Paul Schultze-Naumburg: an intellectual biography
Day, Lara Elisabeth
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The subject of this dissertation is the work of the German writer, architect and Volkspädagoge Paul Schultze-Naumburg (1869-1949). His published work - 37 books, over 230 articles and countless lectures – ranging from art and architectural pedagogy, practice and criticism to cultural and racial theory, made him one of the most widely read German authors of the first half of the 20th century. Renowned during his lifetime, his racial and eugenic writing prompted his relegation in post-war German historiography, which ignored his impact and central position in the cultural and architectural landscape of German modernism. This dissertation examines Schultze-Naumburg as a specific cultural catalyst of radical nationalist and racist art and architectural history and theory, and traces his trajectory through Wilhelmine, Weimar and National Socialist Germany. Beyond the fine arts, Schultze-Naumburg helped formulate the conceptions of the anti-Semitic, pro Heimat and anti-urban, völkisch mind frame that would be transformed into the blood and soil rhetoric of the emerging National Socialist ideology. Schultze-Naumburg’s historical stature and socio-cultural prominence was recognized throughout his life, and history’s subsequent repression of his figure is based entirely on his ideas nefarious and fanatical potency and not on his erstwhile importance. Moving broadly chronologically, the first four chapters of the dissertation examine Schultze- Naumburg’s Wilhelmine work. After the introduction and literature review, Chapter II begins with an overview of his education and examines his landscape painting. Chapter III examines a sample of his prescriptive preservation writing composed for the Deutsche Bund Heimatschutz. The fourth examines his involvement in the Lebensreform movement and the Deutsche Werkbund, establishing his role in the Kunstgewerbe movement. Chapter V concentrates on the application of the Lebensreform ideal and Hermann Muthesius’ writing on Schultze-Naumburg’s design of the Cecilienhof (1913-1917) for the imperial Crown Prince. The sixth chapter traces the development of Schultze-Naumburg’s corporeal racial rhetoric from his Wilhelmine writing on women’s clothing reform to such radical polemics as Kunst und Rasse (1928), and its cumulation in National Socialist legislative policy, the Gesetz zur Verhütung des Erbkranken Nachwuchses (1933). Chapter VII considers the city of Weimar as the site of Schultze-Naumburg’s Volkspädagogik positing 1930 as turning point for both his career and the city itself.