Susanne Meurer

Dr, BA MA PhDLond.

  • The University of Western Australia (M433), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Susanne Meurer received her PhD from the Warburg Institute, University of London. She has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Houghton Library and a postdoctoral fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (Max-Planck Institute), Florence and the Warburg Institute in London. She gained insights into the museum and archive sector as a catalogue and curatorial assistant at the Warburg Institute Archive and the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, London. Prior to her move to Perth, she taught at University College London and the Warburg Institute. As a senior lecturer in the History of Art at UWA (School of Design) she teaches classes on Renaissance and Baroque Art and Curatorial Studies.

Research

Based on extensive archival research and the close study of objects, my research centres around two themes. I focus on the intersection of technique and aesthetics in printmaking and the wider cultural impact of prints in both local and global contexts. Additionally, I study Renaissance and Baroque collections of artists’ lives and their impact on canons of art.

For further details, please refer to my academia page https://uwa.academia.edu/SusanneMeurer or https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/persons/susanne-meurer/publications/ 

I welcome applications for supervision at honours or postgraduate level in the following areas:

  • Curatorial Studies
  • History of Collecting
  • Contemporary printmaking
  • Technical and cultural history of prints
  • History of the Book
  • Historiography
  • Renaissance Art
  • Material Cultures
  • German Palaeography
  • Archival Research

Current projects

Johann Neudörffer “Notes on Nuremberg’s Artists and Craftsmen” (1547) and the Origins of German Art Historiography

In October 1547, the Nuremberg school master and calligrapher Johann Neudörffer the Elder (1497-1563) wrote the first collection of artists’ lives in the German vernacular, a text now commonly referred to as “Notes on Nuremberg’s Artists and Craftsmen”. Ranging from major internationally renowned painters, printmakers, sculptors or goldsmiths like Albrecht Dürer, the Beham brothers, Veit Stoss or Wencel Jamnitzer, to carpenters and spectacle makers, Neudörffer’s short biographies provide eyewitness insights into the artistic output of a centre of the Northern Renaissance.

Neudörffer’s rank as one of the leading calligraphers of the sixteenth century shaped both content and form of the manuscript. His training in the art of beautifully written lines distinguished Neudörffer as a particularly apt judge of artistic quality in others, while a text penned by a famed writing master would have been considered an artwork in its own right.

My research focuses on the inception of this artwork about art in sixteenth-century Nuremberg and its reception in local manuscript culture until its eventual publication in the nineteenth century. In a series of articles (2015 and 2020), book chapters (2014) and a monograph (in progress), I am examining how a combination of local literary traditions and the artistic interests of Neudörffer and his patron, Georg Römer (1505-1557) gave rise to the idea of compiling a collection of lives and how they illustrate a sense of history and continuity in post-Dürer Nuremberg.

Johann Neudörffer’s Writing Manuals and the Graphic Arts in Renaissance Germany

Rather than shying away from printmaking, a medium whose introduction in the fifteenth century had severely curtailed the role of professional scribes, the Nuremberg writing master Johann Neudörffer the Elder (1497-1563) delighted in exploring the technical possibilities of disseminating his script through print. In addition to designing typefaces for letterpress printing, Neudörffer produced printed writing manuals for much of his career. His etched Gute Ordnung (Good Order, 1543-1550s) is particularly notable for its experimental play with materials and technique. Neudörffer’s ingenious sequencing of etchings and counterproofs provides not only step-by-step guides on how to form lines into letters, but also lays open that his seemingly handmade marks are the results of mechanical production. Neudörffer’s text-images share this self-aware attention to linear aesthetics and process with drawings and etchings by contemporaries including Albrecht Altdorfer and Albrecht Dürer. In addition, Neudörffer’s pedagogy shaped how contemporary viewers read lines. His manual provides insights into how Neudörffer’s readers became sophisticated consumers of linear beauty in figurative art. Casting a period eye on formal and technical aspects of the Gute Ordnung reveals the manual as a key work in the history of sixteenth-century printmaking and viewing.

Research was supported through an Eleanor M. Garvey Fellowship in Printing and Graphic Arts, Houghton Library, Harvard University Cambridge/Mass and a Hixson-Lied Visiting Scholarship at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2017. Findings will be published through a series of articles currently in press or under review.

Funding overview

  • 2019 UWA Research Collaboration Award ‘Visualising Batavia Silverware: Imaging and Analysing VOC’s Precious Metal Trade Objects for Mughal India’, led by Arvi Wattel, in collaboration with Alistair Paterson (UWA), Alexandra Suvorova (UWA), Susanne Meurer (UWA), Jeremy Green (WA Museum), Corioli Souter (WA Museum), Robert Erdmann (University of Amsterdam), and Tamar Davidowitz (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), $11,500

  • 2019 UWA School of Design Research Committee Funding, 'The Material Museum', Susanne Meurer and ArviWattel, $2,450

  • 2017 Funding to Develop External Grant Application on the History of Emotions, ARC Centre for the History of Emotions ‘Entangled Histories of Emotions in the Mediterranean World’, led by Giovanni Tarantino (Universita degli Studi di Firenze), in collaboration with Arvi Wattel, Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Central European University), Lisa Beaven (The University of Melbourne), Randi Deguilhem (CNRS/MMSH/Aix-Marseille University), Lauren Jacobi (MIT), Susanne Meurer (UWA), $7,911.

  • 2016 UWA Alumni Fund Grant ‘Animated Art: Enhanced Learning through Gamification’, Rene van Meeuwen, Susanne Meurer and Arvi Wattel, $25,000.

  • 2014 ALVA Group Research Funding Scheme “Melchior Lorck’s Panorama as a topographical source for the Byzantine and Early Ottoman urban layout”, with Nigel Westbrook and Rene Van Meeuwen 

Roles and responsibilities

Teaching overview

Industrial relevance

  • Audio-guide accompanying the exhibition 'Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World' (Western Australia Museum, 31 October 2016 - 23 April 2017), with Susan Broomhall, Jacqueline van Gent, Robin McDonald and Arvi Wattel

Languages

  • German

  • English

  • Italian

  • French

Research expertise keywords

  • Curatorial research
  • Prints and drawings
  • Historiography
  • German History
  • Biography
  • Baroque Art
  • History of the book
  • Renaissance art

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