Lützeler, Heinrich

Full Name: 
Lützeler, Heinrich
Other Names: 
Heinrich Lützeler
Date Born: 
27 January 1902
Date Died: 
13 June 1988
Place Born: 
Bonn, Germany
Place Died: 
Bonn, Germany
Home Country: 
Germany
Gender: 
male
Overview: 

Art historiographer and theorist; refounder of art department at Bonn after World War II. Lützeler's father was a porcelain painter and later a day laborer. Attending university from such a modest background proved a challenge, but Lützeler nevertheless pursued university at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (Bonn) studying art history and Germanistik under Paul Hankamer (1891-1945), Oskar Walzel (1864-1944), Paul Clemen and Wilhelm Worringer. Beginning in 1919 he concentrated in philosophy at Cologne under the phenomenologist Max Scheler (1874-1928), whom Lützeler found as a spiritual friend and mentor. Lützeler planed to earn his doctorate in art history, but his thesis topic on art perception was considered too philosophical for art historians. His Ph.D. was granted in 1924 in philosophy, his dissertation supervised by the philosophy professor Adolf Dyroff (1866-1943). While writing his habilitation he worked as a theater critic and lecturer in Bonn. His Habilitationschrift, accepted in 1930 was Grundstile der Kunst (foundational styles of art). Lützeler's strong Roman Catholic convictions, however, put him at odds with the Nazis, who assumed power in Germany in 1933. His support of Jewish colleagues and opposition to Hitler resulted in the annulling of his habilitation in 1940, preventing him from teaching further. He was banned from lecturing or publishing in the whole of the Reich in 1942. Lützeler fearlessly lectured, mostly to Catholic associations in the Rheinland. After the fall of the Nazis in World War II, the occupying British forces re-established his academic rights in June 1945; he was appointed professor of art history and esthetics at Bonn in 1946, assuming direction of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Bonn. Lützeler helped found the Zeitschrift für ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft in 1947 which he edited with Joseph Gantner beginning in 1952. He also founded the Bonner Beiträge zur Kunstwissenschaft with Herbert von Einem in 1950. During the student unrest years of 1967-1968 Lützeler served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Bonn. He helped found the "Forschungsstelle für Orientalische Kunstgeschichte" (Research Center for Oriental Art History), and, after his retirement in 1970, acted as its director between 1974 and 1985. His wife, Marga, died in 1979. He died at age 86 and is buried at the Südfriedhof in Bonn.

Lützeler conceived of art experience in a tripartite of what he termed "experience", "perception" and "understanding." He employed the diverse methodologies of anthropology, psychology and philosophy to create a world art history. Contemporary methodological approaches like iconology or Geistesgeschichte were viewed with suspicion by him (Fork). His reputation, however, has been largely limited to the German-speaking world as Lützeler published no scholarly work in English.

Selected Bibliography: 
  • [complete bibliography] Kroll, Frank-Lothar, ed. Wege zur Kunst und zum Menschen: Festschrift für Heinrich Lützeler zum 85. Geburtstag. Bonn: Bouvier, 1987;
  • [dissertation:] Formen der Kunsterkenntnis. Bonn: F. Cohen, 1924;
  • [habilitation:] Grundstile der Kunst, Bonn, 1930;
  • Die christliche Kunst des Abendlandes. Bonn am Rhein: Verlag der Buchgemeinde, 1932;
  • [Herder mini-books on art subjects] Bräutliche Paare. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1952; Das Kind. Freiburg: Herder, 1953, English, Childhood. Herder Interbook, 1954;
  • Weltgeschichte der Kunst. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Lesering, 1959;
  • Die Eisenbahn in der Malerei. Bonn: Boldt, 1971;
  • Kunsterfahrung und Kunstwissenschaft: systematische und entwicklungsgeschichtliche Darstellung und Dokumentation des Umgangs mit der bildenden Kunst. Freiburg: K. Alber, 1975.
Sources: 
  • [obituaries:] Kross, Siegfried. In memoriam Heinrich Lützeler: Reden gehalten am 13. Januar 1989 bei der Gedenkfeier der Philosophischen Fakultät der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Bonn: Bouvier, 1989;
  • Kroll, Frank-Lothar. "Heinrich Lützeler (1902-1988)." Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 41, no. 4 (1989): 362-365;
  • Bandmann, Gunter, ed. Der Mensch und die Künste: Festschrift für Heinrich Lützeler zum 60. Geburtstage. Düsseldorf: Verlag L. Schwann, 1962 (biographical sketch);
  • Kroll, Frank-Lothar, ed. Wege zur Kunst und zum Menschen: Festschrift für Heinrich Lützeler zum 85. Geburtstag. Bonn: Bouvier, 1987 (biographical summary);
  • Fork, Christiane. "Heinrich Lützeler." Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2007, pp. 271-274;
  • Kroll, Frank-Lothar. Stadtmuseum Bonn [website] "Heinrich Lützeler." http://www2.bonn.de/stadtmuseum/inhalte/luetzeler.htm;
  • Kroll, Frank-Lothar. Intellektueller Widerstand im Dritten Reich: Heinrich Lützeler und der Nationalsozialismus. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2008;
Contributors: 
Lee Sorensen