The History of Libraries and Censorship

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on November 24, 2009

Seminar on the History of LibrariesDr. Keith Manley
Stewart House, Russell Square, London, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The next seminar in the History of Libraries series will take place on Tuesday, December 1, in the Institute of English Studies, University of London. Dr. Keith Manley (Institute of Historical Research) will speak on Infidel Books and Subscription Libraries: Government Censorship in Europe during the Napoleonic Period. Many governments tried to prevent libraries from acquiring politically inflammatory and heretical literature. In Germany secret societies of freemasons infiltrated libraries to promote their own views of Enlightenment and world domination, while Hanover feared for the morals of its children if they were allowed access to circulating libraries. Germany and Austria banned subscription libraries, fearing their malignant influence. In France, officials kept libraries under close surveillance. In comparison, British libraries escaped lightly from tight supervision, though in Ulster several were ransacked by yeomanry. The meeting will take place at 5:30pm in Room ST 275 at Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1E 7HU, UK. Stewart House is adjacent to, and accessible through, Senate House, Malet St. All are welcome.

Call for Submissions: Graduate Students Writing Visual Studies

Posted in Calls for Papers, graduate students, opportunities by Editor on November 23, 2009

Call for Submissions: Visual Studies Reader, Written Entirely by Graduate Students
The first fully collaborative, student-run publication on visual studies

All submissions due by 30 January 2010

The visual world is changing so fast that no conventional anthology can capture it. Our idea is to record the current shape of visual studies, across disciplines, as it is experienced by the upcoming generation of scholars and artists. We are gathering a group of about 100 authors. After we have completed a rough draft of the book, we will post the entire manuscript on our Wiki, and allow everyone on the internet to suggest changes, Wikipedia-fashion. All grad students are eligible; if you are studying for an MA, MFA, or PhD, or if you received your PhD in the last six months, you can contribute texts to this book.

The book is international and collaborative. It began with a group of students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and now it includes about thirty students from 20 institutions around the world. Have a look at our Table of Contents to see how the book is developing. As the book grows, so does the community of editors. Everyone who joins the Reader can make suggestions about everyone else’s contributions: you will have final say over your own contribution, but you’ll also be involved in conversations with all the other participants.

After a further year of editing, in 2012, the entire book will be published by Routledge, and advertised and disseminated internationally. To apply, visit the wiki for full information:

Visual Studies Reader

and then send us a two-page description of what you’d like to contribute. Your proposal will be read by the grad-student authors who are currently in the project (the editor, Jim Elkins, doesn’t vote). Full instructions are on the wiki:

Visual Studies Reader: How to apply

Tuft Prize for Iberian Art History

Posted in nominations by Editor on November 23, 2009

Each year, the Award Committee of the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies (ASHAHS) invites nominations for the Eleanor Tufts Prize for a distinguished book in English on the history of art and architecture in Iberia. The Eleanor Tufts Award was established in 1992 to honor Professor Tuft’s contributions to the study of Spanish art history. The annual award recognizes an outstanding English-language publication in the area of Spanish or Portuguese art history.

The book must have appeared during the two calendar years preceding the award year.  Publications that appeared in 2008 and 2009 are eligible for the 2010 award.  The announcement of the winning book is released by the time of the annual conference of the College Art Association (February 10-13, 2010).

For a full description of the criteria, please see the PDF at this link:


Deadline for receipt of books: December 15.

Jeffrey Schrader
Newsletter Editor, ASHAHS
Assistant Professor of Art History
University of Colorado Denver

American Art History beyond the U.S.

Posted in nominations by Editor on November 22, 2009

Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize
Nominations due by 15 January 2010

The Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize recognizes excellent scholarship by a non-U.S. scholar in the field of historical American art (circa 1500—1980). The winning manuscript should advance understanding of American art and demonstrate new findings and original perspectives. It will be translated and published in American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s scholarly journal, which will also cover the cost of image rights and reproductions, and the winner will receive a $500 award. This prize is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The aim of the award is to stimulate and actively support non-U.S. scholars working on American art, foster international exchange of new ideas and create a broad, culturally comparative dialogue on American art. To be eligible, essays should focus on historical American painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photography or visual culture of the same period. Preference will be given to studies that address American art within a cross-cultural context as well as new ways of thinking about American art. Manuscripts previously published in a foreign language are eligible if released within the last two years. For scholars from English-language countries, only unpublished manuscripts will be considered. Authors of eligible essays are invited to submit their own work for consideration. We urge scholars who know of eligible articles written by others to inform those authors of the prize.

