Doctoral Project
Methods of Aesthetic Education in Swiss Modernism

Doctoral Project
Henryetta Duerschlag
Prof.Dr. Philip Ursprung
2018 -

As influential members of the Swiss Werkbund, art critic and curator Georg Schmidt, art historian and photographer Hans Finsler, as well as artist and designer Max Bill actively contributed to the Werkbund’s discourse in Swiss modernism. While the association’s stance towards aesthetic matters was constantly debated and articulated in words, successful formats of its mediation operated aesthetically: Schmidt used the medium of slide projection in his art history classes, Finsler trained his students’ photographic vision via practical assignments and Bill explained his theory of good design visually through an exhibition.

According to the project’s starting hypothesis, the knowledge of quality in artistic and design practices can only be adequately generated and transferred through aisthesis – the perceptive faculty. Against this background, this dissertation project examines methods and effects of aesthetic education practices in Swiss Modernism through three case studies – namely Georg Schmidt’s slide lectures (1930s – 1960s), Hans Finslers photography class (1932-1957) and Max Bill’s exhibition “Die gute Form” (1949).

This dissertation project is part of the SNSF-Sinergia project “Practices of Aesthetic Thinking” and based at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW.