Vienna Porcelain at the Met: Exhibition and Symposium

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 19, 2009

Press release from the Met:

Imperial Privilege: Vienna Porcelain of Du Paquier, 1718–44

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 22 September 2009 – 21 March 2010


Vase, ca. 1730, Austrian; Vienna, du Paquier period, hard-paste porcelain, 6 x 8 inches (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art); inscription reads (in translation): "China, you will not have called your arts unknown any longer; in Europe, you will triumph through the skill of Vienna."

The Du Paquier ceramic manufactory, founded by Claudius Innocentius du Paquier in Vienna in 1718, was only the second factory in Europe able to make true porcelain in the manner of the Chinese. This small porcelain enterprise developed a highly distinctive style that remained Baroque in inspiration throughout the history of the factory, which was taken over by the State in 1744. Imperial Privilege: Vienna Porcelain of Du Paquier, 1718–44 charts the history of the development of the Du Paquier factory, setting its production within the historic and cultural context of Vienna in the first half of the eighteenth century. The exhibition features more than 100 works, half drawn from the Metropolitan Museum’s superb collection, and half from the premier private collection of this material.

With the increase in trade with China in the seventeenth century, Westerners developed a passion for Chinese and Japanese porcelain. The demand grew so great that Europeans began experiments to replicate the Chinese hard-paste porcelain, or “white gold,” and create their own production. Germany was the first to produce true porcelain in 1708, leading to the founding of the Meissen factory in 1710. Soon after, Claudius Innocentius du Paquier enlisted a worker from the Meissen factory to help him produce porcelain in Vienna. Although it shared a number of forms with Meissen porcelain, the Vienna factory distinguished itself by developing its own distinctive and whimsical style of painted decoration. Du Paquier produced a range of tablewares, decorative vases, and small-scale sculpture that found great popularity with the Hapsburg court and Austrian nobility.

The works will be installed according to the functions they served – drinking vessels, wares for dining, decorative vases – in the refined life of the eighteenth-century Viennese aristocracy for which they were created. The exhibition includes the recreation in the gallery of an extravagant table that was set for the Holy Roman Empress. In addition to the porcelain, elaborate table decorations and pyramids of fruit sculpted from sugar, specially made for the exhibition, will adorn the table.

Another of the many highlights in the exhibition is a tulip vase from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection. Depicting a scene of a man (thought to be du Paquier) seated at a tea table with a display of porcelain on a buffet, it includes an inscription around the scene that reads: “China, you will not have called your arts unknown any longer; in Europe, you will triumph through the skill of Vienna.” Calling attention to Vienna’s great success in making porcelain, the vase is a very unusual, yet highly significant, piece from the Du Paquier manufactory, documenting its place in the history of porcelain production.

Imperial Privilege: Vienna Porcelain of Du Paquier, 1718–44 is organized at the Metropolitan Museum by Jeffrey Munger, Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and co-curator Meredith Chilton, an independent ceramic historian.

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Du Paquier Symposium: Friday, 25 September 2009

Morning Session, 10:00am – 12:30pm

  • ‘Welcome’ – Ian Wardropper, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • ‘Opening Remarks’ – Jeffrey Munger, Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • ‘Fired by Passion: Vienna Baroque Porcelain of Claudius Innocentius du Paquier’ – Meredith Chilton, Ceramic Historian, Lac-Brome, Quebec
  • ‘The Triumph of Baroque Vienna’ – Johann Kräftner, Director, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna
  • ‘Roses and Dragons: The Fascinating Story of the Du Paquier Manufactory and Its Baroque Porcelain’ – Meredith Chilton, Ceramic Historian, Lac-Brome, Quebec
  • ‘Du Paquier’s Porcelain: Artistic Expression and Technological Mastery, A Scientific Evaluation of the Materials’ – Francesca Casadio, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Conservation Scientist, Art Institute of Chicago

Afternoon Session, 2:00 – 4:45pm

  • ‘The World of Refinement: Du Paquier Porcelain in Everyday Court Life’ – Claudia Lehner-Jobst, Independent Art Historian and Curator, Vienna
  • ‘Gifts, Diplomacy, and Foreign Trade: Du Paquier Porcelain Abroad’ – Ghenete Zelleke, Samuel and M. Patricia Grober Curator of European Decorative Arts, Art Institute of Chicago
  • ‘Dressed Up in Porcelain: The Du Paquier Porcelain Room in the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna’ – Samuel Wittwer, Director, Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Discussion Panel – Jeffrey Munger, Moderator, Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Katharina Hantschmann, Curator, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich and Ernst Schneider Bequest at Lustheim Castle; Sebastian Kuhn, Senior Specialist, Bonhams, London; Johanna Lessmann, Ceramic Historian, Hamburg; Melinda and Paul Sullivan, collectors

The symposium is free with museum admission. For more details, see the Met’s website.

