Journal Article

Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Technology, Aesthetics and Ideology

Matthew Rampley

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 23, issue 3, pages 247-264
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epq021
Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Technology, Aesthetics and Ideology

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This article considers debates over the cultural, economic and political role of design in late nineteenth-century Habsburg Austria through a critical examination of responses to the Museum of Art and Industry in Vienna. It examines the goals of the Museum, set against the socio-political matrix of Habsburg Central Europe and analyses competing visions of design that challenged the cosmopolitan, historicist vision of its founder, Rudolf von Eitelberger. The article argues not only that these alternative visions of, for example, design as technology, or design as national expression, proved to be more persuasive than Eitelberger's own ideals, but also that his failure to establish a hegemony over the field stemmed from the polysemic nature of ‘design’, in which a variety of terms were mobilized, each with its own diverse array of connotations.

Keywords: design education; design policy; design reform movement; ethnography; museums; technology

Journal Article.  11423 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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