Alexandra Herlitz

Senior Lecturer

Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
405 30 Göteborg

About Alexandra Herlitz

Dr. phil. Alexandra Herlitz (née Reiff) is a senior lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at the Department of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. Herlitz has been active as a museum educator at the Gothenburg Museum of Art since 2006.

She studied Art History, German Studies and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Stuttgart, the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf, the University of Hamburg and the University of Gothenburg. Herlitz received her doctoral degree in 2013 with her dissertation Grez-sur-Loing revisited. The international artists' colony in a different light.

Fields of interest

  • critical historiography (mainly the art history writing of the 19th century in Scandinavia)
  • Scandinavian art and art history of the 17th to 19th century
  • sociology of art
  • artists' colonies and other international artists groups
  • art and national identity
  • art historical relations between the Scandinavian countries and Germany
  • museum education

Current research

Networking patrons. A digital mapping of patronage, social networks, and the establishment of a competitive art scene in Gothenburg in the late 19th century through the Fürstenberg letter collection

This project aims to map out the different activities and networks of the Gothenburg patrons Pontus (1827–1902) and Göthilda Fürstenberg (1837–1901), that were involved in the promotion of a competitive art scene in the expansive city of Gothenburg in the newly industrialized Sweden.

During an intense period of about twenty years, 1880–1902, the couple held significant positions in the municipality and was active in various fields of patronage. Their most famous legacy is the art gallery that is classed to be one of the most important collections of Scandinavian art in the world. However, it is not the only heritage the couple left to posterity. The effects of their activities are also manifest in less concrete phenomenons as the establishment of cultural institutions, donations to the city and museums, commissions to modern artists, as well as city planning. Social structures and networks will be made visible to understand the processes behind the accumulation of cultural capital that was suitable for the wealthy industrial city of Gothenburg.

This project will provide us with knowledge about the establishment of an art scene in Gothenburg that was based on the ambitions of local industrialists, and succeeded to challenge the traditional art scene and institutions with its rigid hierarchies in Stockholm.