N.B. It would be lovely to have a report on the proceedings from a HECAA member. Any takers?

Happy Birthday, Dr. Johnson

Posted in anniversaries by Editor on September 18, 2009

Though he was actually born on 7 September 1709, Samuel Johnson himself came to think of September 18 as his birthday after England accepted the Gregorian calendar reforms in 1752. The tercentenary has been widely celebrated throughout the year with a spate of conferences and exhibitions.

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Samuel Johnson: Literary Giant of the Eighteenth Century

Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 23 May — 21 September 2009

Joshus Reynolds, "Portrait of Samuel Johnson" (Huntington Library)

Joshua Reynolds, "Portrait of Samuel Johnson" (Huntington Library)

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)—one of the greatest moralists, poets, biographers, critics, essayists, and correspondents of all time—so dominated literary and intellectual life in the last half of the 18th century that the era is frequently referred to as the “Age of Johnson.”  As a conversationalist and writer he was so insightful and adept in the use of language that only Shakespeare and the Bible are quoted more often.

Samuel Johnson: Literary Giant of the 18th Century, tells the story of Johnson’s life and achievements through a display of rare books, manuscripts, and portraits drawn from The Huntington’s holdings and from the Loren and Frances Rothschild Collection.  The exhibition is curated by noted Johnson scholar O. M. “Skip” Brack, professor emeritus of English at Arizona State University.

One of the earliest English authors to make his living solely by his writings, Johnson spent his early years, after arriving in London in 1737, writing mostly for the Grub Street booksellers. Needing a large project that would produce a steady income, he accepted a commission to write an English dictionary. On April 15, 1755, after Johnson had labored over it for nine years, a consortium of London booksellers published, in two large volumes, A Dictionary of the English Language: In which the Words are Deduced from their Originals, and Illustrated in their Different Significations by Examples from the Best Writers. This colossal achievement  brought Johnson fame not only in England but across Europe.

A first edition of the Dictionary in its original binding will be one of the highlights of the exhibition.  Other treasures to be displayed are the famous “Blinking Sam” portrait of Johnson by his friend Sir Joshua Reynolds, a portion of one of Johnson’s diaries, and a number of personal letters.

Johnson’s prolific output  as a writer included his famous poem The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749), more than 200 essays for his twice-weekly publication, The Rambler (1750–52), and the allegorical fable Rasselas: The Prince of Abyssinia (1759). His edition of Shakespeare (1765) and the Lives of the Poets (1779–81) secured his fame as a literary critic and biographer.

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An Immortal Friend: Dr. Johnson and the Royal Academy

Royal Academy of Arts (Library Print Room), London, 28 April — 2 October 2009

This display explores both private and public aspects of Samuel Johnson’s close friendship with the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds. It includes not only rarely seen memorabilia, evoking in particular their shared addiction to tea, but also illustrates, through a selection of prints, books and documents from the RA Library and Archive, the crucial contribution that Johnson and his literary circle made to raising the intellectual status of the newly fledged institution.

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samjohndictnryPeople tend to have their favorite entries from The Dictionary. My latest encounter with the edition compiled by Jack Lynch impressed me with the following:

abecedarian — n.s. [from the names of a, b, c, the three first letters of the alphabet.] He that teaches or learns the alphabet, or first rudiments of literature.

centuriator — n.s. [from century.] A name given to historians, who distinguish times by centuries; which is generally the method of ecclesiastical history.

fancysick — adj. [fancy and sick.] One whose imagination is unsound; one whose distemper is in his own mind.

tonguepad — n.s. [tongue and pad.] A great talker.

In addition to the wide array of terms to express derision of one sort or the other, it’s also intriguing to see the fluidity of meanings within the same word as a term moves between praise and scorn.

wiseacre — n.s. [It was antiently written wiseegger, as the Dutch wiseggher, a soothsayer.] 1. A wise, or sententious man. Obsolete. 2. A fool; a dunce.

connoisseur — n.s. [French.] A judge; a critick: it is often used of a pretended critick.

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For additional information, see the websites of the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum in Lichfield and Dr. Johnson’s House in London. Pat Rogers’s entry on Johnson for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is available here.

