Hermann’s main work as an art critic, which significantly influenced the content and style of his fiction, falls in the period from 1899 to 1908, the height of the Berlin Secession movement. Like the Secession artists, Hermann regards a personal style and individual expression as the main criteria for the evaluation of art. Like other critics close to the Secession movement, he considers the preintellectual, sensual reception of a work of art as central. – Reflecting 19th century aesthetics, he still considers art to a certain extent as the expression of a nation’s spirit. However, the difficulties he encounters with the reception of foreign, notably romanesque, art are experienced as an educational (and selfeducational) challenge and, unlike many of his contemporaries, do not lead him to reject foreign art. – One of Hermann’s main concerns is to fight the separation between art and life. Art, as he sees it, is supposed to distil the image of our environment to its essential core and to educate our perception of this environment.\ud In this way, art can help the observer to gain a new world view, in the literal as well as the metaphorical sense. – Hermann is not a revolutionary champion of the avant-garde, but he does represent the progressive element of the ›Zeitgeist‹, and gives voice to the attitudes of the liberal, cosmopolitan middle class
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