The length of the essay (including endnotes) shall not exceed 8,000 words with approximately 12 illustrations. Manuscripts submitted in foreign languages should be accompanied by a detailed abstract in English. Six copies of the essay, clearly labelled “2010 Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize,” along with the scholar’s name, mailing address, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and fax number must be received by January 15, 2010, at the following address: American Art journal, Research and Scholars Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 970, Washington D.C. 20013-7012.

For more information, please contact executive editor Cynthia Mills (millsc@si.edu). For more information on American Art, please visit the journal’s website.

For Graduate Students and Artists

Posted in fellowships, graduate students by Editor on November 22, 2009

Terra Summer Residency in Giverny Fellowship
Giverny, France, Summer 2010

Applications due by 15 January 2010

Since 2001, the Terra Summer Residency in Giverny has provided artists and scholars with an opportunity for the independent study of American art within a framework of interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue. Located in an environment rich in historical and cultural significance, the residency fosters a community for the creation, exploration,and discussion of transatlantic cultural contributions and their contemporary resonance while building an intellectual network for lifelong exchange.

The Terra Foundation for American Art offers ten summer fellowships to artists and scholars from the United States and Europe. These fellowships are awarded to artists who have completed their studies at the Master’s level and to doctoral students engaged in research on American art (from the eighteenth century to the 1980s). During their eight-week stay, senior artists and art historians are in residence to mentor fellows and pursue their own work.

Each Terra Summer Residency Fellow is provided with lodging and study or studio space, daily lunches, and a program consisting of independent study, meetings, and seminars. Terra Summer Residency fellows are awarded a stipend of $5,000 and artists receive an additional $200 for the purchase of materials.

Applicants must be nominated by a professor at an academic institution. Such nominees must fall within one of the two following categories: American and European doctoral candidates researching a subject that contains a significant American art component, or that examines artistic exchange between America and Europe. Candidates should be at an advanced stage of their doctoral research and writing. American and European artists who have completed a Master’s program (or its equivalent) in mixed media and/or painting. Preference is given to applicants who completed a Master’s program within the past five years. All applicants are expected to be fluent in English. Knowledge of French is desirable, but not required. (more…)

Newly Restored Dutch Panel Paintings

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2009

From the Museum Van Loon website:

Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): A Beautiful View
Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, 2 October 2009 — 4 January 2010


Jurriaan Andriessen, 1780

The exhibition Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): een schoon vergezicht . . .  is the very first solo exhibition of this famous eighteenth-century wall panel painter, with works from — amongst others — the Rijksmuseum, the City Archives, and the Archive of the Royal Household, many of which have not been on display earlier. The occasion of this exhibition is the . . . ­completed restoration of the six Andriessen wall panels in the collection of the Museum Van Loon. Andriessen manufactured the paintings in 1780 for Drakensteyn Castle, where Princess Beatrix lived before her accession to the throne. Professor Maurits van Loon acquired the panels in the 1970s as a result of the special relationship between Drakensteyn Castle and the Van Loon house. Since those days, they embellish the wall of the ‘Drakensteyn Room’ in the museum. It is the only Andriessen ensemble presently open to the public.

In the eighteenth century, wall panels were a true trend in Dutch interiors. Contrary to present day wallpaper, they were actual paintings, mostly landscapes with wall-to-wall displays that made people feel ‘outside on the inside’. Jurriaan Andriessen was particularly popular in his day and had many commissions both in Amsterdam and the country. With the exhibition comes a publication: Richard Harmanni, Tonko Grever, and Laura Smeets, Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): A Beautiful View (Zwolle, Waanders, 2009), ISBN: 9789040076534, $29.

American Stories at the Met

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2009

From the Met’s press release:

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 12 October 2009 – 24 January 2010

Ralph Earl, "Elijah Boardman," 1789 (NY: Met)

From the decade before the Revolution to the eve of World War I, many of America’s most acclaimed painters captured in their finest works the temperament of their respective eras. They recorded and defined the emerging character of Americans as individuals, citizens, and members of ever-widening communities. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915 brings together for the first time more than 100 of these iconic pictures that tell compelling stories of life’s tasks and pleasures. The first overview of the subject in more than 35 years, the exhibition includes loans from leading museums and private lenders—and many paintings from the Metropolitan’s own distinguished collection. American Stories features masterpieces by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, John Sloan, and George Bellows, and notable works by some of their key colleagues.

