Reattribution Points to Romney

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on October 7, 2010

Press release from the Dallas Museum of Art (8 September 2010) . . .

George Romeny, "Young Man with a Flute," ca. 1760s (Dallas Museum of Art) -- previously attributed to the American painter, Ralph Earl.

The Dallas Museum of Art announces the reattribution of the painting, Young Man with a Flute, to the artist George Romney. The work of art has been in the Museum’s collections for nearly 25 years and entered it in 1987 as part of a bequest of Mrs. Sheridan Thompson. At the time of the painting’s acquisition, the artist was unknown but the painting was thought to be by the American colonial era portrait painter Ralph Earl.

Then in 2000 on a visit to the Museum, British art dealer Phillip Mould suggested that the painting might be the oeuvre of English painter George Romney (1734–1802) but was not able to provide further evidence to the DMA. Ten years later, and soon after his arrival at the DMA from the Louvre, Olivier Meslay, Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, viewed the painting in the art storage area, learned of Mould’s earlier suspicion, and wanted to know more. He showed the work of art to another visiting expert, Piers Davies, Specialist of Old Master Paintings with Christie’s, New York. Davies, like Mould a decade earlier, immediately noted the likeness of Young Man with a Flute to the style of similar portraits by Romney from around the same time period, 1760–1770.

Meslay then contacted the internationally renowned Romney expert Alex Kidson, Consultant Curator with the National Museums Liverpool. Kidson analyzed the painting and determined the painter to be George Romney, a key figure in 18th-century British art. Romney was a contemporary of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough and after Reynolds’ death in 1792 Romney became the most famous portrait painter in England. . . .

Mrs. Sheridan Thompson purchased Young Man with a Flute in 1961 from Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York. Prior to that, the gallery had purchased the painting from a gentleman in 1960 who resided in London. It is unknown when the painting was wrongly attributed to Ralph Earl, but Earl did study in London for a number of years and focused in portrait paintings.

Call for Papers: Orientalism in Europe up to 1700

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 7, 2010

The conference ends where HECAA begins, but this early phase of Orientalism may still be relevant for dixhuitièmistes thinking about the topic. This is, incidentally, the first time I’ve ever seen the following in a CFP: send “a brief cv or a reference to your personal website.” For more information, see the conference website:

The Dialectics of Orientalism in Early Modern Europe, 1492-1700
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 7-8 October 2011

Proposals due by 15 November 2010

In early modern Europe, discourses on and images of the Orient and Islam are inextricably tied to the rise of national consciousness and the formation of a European identity as several Western states were striving for imperial supremacy. The goal of this international and interdisciplinary conference is to explore the dialectical function of early modern Orientalism for the creation of different notions of a collective self: national, European, and/or imperial.

We invite proposals for contributions that analyze the multiple uses of an imaginary Islam and Orient and compare at least two national orientalist discourses and/or the intersection of nation-building and the invention of Europeanness catalyzed through these discourses. Beyond being simplifications, what role do stereotypes play in the complex and often contradictory rhetorical dynamics that served to articulate, implement and promote both internal policies and supranational endeavors of imperial supremacy? To whom are these stereotypical representations addressed and through what media? In what instances does the creation of a fictive homogeneous nation lead to the conceptual “islamization” of minority groups? Is there a competition among European nation-states for the hegemony in the representation of the Oriental, and in which ways does it feed into a transnational rivalry for imperial power? What does the comparison of different national accounts of Orientalism reveal about the supposed homogeneity of the stereotypical Muslim? (more…)

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