Decadent Art as Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Central Europe

Lecture with Naomi Hume, Associate Professor of Art History, Seattle University

Thursday, November 7, 2013
6:30 – 8:00 pm

Frye Auditorium

Naomi Hume, Associate Professor of Art History, Seattle University

Decadence suggests decay or deterioration from a previous state of vitality. Starting in the 1870s, critics called artistic aestheticism decadent, dismissing artists who merely pleased the senses rather than edifying the mind. But sensuality could be political in turn-of-the-century Central Europe. This talk will consider how painters in Munich, Vienna, and elsewhere challenged social mores with such decadent themes as sexuality, sickness, morbidity and madness, commonly thought of as signs of civilization’s decline.

This lecture is presented with the University of Washington’s Department of Germanics and the Simpson Center for the Humanities as part of Connections and Contexts, a series of lectures relating art, history, and culture to the Frye’s exhibitions.

About the Lecturer

Naomi Hume is Associate Professor of Art History at Seattle University. Her research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Central European art. She is particularly interested in how European artists borrowed and adapted French visual vocabularies to serve different purposes in new contexts. She has addressed Cubism and Expressionism in Prague and Symbolism and Impressionism in Germany. Dr. Hume's work has been published in international journals including Umeni/Art, Centropa and Slavic Review.


Free tickets may be picked up at the Information Desk one hour prior to the start of the program. There is no late seating, so please arrive early.

As a special benefit, Frye members may reserve free tickets in advance to guarantee seating. To reserve, call (206) 432-8289 or email at least two days prior to the event. Each member may reserve two tickets and must claim their tickets at the Information Desk fifteen minutes prior to the start of the program.