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Abstract

This dissertation tells the story of the Berlin based art, literature, and applied art periodical Pan, whose twenty-one issues were published in three editions of increasing luxury between 1895 and 1900. The dissertation therefore provides an overview of the entirety of the periodical’s life, countering historiographic biases, which emphasized Pan’s experimental beginnings. By reconstructing the extended periodical, including advertisements, marketing brochures and off-prints, the dissertation shows how Pan’s own development is not a history of decline, as has been repeatedly asserted. Rather, the dissertation makes the case that Pan’s development very much mirrors and reflects a historical pivot from late nineteenth century symbolist aesthetics toward a modernist aesthetics, based on principles of rationality and seriality. The dissertation also uses Pan as an exemplary case study to offer a new perspective on the role of periodicals at a crucial moment for the relationship between art and design. By considering and analyzing Pan’s dual nature as conventional print medium as well as experimental applied art object, this dissertation offers new insights into the reciprocally constitutive relationship between objects and their images during the fin-de-siècle. After a first chapter provides an institutional history of the periodical, the second chapter turns to the role paper played in the conception, production and reception of the periodical, especially relating to questions of consumption, luxury and bourgeois decorum. The third chapter analyses in detail shifts in layout and typography over the periodical’s five-year run and proposes that Pan’s emphasis on the experience of the single page makes it a periodical despite itself. The last chapter first considers the significance of reproductions in Pan and then situates them in a larger economy of images, publications, objects, and interiors. This last section lays bare in some historical detail that in the age of the periodical both art and applied art are subject to the logic of reproducibility and seriality. Whether as objects or as entire rooms, modernity in art and applied art circulated, crucially, as image-objects in the form of tangible, sensuously active periodicals.

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