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Johanna Ey: a critical reappraisal

Hausmann, Michael (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study draws on and interprets an extensive corpus of archived materials, in particular from the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf, to offer the first wide-ranging critical analysis of the written and visual images of the life and legend of Weimar Germany’s most important ‘modern’ art dealers - Johanna Ey (1864 - 1947), commonly known as ‘Mutter Ey’. Once feted by the press as the most portrayed woman in Germany, she contributed greatly to the careers of artists such as Max Ernst, Otto Dix, Gert Wollheim, Otto Pankok and many others and was a vital figure in the ‘modern’ Düsseldorf art scene until she was evicted from her gallery by the Nazis in 1934. This study opens with a factual overview of Ey’s biography. Chapters are then devoted to an analysis of the development, reception and prevalence of aspects of her legend: the use of the ‘Mutter Ey’ image in the Weimar Period; an exploration of the notion of Ey’s modernity using the trope of the ‘Neue Frau’; an investigation into her attitude to politics in general and the Nazis in particular, in the first detailed reading of Ey’s 1936 memoirs and her correspondence from 1933-1947; and an analysis of the factors influencing the rise, fall and rise of her celebrity status and her memorialisation since her death.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Dodd, W. J., William J. and West, Shearer
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of German Studies
Subjects:DD Germany
N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:987
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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