Transnational Artistic Training between France and Germany, 1789–1870

A Franco-German research project of the Technischen Universität Berlin and the Université François Rabelais, Tours, sponsored by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The research project ArtTransForm is dedicated to the transnational training of artists in France and Germany (1789–1870). Under the direction of France Nerlich and Bénédicte Savoy, German and French researchers, in close collaboration, will investigate the mobility of artists between France and Germany during this time and collect exact sources on the training of artists in Paris between 1793 and 1870.

The nineteenth century is constantly described as the century of nationalisms, and indeed the idea of national schools is firmly established in the art history of the time. These two constructs, however, stand, by in large, in contrast to historical reality, as they fail to take into account the transnational dynamic of art and the often difficult-to-record transnational mobility of artists—particularly during their artistic training: In the years after 1800, young art students streamed out of the German-speaking world into Jacques-Louis David’s Parisian studio; forty years later, they were just as numerous in the studios of Paul Delaroche and Thomas Couture.

The goal of the ArtTransForm project is, firstly, to present a holistic image of this Franco-German mobility. The bilateral research group will systematically gather German-speaking artists educated at the École des beaux-arts, in private studios, and outside of institutions in Paris between 1793 and 1870 in a database. The project will also critically examine existing knowledge about the training of German artists in France and their time there in a European context. Complementary to the database and along with an artist lexicon, a publication will be issued, which will be dedicated to the Franco-German thematic complex of transnational artistic training, while taking into account intellectual and ideological motivations as well as artistic, sociological, personal, and political contexts.

Project start
Project end


Foto von Bénédicte Savoy

Prof. Dr. Bénédicte Savoy

Member of the scientific advisory board

Research Associates


Dr. Gitta Ho

Associated researcher
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 67 53

Eva Knels, M.A.

Coworker »ArtTransForm«