Prof. Dr. Langfeld was appointed as a specialist in international modernism at the University of Amsterdam in 2011.
One of his main areas of interest is modern German art, in particular the interaction between art, politics, and society during specific periods, not least the years of National Socialism. His interest also extends to the history of art collecting and in the evolution of distinct canons within modern European art. His aim is to understand why the works of certain artists, art and art movements are included in the canon, and regarded as authoritative, whilst others are largely ignored.
Gregor Langfeld was born in Germany and has lived in Amsterdam since 1989. He was the managing editor at Castrum Peregrini, the publishing house originally founded by artists, writers, and intellectuals who fled Nazi Germany, and also acted as editor of the review Castrum Peregrini, which was devoted to art, literature, and cultural history. In addition, he studied art history and literary theory at the Free University Amsterdam; his MA thesis investigated the 'philosophico-aesthetic' principle of romantic irony in the literary and expressive work of the Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters.
Gregor Langfeld began extensive research into the reception of modern German art in the Netherlands, focusing predominantly on the manner in which it was initially collected. All the major Dutch modern art museums participated in the research, resulting in the publication of the book and corresponding exhibition Duitse Kunst in Nederland: Verzamelen, tentoonstellen, kritieken, 1919-1964 (Gemeentemuseum The Hague/Groningen Museum). His Ph.D. at Leiden University was primarily concerned with the procedures relating to canonisation in modern art. The subsequent dissertation was entitled Die Kanonisierung moderner deutscher Kunst in New York, 1904-1957, and it was later published in 2011 by Reimer Verlag (Deutsche Kunst in New York. Vermittler – Kunstsammler – Ausstellungsmacher, 1904–1957) and in 2015 in English by Amsterdam University Press (German Art in New York: The Canonization of Modern Art, 1904–1957). In 2015, Gregor edited the catalogue for the exhibition The Stedelijk Museum and the Second World War, resulting from his earlier research on the provenance of the museum's collection.
Berlin: Reimer Verlag, 2011. 240 pp.
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015. 232 pp.
Amsterdam: Bas Lubberhuizen/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2015.
Amsterdam: Bas Lubberhuizen/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2015.
The Hague: Gemeentemuseum, and Zwolle: WaandersUitgevers, 2004. 408 pp.
This book presents the turbulent history of the collections of modern German art in Dutch museums during three distinct periods: 1919-33, 1934-45, and 1946-64. In addition to the focus of the museums' collections and exhibition policies regarding German art, the book discusses the role of artists, gallery owners, private art collectors, patrons, and other promoters of modern art.
Association of Art Historians (London), Columbia University (New York), Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam, Emerson College, Freie Universität Berlin, Van Gogh Museum, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Galerie Beck & Eggeling (Düsseldorf), Genootschap Nederland Duitsland, Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), Goethe-Institut, Groninger Museum, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA), Koninklijke Schouwburg Den Haag, Leiden University, Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (television), Open University, Richard-Schöne-Gesellschaft für Museumsgeschichte (Berlin), Netherlands Institute for Art History (The Hague), University of Groningen, Spui25, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Universität Hamburg (Warburg-Haus), Utrecht University en Volksuniversiteit.
Why do some art works, artists and movements belong to the recognised canon, whilst others are marginalized? Does it relate to aesthetic autonomy or are aesthetic experiences the result of historical and social influences? Who plays the decisive role in the process of canon-formation? Participants in this seminar will attempt to answer these questions by carrying out a research into the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Common opinion notwithstanding, canons are not fixed for all eternity, but changeable and dynamic. In the field of art, there are specific closely-knit groups with strong preferences that influence the process of canon-formation, to which artists, private collectors, gallery owners, museums, critics, and art historians all belong. Empirical research can determine the influence each has had on the evaluation and valorization of modern art.
Theoretical lectures will supplement this research into the museum archives.
No other major European city reflects the vicissitudes of the twentieth century as much as Berlin. The Wilhemine Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the division of the city during the Cold War, and the reunification have all left an indelible mark. This is the city of the Wall, the Reichstag, Prussian palaces, Hitler's megalomaniacal projects, and exceptional experiments of modern architecture. Moreover, Berlin has unique museums that provide a wide-ranging overview of both non-western and western art from ancient times to the present day.
The excursion will uncover the vast cultural diversity of Berlin. It's a city with extraordinary scope and a willingness to incorporate new ideas and creativity, finding its expression in a variety of youth cultures and alternative life-styles. With the fall of the Wall, Berlin has become one of the world's most important centres for artists and the number of new galleries is continuously expanding. You will meet artists, gallery owners, staff members of museums, scholars, and other representatives of art and culture, as well as visit Potsdam and the Bauhaus in Dessau. However, for the most part, the programme will be set by the students themselves.
Prof. Dr. Langfeld supervises the complete spectrum of theses in the field of modern art.
Prof. Dr. Gregor Langfeld is currently working on several projects concerning looted art and restitution and canon-formation in modern art. Furthermore he is researching the art market during National Socialism and edits the correspondence between the artists George Grosz and Herbert Fiedler.
He coordinates the research groups Looted Art: Provenance Research and Restitution in the Netherlands (https://ahm.uva.nl/content/research-groups/looted-art-provenance-research-and-restitution-in-the-netherlands/looted-art-provenance-research-and-restitution-in-the-netherlands.html) and (Un)mapping Infrastructures: Transnational Perspectives on Modern Art, 1900-1970 (https://ahm.uva.nl/content/research-groups/unmapping-infrastructures/unmapping-infrastructures.html).