-Craig Hanson

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Settecento Enlightenment

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 17, 2009

From the Polo Museale Fiorentino website:


Marco Ricci, "Riunione musicale," before 1708 (Florence: Galleria dell'Accademia)

Splendour and Reason: Art in Eighteenth-Century Florence

(Il fasto e la ragione: Arte del Settecento a Firenze)

Uffizi, Florence, 30 May — 30 September 2009


Francesco Carradori, "Bacchus and Ariadne," 1776 (Florence: Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina)

With the extinction of the Medici dynasty in 1743, Florence did not lose its prestige as capital of culture and the arts, thanks to the government of the Lorraines, who gave the city the international profile required by Enlightenment policies. This exhibition is the first overall panorama of the principal artistic events of the eighteenth century in Florence. We are speaking of 120 paintings, sculptures, art objects and furnishings of the great, public and private commissions, works from the entire century, which in a spectacular vein record the changes in taste from the late Baroque period to Neoclassicism.

The show starts with the commissions made by Cosimo III and the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, which opened the city to “foreign” artists like Sebastiano Ricci and Giuseppe Maria Crespi. They favoured sculpture (with personalities like Giovan Battista Foggini and Massimiliano Soldani Benzi), and developed the manufacture of tapestries and semiprecious stones. In this context, the families of the Florentine aristocracy performed a very conspicuous role: the Gerinis for the diffusion of the veduta, the Ginoris for the famed manufactory of porcelain of Doccia, the Corsinis for their constant relations with pontifical Rome. All these episodes contributed to defining the image of a vital and modern city, crossroads of many experiences and a workshop of original artistic productions.


Pompeo Batoni, "The Education of Achilles," 1746 (Florence: Galleria degli Uffizi)

With the extinction of the Medicis, Peter Leopold of Lorraine brought the European version of Rococo and Neoclassicism to Tuscany, along with the reformist spirit that accompanied the theories of the Enlightenment even in the figurative arts. A new elite of patrons thus took shape in Florence, also made up of its foreign residents (the Englishman Horace Mann, for example). It was also thanks to them that Florence became a mandatory lap of the grand tour. The Tuscan artists received advantages, especially the modern painters of vedutas (landscapes) (including the naturalised Englishman Thomas Patch and Giuseppe Zocchi). Foreign visitors preferred the repertory of gallantries and vedutas translated into semiprecious stones by the renovated Opificio dei Siriès. The Grand Duke proved to be a protector of the arts. He reformed the by-laws of the Academy where prominent artists like Pietro Pedroni, Innocenzo Spinazzi, and Francesco Carradori worked. He stimulated the worksites of the grand-ducal residences – first and foremost, the Pitti Palace and the Villa at Poggio Imperiale – and spurred the study of antiquity,
transferring the spectacular group sculpture of the Niobe from Rome to Florence.


Catalogue edited by Carlo Sisi and Riccardo Spinelli, 352 pages, ISBN 9788809743755

In this climate of civic and cultural fervour, the Frenchmen François-Xavier Fabre, Bénigne Gagnereaux, Louis Gauffier and Jean-Baptiste Desmarais came to Florence, driven from Pontifical Rome after the murder of the diplomat Nicolas de Basseville. With them came the international version of neoclassicism, thus contributing to the “reform” of the portrait, the veduta, and the historical painting, on the eve of the instatement of the Napoleonic court (1799).

The exhibition is curated by Carlo Sisi and Riccardo Spinelli. The catalogue is available through Michael Shamansky, at artbooks.com.

[All images are taken from the exhibition website; click here for more information]

Post-Doc Opportunity for Americanists

Posted in opportunities by Editor on September 16, 2009

Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society

Applications Due by 15 October 2009

Scholars who are no more than three years beyond receipt of the doctorate are invited to apply for the Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship, a year-long residential fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. The purpose of the post-dissertation fellowship is to provide the recipient with time and resources to extend research and/or to revise the dissertation for publication. Any topic relevant to the Society’s library collections and programmatic scope, and coming from any field or disciplinary background, is eligible. AAS collections focus on all aspects of American history, literature, and culture from contact to 1876, and provide rich source material for projects across the spectrum of early American studies.

The Society welcomes applications from those who have advance book contracts, as well as those who have not yet made contact with a publisher. The twelve-month stipend for this fellowship is $35,000. The Hench Post- Dissertation Fellow will be selected on the basis of the applicant’s scholarly qualifications, the appropriateness of the project to the Society’s collections and interests, and, above all, the likelihood that the revised dissertation will make a highly significant book.

Further information about the fellowship, along with application materials, is available on the AAS website. Any questions about the fellowship may be directed to Paul Erickson, Director of Academic Programs at AAS, at perickson@mwa.org. The deadline for applications for a Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship to be held during the 2010-2011 academic year is October 15, 2009.

