0075 Nikolaus Pevsner: Art History, Nation, and Exile

  • Iain Boyd Whyte (Author)
    Visual Arts Research Institute (VARIE), Edinburgh, UK

Identifiers (Article)


Shortly after losing his teaching position at Göttingen University in September 1933, Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) travelled to England as a refugee from National Socialist Germany. Thanks to his prodigious energy and ambition, his career flourished, and at the time of his death in 1983 he had become a national institution and the preeminent expert on British architecture. The emotional and scholarly transition from Adolf Hitler's Germany to 1930s England was by no means easy for Pevsner, however, and this article investigates Pevsner's continuing debt at this time to German art history (Kunstgeschichte) in general, and to his doctoral supervisor, Wilhelm Pinder, in particular. The discussion, set within the broader context of émigré studies, addresses the contrasting practice of art history in the two countries at that time and the essential differences between conservatism, nationalism, and fascism.


Nikolaus Pevsner, Wilhelm Pinder, Dagobert Frey, Modernist Architecture, Nationalism, Exile, Art Geography, Englishness