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Book launch of Studies on Aby Warburg, Fritz Saxl and Gertrud Bing by Dorothea McEwan (London: Routledge, 2023)

Dr Dorothea McEwan (Honorary Fellow, Warburg Institute). Chaired by Alessandro Scafi (Warburg Institute), and introduced by Steffen Haug (Bilderfahrzeueg Project).

The articles in this book arose from my research on Aby Warburg, Fritz Saxl and Gertrud Bing between 1997 and 2020. They were published originally in German, Italian and French in different journals and edited volumes, and have now been brought together in English for the first time. Most of you know me. For those who don’t, I worked as Warburg Institute Archivist from 1993 to 2010 and now continue my association with the Institute as an Honorary Fellow. 

Aby Warburg’s research and writings centred on images, their origins and metamorphoses, and their explanations and interpretations. The articles I have selected for this book include discussions of Warburg’s academic work with colleagues such as James Loeb, the American Hellenist and philanthropist, and founder of the Loeb Classical Library, and with Josef Strzygowski, the Polish-Austrian art historian of the Vienna School of Art History. I have also included articles on Warburg’s Serpent Ritual lecture of 1923; his politico-cultural initiative in 1914–1915; his work on caricature, in particular the Struwwelpeter topic; and discussions on the topic of Judaica.

The Viennese art historian Fritz Saxl became Warburg’s trusted friend and collaborator. In the 1920s, he helped Warburg gather together his large collection of books and photographs and to install them as the foundation of a new academic institution in Hamburg. Then, in the 1930s, he was instrumental in finding a new home for the books and photographs and found sponsors to move them to a new home in London. The Warburg Institute has become one of the world’s leading centres of intellectual history.

Gertrud Bing, a philosopher, was the librarian in the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg in Hamburg and moved with the staff from Hamburg to London in 1933. She actively helped European academics to find employment in the UK and was director of The Warburg Institute between 1955 and 1959. 

image: IDEA VINCIT. Linocut by Otto Heinrich Strohmeyer, commissioned by Aby Warburg in 1926. The William Hayes Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Gift of Paul J. Sachs. Photo Credit: Macintyre, Allan Image Copyright. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College.


A full text of Dr McEwan's paper with accompanying images will be available online after the event.

Attendees are very welcome to join us for tea in the Warburg Lecture Room before the event at 1.30pm.