January 15, 2010 is the deadline for most other fellowships offered by the American Antiquarian Society, including the American Historical Print Collectors Society Fellowship and the AAS-American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Fellowship — both of which are open to graduate students as well as more established scholars. A full list of all current fellows can be founder here»

The American Antiquarian Society is an independent research library founded in 1812 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The library’s collections document the life of America’s people from the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Collections include books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, manuscripts, music, graphic arts, and local histories.

Built by Numbers

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 15, 2009

This exhibition just closed at Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science; it opens at the YCBA in February. The following description comes from the latter’s website:

Compass & Rule: Architecture as Mathematical Practice in England, 1500-1750

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, 16 June — 6 September 2009

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 18 February — 30 May 2010

The spread of Renaissance culture in England coincided with the birth of architecture as a profession. Identified as a branch of practical mathematics, architecture became the most artistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the arts. During this time, new concepts of design based on geometry changed how architects worked and what they built, as well as the intellectual status and social standing of their discipline.

Catalogue edited by Anthony Gerbino and Stephen Johnston  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)

Catalogue edited by Anthony Gerbino and Stephen Johnston (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)

Compass & Rule examines the role of mathematics in architectural design and building technology, highlighting the dramatic transformation of English architecture between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The exhibition brings together some of the finest architectural and scientific material from the early modern period, including drawings of St. Paul’s Cathedral, an astrolabe commissioned for Queen Elizabeth I, and architectural drawings by King George III. Also on view will be nearly one hundred drawings, paintings, printed books and manuscripts, maps, and other unique mathematical instruments that illustrate the changing role of both the architect and the profession 1500 to 1750.

An illustrated catalogue edited by exhibition curators Anthony Gerbino, architectural historian and Senior Research Fellow of Worcester College, University of Oxford, and Stephen Johnston, Assistant Keeper at the Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford, will accompany the exhibition.

There’s Still Time

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 14, 2009

Abstracts due by September 15 (Tomorrow!)

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…)

Court Paintings from India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 13, 2009

From the British Museum’s website:

Gardens and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur

British Museum, London, 28 May – 11 October 2009


Death of Vali; Rama and Lakshmana wait out of the monsoon (detail). Illustration from the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1532–1623) Jodhpur, c. 1775 © Mehrangarh Museum Trust

The exhibition features a loan of 56 paintings from India, none of which have been displayed before in Europe. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience the unique art tradition that flourished in the royal courts between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. During this period, the region of Jodhpur, in modern-day Rajasthan, produced a distinctive and inventive painting style. Paintings produced for the private enjoyment of the Maharaja and his court brought together traditional Rajasthani styles and combined them with styles developed in the imperial court of the Mughals.


Krishna frolics with the Gopi girls (detail), folio 2 from the Krishna Lila, Jodhpur, c. 1765 © Mehrangarh Museum Trust

The paintings included in the exhibition range from a handful of miniatures to monumental artworks depicting the palaces, wives and families of the Jodhpur rulers. Later works depict epic narratives and demonstrate the devotion of Maharaja Man Singh to an esoteric yogic tradition. Jodhpur artists rose to the challenge of creating images for metaphysical concepts and yoga narratives which had never previously been the focus of the region’s court art.

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Maharaja Bakhat Singh at the Jharokha window of the Bakhat Singh Mahal (detail). Attributed here to 'Artist 2', Nagaur, 1737 (Samvat 1794) © Mehrangarh Museum Trust

Writing for the Times of London, Rachel Campbell-Johnston describes the exhibition as offering “Nirvana hanging on a wall,” while The Observer’s critic, Laura Cumming, found it to be “the most intoxicating show of the year so far” (at least as of late May). Echoing the refrain earlier this month, Christopher Webb in the Financial Times calls the show “magical and exciting.” He was particularly impressed by the condition of the works: “they are as vividly fresh as if they had been painted months ago rather than hundreds of years; kept closeted in the Mehrangarh fort, they suffered no damage from exposure to light. This freshness helps us to feel the humanity of the life of this palace – a musical instrument, the ties on a jacket, the patterns on a bed cover, the shape of an oar, the way a turban looks when it falls off – the level of detail is extraordinary.” Finally, Kathryn Hadley provides a summary for History Today.

[The exhibition first appeared at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington from October 11, 2008 to January 4, 2009; click here for an audio guide.]

