Lübke, Wilhelm

Full Name: 
Lübke, Wilhelm
Date Born: 
1826
Date Died: 
1893
Place Born: 
Dortmund, Germany
Place Died: 
Karlsruhe, Germany
Home Country: 
Germany
Overview: 

Founder of the popular art history survey of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Grundriss der Kunstgeschichte. In 1871, Lübke was among the team of art historians (the others including Moriz Thausing, Carl von Lützlow, Adolf Bayersdorfer, Friedrich Lippmann, Alfred Wolters, Bruno Meyer, Karl Woermann, G. Malsz and Wilhelm Bode) who convened in Dresden to determine which of two versions of Hans Holbein the younger's Meyer Madonna was the autograph work. The so-called "Holbein convention," one of the important events in nineteenth-century art history when many methodical approaches were employed to determined authenticity, concluded that the Darmstadt version was the original. In the mid 1880s, Lübke and Lützlow took over publication of the Denkmäler der Kunst, begun by August von Voit, as an atlas to Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte of Franz Kugler. At Lübke's death in 1893 the series was taken over by Max Semrau. Lübke's Handbuch became the standard view of art among the German public much the same (and for much the same reason) that Horst Woldemar Janson and his History of Art was in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Lübke's declaration that "Jews, having no artistic sensibility of their own, [and had] borrowed architectural forms on an eclectic principle from the nations dwelling around them," lent a historical validity to anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as parasites (Olin).

Selected Bibliography: 
Geschichte der italienischen Malerei: vom vierten bis ins sechzehnte Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Ebner & Seubert, 1878-79; and Kugler, Franz, and Burckhardt, Jacob. Geschichte der Baukunst. 5 vols. Stuttgart: Ebner & Seubert, 1859-72; Geschichte der deutschen Kunst von den frühesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart. Stuttgart; Ebner & Seubert, 1890; and Kugler, Franz, and Voit, August von.Denkmäler der Kunst, English, Monuments of Art: Showing its Development and Progress from the Earliest Artistic Attempts to the Present Period. New York: E. Seitz, [188-?].Denkmäler der Kunst, English, Monuments of Art: Showing its Development and Progress from the Earliest Artistic Attempts to the Present Period. New York: E. Seitz, [188-?].
Sources: 
Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 249-251; Kultermann, Udo. The History of Art History. New York: Abaris, 1993, p. 145; Olin, Margaret. "C[lement] Hardesh (Greenberg) and Company: Formal Criticism and Jewish Identity." in Kleeblatt, Norman L. ed. Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities. New York: The Jewish Musuem/New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, p. 42.