The Magazine Pan (1895–1900): Print Culture, Applied Arts and the Politics of the Senses

Max Koss

Pan-Prospekt, 1895. Foto: Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach



The project tells the story of the Berlin-based literature, art and design magazine Pan through the lens of the applied arts movement, thereby positioning it as a crucible of modern design. To this end, the project examines the material dimensions of periodical publishing at the fin-de-siècle – production, circulation and reception – as they manifest themselves in the case of a particularly luxurious publication such as Pan. A particular focus is on the multifaceted uses of paper in, but also around the magazine. Paper with its material and metaphorical qualities emerges in this project as a hitherto understud­ied, yet essential medium in the development of a modern sensorium. By describing the industrial, commercial and domestic networks to which paper belonged and between which it traveled, paper's role in upending traditional hierarchies of the senses will be restored. Max argues, with Pan as a crucial moment in the apprecia­tion, we might even say cult, of paper, that its technological development and ensuing artistic repositioning in the 1890s paved the way for an experiential paradigm which permeates both art and commerce in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.   


This project is part of the Research and Fellowship Program Connecting Art Histories in the Museum, a joint project between the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.


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