The exhibition examines stories based on familiar experience and the means by which painters told their stories through their choices of settings, players, action, and various narrative devices. The artists’ responses to foreign prototypes, travel and training, changing exhibition venues, and audience expectations are examined, as are their evolving styles and standards of storytelling in relation to the themes of childhood, marriage, the family, and the community; the production and reinforcement of citizenship; attitudes towards race; the frontier as reality and myth; and the process and meaning of art making.

The exhibition is arranged in four chronological sections. The first—Inventing American Stories, 1765–1830—begins with artists who told stories through portraits. Serving their sitters’ self-conscious interest in how they appeared in the eyes of others, American portraitists often emulated British compositions. Although these artists focused on individuals and particular locales and relationships, the cleverest of them responded to broader narrative agendas and to the natural impulse to tell stories. In his portrait of his colleague Paul Revere (1768, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), John Singleton Copley embedded subtle narrative into a traditional single-figure format, with the silversmith’s gestures and gaze conveying volumes about the time in which he lived. As their patrons learned to read portraits for more than likeness and to appreciate artistic license, portraitists began to gratify their sitters by telling subtle personal stories in increasingly elaborate compositions. In his ingenious double-likeness of Benjamin and Eleanor Ridgely Laming (1788, National Gallery of Art, Washington), for instance, Charles Willson Peale implied the sexual bond that defined the Lamings’ marriage. Later in this period, some painters told grand stories in pictures produced for public exhibition, rather than purely for private enjoyment. In Gallery of the Louvre (1831–33, Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago), Samuel F. B. Morse proposed that his compatriots must achieve cultural independence from Europe even while they learned from the Old World’s greatest artistic achievements.

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In addition to the materials contained at the Met’s website, there is an exhibition blog that’s updated regularly. The November 2009 issue of The Magazine Antiques includes an instructive article by Carrie Barratt and H. Barbara Weinberg, “American Artists as They Saw Themselves.”

CAA Distinguished Scholar: Jules David Prown

Posted in books, the 18th century in the news by Editor on November 20, 2009

Jules David Prown, a devoted teacher of the history of American art and material culture and Paul Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University, has been selected as the CAA Distinguished Scholar for 2010. A special session in his honor will be held at the CAA annual conference in Chicago on 11 February 2010.

Bryan Wolf, professor of American art and culture at Stanford University, underscores the importance of Prown’s work in an essay for CAA, available through the association’s website:

John Singleton Copley, "Samuel Adams," ca. 1772 (Boston: MFA)

His remarkable career marks the coming of age of American art history. His two-volume study of the painter John Singleton Copley (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966) overturned the usual concerns of positivistic biography. His growing focus during the next several decades on the formal properties of objects, together with what he termed the system of cultural “belief” embedded within them, led to a methodological revolution that still resonates loudly in classrooms wherever American art and material culture are taught. . . .

Scholarship on American art in the 1960s tended to divide into two camps: those eager to claim an “American exceptionalism” for artists of virtually all eras of American history, and those determined to prove the former wrong, largely by tracing the European antecedents for traits otherwise labeled “American.” Prown’s two-volume Copley book, which grew from his dissertation on English Copley, coincided with the catalogue he authored for a comprehensive exhibition of Copley’s work at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Prown’s approach to Copley was to replace what in fact was a cold-war battle over American exceptionalism with science and statistics. He used a computer—I believe that he was the first art historian to do so—to “analyze data on 240 of Copley’s American sitters, correlating such factors as religion, gender, occupation, place of residence, politics, age, marital status, wealth, size of canvas, date, and medium.” An early paper he presented at CAA describing the project began with a slide of an IBM punch card. The audience “hissed,” as Prown later recounted, albeit with humorous intent. “The chairman of my department at the time advised me to remove the computer-analysis section from my book manuscript because its publication would jeopardize my chances for tenure.”

Yale UP, 2002 ($60)

The Copley book provided readers with a magisterial overview of this painter as a citizen of the British trans-Atlantic. Prown’s vision deftly sidestepped both sides of the American exceptionalism debate by insisting—decades before transnationalism would emerge as a focus of scholarly studies—on the complicated and hybrid relations between English-speaking cultures on either side of the Atlantic. . . .

