero known - in context.

Hamann gave decisive suggestions for the concept of the “anniversary building”, which was completed in 1927 on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the university as a building for the arts and cultural studies along with their associated collections; the four-wing complex has been named Ernst-von-Hülsen-Haus after the curator at the time . Hamann also founded the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg , the photographic department of the art history seminar, for which he constantly collected images. His numerous scientific publications also include the two-volume standard work History of Art , which appeared in many editions (1933–1959).

In 1949 Hamann was elected a full member of the GDR Academy of Sciences . He was also awarded the GDR National Prize. In 1954 he founded the work center for art history at the academy, which began with fundamental and long-term research in the area of ​​the GDR. After Hamann's death, Edgar Lehmann took over the management of the research center, which had to stop working in 1971.

A conference took place in Marburg in 2008 on Hamann's - at least from his own point of view - unifying work as a "border crosser" between West and East, the contributions of which are reproduced in the anthology listed here under "Literature" after a detailed foreword by the editor.

Hermann Deckert was one of Hamann's students . Hamann's son Richard also became an art historian, but in 1939 he renamed himself Hamann-Mac Lean after his mother's maiden name (to avoid confusion with his father in scientific publications) . Jost Hermand , who teaches German in the USA, was also a long-time employee and student of Hamann.

In Hamann's memory, the University of Marburg awards the Richard Hamann Prize named after him . On the occasion of the 26.-29. March 2009 in Marburg, the German Art History Conference , it was awarded for the first time for outstanding academic achievements. The first prize winner was the Berlin scientist Horst Bredekamp .

Fonts (selection)

  • The symbol . Doctoral dissertation at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin. W. Hecker, Graefenhainichen 1902.
  • A tour of the exhibition of the century, 1775–1875 . Reimer, Berlin 1906.
  • The early renaissance of Italian painting . E. Diederichs, Jena 1909.
  • with Felix Rosenfeld : The Magdeburg Cathedral. Contributions to the history and aesthetics of medieval architecture, ornamentation and sculpture . G. Grote, Berlin 1910.
  • Aesthetics . BG Teubner, Leipzig 1911. (2nd edition 1919).
  • Rembrandt's etchings . Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1914.
  • War, art and the present. Essays. Elwert, Marburg 1917.
  • German painting from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century . BG Teubner, Leipzig 1925.
  • with Hans Weigert: The Strasbourg Cathedral and its sculptures . German art publisher, Berlin 1928.
  • History of art from early Christian times to the present. Published by Th. Knaur Nachf., Berlin 1933.
  • History of art from early Christian times to the present . Knaur, Berlin 1935 [ed. 1934].
  • The Elisabeth Church in Marburg . A. Hopfer, Burg near Magdeburg 1938.
  • Egyptian art. Essence and history . Knaur, Berlin 1944.
  • Rembrandt . Eduard cue note, Potsdam 1948.
  • Greek art, essence and history . Droemer, Munich 1949.
  • Animal sculpture through the ages . Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1949.
  • The Abbey Church of St. Gilles and its artistic successor. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1955f.
  • History of art . Volume 1: From Prehistory to Late Antiquity . Volume 2: From early Christian times to the present . Droemer, Munich (and Akademie-Verlag, Berlin) 1959.
  • with Jost Hermand : German art and culture from the early days to expressionism. 5 volumes ( Wilhelminian style , naturalism , impressionism , stylistic art around 1900 , expressionism ), Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1959ff.
    • also in Nymphenburg, Munich 1971ff. With a changed title: Epochs of German Culture from 1870 to the Present.
    • also at Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 1977ff. With a changed title: Epochs of German Culture from 1870 to the Present.
  • Fine arts theory . Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1980.

Publications in journals (selection)

  • National Socialism and Fine Arts. In: Fine arts. Magazine for painting, graphics, sculpture and architecture. Berlin. 3rd year, issue 1/1949, pp. 25/26


  • Frieda Dettweiler:  Hamann, Richard. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1966, ISBN 3-428-00188-5 , p. 578 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Ruth Heftrig, Bernd Reifenberg (Hrsg.): Science between East and West. The art historian Richard Hamann as a border crosser . (= Writings of the University Library of Marburg. No. 134). Jonas, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89445-427-2 .
  • Ruth Heftrig: Fanatics of Objectivity: Richard Hamann and the Reception of Modernism in German University Art History 1930–1960. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014.
  • Jost Hermand: The art historian Richard Hamann. A political biography . Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-412-20398-6 .
  • Hans Kauffmann : Obituary for Richard Hamann. In: Kunstgeschichtliche Gesellschaft zu Berlin: Meeting reports, October 1960 to May 1961. Berlin 1961, pp. 9–11.
  • Edgar Lehmann (Ed.): Richard Hamann in memoriam. With two posthumous essays and a bibliography. Academy, Berlin 1963.
  • Angela Matyssek: Art History as a Photographic Practice. Richard Hamann and Photo Marburg. Gebr. Mann, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-7861-2584-6 .
  • Anke Scharnhorst: Hamann, Richard. In: Who was who in the GDR? Volume 1, Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Reiner Zeeb: An idea of ​​Gothic society. Richard Hamann's legacy. In: Reiner Zeeb: Art Revolution and Form. Essays. Ludwig, Kiel 2017, pp. 7–35.

Web links

Commons : Richard Hamann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jost Hermand: Role Models - Partisan Professors in Divided Germany. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-412-22365-6 , p. 33.
  2. ^ PC Claussen: Obituary for R. Hamann-Mac Lean In: Journal for Art History. 3/2000, p. 443.
  3. Philipps University awards the Richard Hamann Prize for the first time
  4. Humboldt University : Art historian Horst Bredekamp receives Richard Hamann Prize ( Memento of the original from March 28, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /