Last Week for ASECS Proposals

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 8, 2009

Abstracts due by September 15 (next Tuesday)

At the 2009 ASECS conference in Albuquerque, March 18-21, HECAA will host two sessions, chaired by Wendy Wassying Roworth and Adrienne Childs:

HECAA New Scholars Session (Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture) Wendy Wassyng Roworth, U. Rhode Island; (home) 112 Slater Avenue, providence, RI 02906; Tel: (401) 351-6448 (home); Fax: (401) 874-2729; E-mail: wroworth@uri.edu
This session will feature papers by graduate students and recent recipients of the doctoral degree on new research in the history of art and architecture. Papers are welcome on all aspects of art history including studies of art collecting, patronage, exhibitions, and art production in all media.

Theorizing the Decorative in Eighteenth-Century Art (Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture) Adrienne Childs, David C. Driskell Center, 1214 Cole Student Activities Center, U. of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742 (ATTN: ASECS Session Submission); Tel: (301) 314–2615; E-mail: alchilds@umd.edu
“Decorative” is a term that has been consistently used to describe the arts of the eighteenth century. Applied to painting, sculpture, material culture, interior design, architecture, and more, decoration evokes a feeling of luxury and abundance. In recent years scholars of eighteenth-century art have attempted to look beyond the profusion of floral motifs and arabesque lines to investigate how these seemingly innocuous motifs are part of larger social, economic, political, and cultural systems at work in the period. This paper seeks papers that engage critical and theoretical perspectives that investigate and decode the “decorative.”

In addition, there are numerous other panels that should prove interesting for art and architectural historians. You can, of course, check the ASECS website for details and a full listing, but a couple of dozen are included here» (more…)

Watteau at the Met

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 8, 2009

Press release from the Met:

Watteau, Music, and Theater
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 22 September – 29 November 2009

Catalogue edited by Katharine Baetjer (Yale University Press)

Catalogue ed. Katharine Baetjer (Yale University Press)

Watteau, Music, and Theater, the first exhibition of Jean-Antoine Watteau’s paintings in the United States in 25 years, will demonstrate the place of music and theater in Watteau’s art, exploring the tension between an imagery of power, associated with the court of Louis XIV, and a more optimistic and mildly subversive imagery of pleasure that was developed in opera-ballet and theater early in the 18th century. It will demonstrate that the painter’s vision was influenced directly by musical works devoted to the island of Cythera, the home of Venus, and to the Venetian carnival, and will shed new light on a number of Watteau’s pictures.

Made possible by The Florence Gould Foundation, the exhibition will feature more than 60 works of art, consisting of major loans of paintings and drawings by Watteau and his contemporaries from collections in the United States and Europe. The balance of the paintings will be drawn from the Metropolitan Museum’s collections, together with most of the works on paper, and all of the musical instruments, gold boxes, and ceramics. Watteau, Music, and Theater will honor Philippe de Montebello, Director Emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Watteau, “The French Comedians,” 1720–21, oil on canvas, 22 x 29” (NY: Metropolitan Museum)

Watteau, “The French Comedians,” 1720–21, (New York: Metropolitan Museum)

Born in 1684 in Valenciennes in the Hainault (French, but formerly part of the Spanish Netherlands), Jean-Antoine Watteau is widely considered the most important artist in early eighteenth-century France. A solitary, ill-educated, self-taught, largely itinerant figure, he was a supremely gifted painter and draftsman whose surviving works of art are his testament. Most of them are so-called fêtes galantes, idyllic scenes that have no specifically identifiable subject. Only one of Watteau’s paintings, The Embarkation for Cythera (1717), was publicly exhibited in his lifetime. Watteau died in 1720 at the age of 36 after a long illness. While relatively little is known about Watteau, an expanding body of literature relating to Paris opera-ballet, plays, and the less formal and more traditional seasonal théâtres de la foire relates to specific works in the exhibition, and these can now be mined more deeply to examine the artist’s life and work.

Among the many highlights of Watteau, Music, and Theater will be the Metropolitan Museum’s Watteau paintings Mezzetin and French Comedians; the Städel Museum’sThe Island of Cythera; Pleasures of the Dance from the Dulwich Picture Gallery; Love in the French Theater and Love in the Italian Theater, both from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin; and The Alliance of Music and Comedy (private collection), which has not been on view in any museum in decades.

The exhibition will mark the first time the painting La Surprise (private collection) will be seen in a museum. Lost for almost 200 years and presumed to have been destroyed, La Surprise was rediscovered last year in a British country house and later sold at auction. (more…)

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