Obituary for Aby Warburg in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, October 28, 1929

Source Description

This source is an obituary first published by the art historian Erwin Panofsky in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt on 28.10.1929 following his elder colleague Aby Warburg’s death on 26.10.1929. However, it is more than the record of an art historian’s life. Born in Hannover in 1892, and educated in Berlin, Freiburg, and Munich, Panofsky was hired by the University of Hamburg in 1920, and he quickly climbed the ranks to become an Ordinarius professor in 1928 and a leading figure of the still nascent field of art history. Panofsky and Warburg were engaged, like many art historians of their day, in identifying whether art was an expression of its time period, a national characteristic, or artistic genius. Panofsky’s obituary reveals the intellectual partnership between the two and the wider urban community of scholars that congregated around the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (KBW) in Hamburg during the 1920s. Though the Hamburger Fremdenblatt was a daily newspaper with a wide audience, the intimate and detailed nature of the obituary was—like much of the activity of the KBW—presented with an insider audience in the mind. As a celebration of this partnership, Panofsky’s obituary of Warburg offers a window into this distinct Hamburgian sub-culture of Weimar-era intellectual life in which German-Jewish scholars were able to play such an active role.
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Recommended Citation

Obituary for Aby Warburg in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, October 28, 1929 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <> [July 22, 2024].