Thomas Wright’s Menagerie & Gervase Jackson-Stops

Posted in anniversaries, catalogues, exhibitions, on site by Editor on September 12, 2009

Thomas Wright, The Menagerie, Horton Park, Northamptonshire, 1750s (Photo: Bruno de Hamel, "Architectural Digest: Chateaux and Villas," 1982)

Earlier in the week, An Aesthete’s Lament included a posting on The Menagerie, the Grade II listed building acquired by Gervase Jackson-Stops (1947-95) in the 1970s. After a three-year studentship at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Jackson-Stops joined the National Trust, first as a research assistant and then (starting in 1975) as an architectural advisor. It’s difficult to overstate his importance for the organization. As noted in numerous obituaries — including those from the Society of Antiquaries of London, The Independent, and Architectural History (available through JStor) — he played important roles in the Trust’s acquisition of Canons Ashby House, Kedleston Hall, and Fountains Abbey. His commitments to restoration were evinced not only at Stowe but also at his personal labor of love, The Menagerie.


Horton Hall, destroyed 1936

This mid-eighteenth-century banqueting house, by Thomas Wright (1711-86), at Horton Park, Northamptonshire is actually just one of just thirteen listed buildings attached to the property (the main house, Horton Hall, was destroyed in the 1930s). The Horton Park Conservation Group (HPCG) was founded in 2008 to campaign for the ongoing conservation of the park and these structures. The park is likely to receive increased attention over the next two years as Wright’s three-hundredth birthday approaches.

The Menagerie appears in Paige Rense, Architectural Digest: Chateaux and Villas (Knapp, 1982); Timothy Mowl and Claire Hickman, Historic Gardens of England: Northamptonshire (History Press, 2008), and Chippy Irvine, The English Room (Bullfinch Press, 2001). For details regarding visits, see The Menagerie website.

6e5b328167d010e5932793056514141414c3441Finally, no evocation of Jackson-Stops is complete without mention of his role in organizing the seminal Treasure Houses of Britain exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1985-86). For his work on the show, he received the Presidential Award for Design in 1986 and was made an Officer of the British Empire (O.B.E.) — all before turning 40! A full list of publications, including dozens of contributions for Country Life, can be found at the end of the obituary compiled by Oliver Garnett and Tim Knox for Architectural History 39 (1996): 222-35.

[The photograph of The Menagerie comes from An Aesthete’s Lament; the print of Horton Hall comes from the website of the Horton Park Conservation Group. Thanks to both.]

New Work on the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on September 11, 2009

Member News

Reed Benhamou, Regulating the Académie: Art, Rules and Power in ‘ancien régime’ France, SVEC 2009:08 ISBN 978-0-7294-0972-8, 298 pages, £60 / €93 / $127

The Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, the second oldest academy in France, was abolished in 1793. To fully appreciate the drama of its dissolution, Benhamou examines the codes and practices of the Académie, exploring why certain rules were adopted and the power politics they engendered. This work culminates with nine annotated appendices of registered and proposed statutes, many of which are published for the first time. It’s published as part of the SVEC book series by the Voltaire Foundation. To place an order, please contact: email@voltaire.ox.ac.uk.

Reed Benhamou is a Professor Emerita at Indiana University. Her publications focus on the Académie royale de peinture, and educational programmes in art and architecture of the ancien régime. She is currently researching the effectiveness of the Ecole royale des élèves protégés.

A list of recent publications from the Voltaire Foundation is available here.

Marguerite Gérard in Paris

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 10, 2009

From Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche:

Marguerite Gérard: Artiste en 1789 dans l’atelier de Fragonard

Cognacq-Jay Museum, Paris, 10 September – 6 December 2009

1This exhibition concentrates on the astonishing, little-known work of Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837), who was the sister-in-law of the great painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). Having moved to Paris in the mid-1770s — living in Fragonard’s apartment in the Louvre — she became the painter’s student and subsequent collaborator.

Becoming a recognised female painter in the society of the era was not simple at all. Knowing this, Marguerite made some clever marketing moves, taking advantage of the wobbling Old Regime to carve a niche for herself in this newly-formed society. Soon, her portraits, often donated to her models, carried her name far and wide, helping to make her well known and sought after.


Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Marguerite Gérard, "The Stolen Kiss," (St. Petersburg, Hermitage)

The exhibition has sixty portraits and drawings borrowed from all over Europe and the United States. As well as the work of Marguerite Gerard and Fragonard, including one seminal collaborative effort, the exhibition will also show contemporary portraits which explain the artist’s sources and the success of the fashion of intimist portraits that took hold at the beginning of the nineteenth century, ending with the arrival of photography. A catalogue will also be published to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibiton Marguerite Gérard: artiste en 1789 dans l’atelier de Fragonard runs from 10th September to 6th December 2009 at the Musée Cognacq-Jay.

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