For Wolf’s complete article (also available in the November 2009 issue of CAA News), click here»

Media & Theology Conference in Los Angeles

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on November 20, 2009

The following two-day conference deals mainly with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, though the stakes could also bear on eighteenth-century studies. From the Clark Memorial Library website:

Cultures of Communication, Theologies of Media in Early Modern Europe and Beyond: Theology as Media Theory
Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, Los Angeles, 4-5 December 2009

Organized by Christopher Wild and Ulrike Strasser; registration deadline is 25 November 2009.

The early modern period has long been recognized as a time of revolutionary change in the uses of media and forms of communication. Much attention has been focused on the history of print and the book in particular. Without questioning the importance of this technology- and book-oriented perspective, this series of conferences considers print media alongside a range of other media with which they interacted (“multimediality”) and re-approaches the history of media in early modern Europe from an original and timely perspective. It resists the technological focus and teleological pull of the Gutenberg galaxy and concentrates instead on the powerful religious and theological currents informing communication and media. We suggest that the history of media in early modern Europe is best understood in its longue durée from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century and in reference to the long-term aftershocks of the Reformation and the profound transformation of both media and mediation it set in motion. The sixteenth-century reformers not only revolutionized the use of media, they also formulated their own theories about media and communication, addressing issues that remain of concern to modern media theorists who, however, rarely consider their theological precursors.

Protestants and Catholic reformers, albeit in confessionally distinct ways, responded to the same cultural crisis in mediation between God and humanity, as well as within the community of believers, particularly as the latter began expanding rapidly with the onset of global evangelization. Each camp developed theories and practices of optimizing ‘vertical communication’ with the divine and ‘horizontal communication’ among humanity. Consequently, the recourse to the different theologies of early modern reform can help us examine the complex and competing media cultures of the time and what helped drive technological changes. The transformation of media had a persistent corollary in the critique of mediation. Once unleashed, this critique would not go away, but would be reformulated throughout the early modern period and beyond, and in a host of contexts within and beyond the religious domain.

Against this backdrop, our conference cycle takes as its starting point the conjunction of Reformation theology and the rise of new media in the sixteenth century to then traces the ripple effects of these phenomena in the following centuries. Our sites of investigation include European cultures, “New World” spaces, and the trans-oceanic communication networks linking them.

Registration Fees: $15 per person; UC faculty & staff, students with ID: no charge (photocopy of student ID should accompany registration the completed registration form). Complimentary lunch and other refreshments are provided to all registrants. Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. No confirmation will be sent, but we will contact you if we receive your registration after we reach capacity. (more…)

The French Revolution at the Musée Carnavalet

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 20, 2009

As noted in Napoleon.org, an online magazine published by the Fondation Napoléon:

La Révolution française, trésors cachés du musée Carnavalet / The French Revolution: Hidden Treasures of the Musée Carnavalet
Musée Carnavalet, Paris, 30 September 2009 — 3 January 2010

The Musée Carnavalet, site of one of the largest and most important collections on the French Revolution, is holding an exhibition dedicated to the events of 1789 and beyond, based on two hundred carefully selected pieces (including drawings, engravings, paintings, objets d’art and sculptures) from its stores. The exhibition is laid out chronologically, and will trace the major events of the Revolution through such works of art and depictions as the Serment du Jeu de Paume, the storming of the Bastille and the Fête de la Fédération. As well as the chronological aspects to the exhibition, themes such as the role of women, the key players in the events, vandalism, religion, fashion and architecture will all be considered. La Révolution française, trésors cachés du musée Carnavalet offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the events of a period that irrevocably changed society.

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France-Angleterre à Carnavalet, caricatures anglaises au temps de la Révolution et de l’Empire / France and England at the Carnavalet: English Caricatures during the Revolution and the Empire
Musée Carnavalet, Paris, 30 September 2009 — 3 January 2010

Running alongside La Révolution française, trésors cachés du musée Carnavalet is a small display of some forty English caricatures from the Revolution and French Empire periods. At the dawn of the French Revolution, English caricature, infused with a rare irreverence, dominated European satirical production. Its freedom in tone is inherently linked to the press freedom that existed in Britain at the time, which led to comment on not only continental affairs, but those relating to domestic matters too. The characters of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Sans-culottes, and the chaotic political events in France provided a wealth of material and inspiration for the satirists, allowing them to give vent to their patriotism and innovation in equal measure. The images, always lively and often crude, are placed in their historical context, and allow the visitors to develop their understanding of national stereotypes and appreciate the combative satire of French events as interpreted by artists such as James Gillray, Isaac and George Cruikshanks and Thomas Rowlandson.

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