Masters of Mobility


2. Gerson’s ‘Ausbreitung’ and its Significance for the Study of Netherlandish Art in an International Context

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Horst Gerson’s Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der Holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts1 and the simultaneous launch of an annotated and illustrated version of Gerson’s chapter on Germany2 called for reflection on the significance of this important book. This brief paper addresses several aspects of its international context in relation to the history of the conception and impact of Gerson’s work. It also points to why a focus on Germany is especially telling both for issues of art historical scholarship and the objects and questions with which it deals.


Cover image
Horst Gerson in Erfurt, 1931


1 Gerson 1942/1983.

2 The peer-reviewed publication Gerson Digital: Germany I was activated on line in October 2017 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Horst Gerson’s Ausbreitung. The present paper is based on a lecture delivered as a key-note address at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as part of a two-day symposium Masters of Mobility. Cultural Exchange between the Netherlands and Germany in the long 17th Century, an event that the RKD organized together with the Rijksmuseum and Leiden University.

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