Like no other in his field, the Leipzig-born art historian Thomas Gaehtgens fails with his publications and initiatives build bridges between Nations, especially between Germany and France. The forthcoming publication is part of Notre-Dame, which is not only the Cathedral and the Royal Church was, but a French national monument represents, such as Versailles, the residence of the French kings. Between the large picture book about Versailles and the extent of comparatively modest historical overview of Notre-Dame of about forty years of evidence, the Gaehtgens’ close connection to France. His Initiative is the result of the German Forum for art history in Paris, whose founding Director he was in 1997. Also when he took over in 2008, the Directorate of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, went to him in the power of art to transcend boundaries. As the last publication of his book "Reims on Fire – war and the Reconciliation between France and Germany", which appeared afterwards in French, and the German version (F. A. Z. appeared there from 19.September 2018). "The burning Cathedral – A history of the First world war" was to a publication that is the reconciliation between France and Germany.
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His big picture book, "Versailles" had Gaehtgens made once some of the quotes, from Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Anatole France. The crucial sentence comes from Auguste Thierry: "The historian must be first and foremost a painter." The features Gaehtgens’ passion for art history. It is not dry science, but a lively engagement with the art through the centuries, with the modern and contemporary.
In the ten years as Director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles Gaehtgens built on these experiences. Not least due to the superb location of the Institute on a hill as the Olympus of the Sciences, with a panoramic view of Los Angeles and the Pacific ocean, the view angle increased. The program was based on the encounters with other cultures, among others, in the immediate vicinity of the nearby pre-Columbian cultures of Central America and to the other Pacific side of the cultural Connections to Asia. "Connecting Seas" was one of these fascinating and programmatic exhibitions on the theme of "encounters" – a key word for an art historian Thomas Gaehtgens, who is now eighty years old.Updated Date: 25 June 2020, 21:19