New Title: Dorothy Johnson’s ‘David to Delacroix’

Posted in books by Editor on February 28, 2011

From the UNC Press:

Dorothy Johnson, David to Delacroix: The Rise of Romantic Mythology (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 260 pages, ISBN: 9780807834510, $45.

In this beautifully illustrated study of intellectual and art history, Dorothy Johnson explores the representation of classical myths by renowned French artists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, demonstrating the extraordinary influence of the natural sciences and psychology on artistic depiction of myth. Highlighting the work of major painters such as David, Girodet, Gérard, Ingres, and Delacroix and sculptors such as Houdon and Pajou, David to Delacroix reveals how these artists offered innovative reinterpretations of myth while incorporating contemporaneous and revolutionary discoveries in the disciplines of anatomy, biology, physiology, psychology, and medicine. The interplay among these disciplines, Johnson argues, led to a reexamination by visual artists of the historical and intellectual structures of myth, its social and psychological dimensions, and its construction as a vital means of understanding the self and the individual’s role in society. This confluence is studied in depth for the first time here, and each chapter includes rich examples chosen from the vast number of mythological representations of the period. While focused on mythical subjects, French Romantic artists, Johnson argues, were creating increasingly modern modes of interpreting and meditating on culture and the human condition.

Dorothy Johnson is Roy J. Carver Professor of Art History at the University of Iowa.

Call for Articles: ‘Histoire de l’Art’

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 28, 2011

From the APAHAU blog:

Special Issue of Histoire de l’Art — Future Directions
Proposals due 2 May 2011; finished articles due 1 September 2011

La reconsidération du champ et des objets de l’histoire de l’art depuis les années soixante-dix, comme l’apparition et le développement d’approches théoriques nouvelles dans cette discipline, ont conduit à une transformation de nos pratiques, voire à leurs redéfinitions au sein des sciences humaines et sociales. Parmi elles, la tendance récente à embrasser la production visuelle au sens large et à revendiquer les expérimentations théoriques et pratiques propre aux études visuelles fait émerger de nouvelles interrogations.

A quels défis l’histoire de l’art se confronte-t-elle en participant de ce mouvement général qui appréhende globalement les œuvres – pour la plupart sacralisées par l’institution muséale – et l’ensemble des images et des objets qui se prêtent plus trivialement au regard et à la manipulation ? Dans cette reconfiguration des humanités (visual turn), quelle pourrait être la place de l’histoire de l’art ? Comment peut-elle ou doit-elle asseoir son rôle éventuel de moteur des visual studies sur sa pratique traditionnelle, d’autant qu’il s’agit sans doute de la discipline la plus à même de mettre en évidence la façon, dont les mondes visuels s’informent les uns les autres ? Enfin, face à cette nouvelle donne, l’histoire de l’art sera-t-elle à l’avant-poste des sciences de l’homme et de la société, ou, au contraire, sujette à une forme de dilution ? (more…)

Call for Nominations: Marc Raeff Book Prize

Posted in books, nominations by Editor on February 27, 2011

Marc Raeff Book Prize for Outstanding Work on Imperial Russia
Nominations due by 30 May 2011

The Eighteenth-Century Russian Studies Association (ECRSA) is now accepting submissions for the first annual Marc Raeff Book Prize. The award is sponsored by the ECRSA and named in honor of Marc Raeff (1923-2008), historian, teacher, and dix-huitièmiste par excellence. The Raeff Prize will be awarded annually for a publication that is of exceptional merit and lasting significance for understanding Imperial Russia, particularly during the long eighteenth-century. The submitted work must bear a copyright date of either one or two years preceding the award year (e.g. for the 2011 competition the published copyright dates are 2009 and 2010). It can be published in any language read by members of the ECRSA Prize Selection Committee (including Russian) and in any format (analog or digital). Scholarly merit, originality, and felicity of style will be the main criteria for selection. Submissions from scholars who are less than five (5) years from receiving their doctoral degree are particularly encouraged. The recipient of the award will be recognized with a cash prize, which will be presented in November 2011, during the ASEEES annual convention. See ECRSA Events for full details.

Exhibition: Gardens in Perpetual Bloom

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 26, 2011

From the Ringling Museum:

Gardens in Perpetual Bloom: Botanical Illustration in Europe and America from 1600-1850
Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan, 12 December 2009 — 4 April 2010
John and Marble Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 29 January — 24 April 2011
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1 May 2011 — 1 May 2012

Until the mid-nineteenth century, gardening was not the popular pastime of the average person that it is today. It was the occupation of the professional employed by royalty and the wealthy, the horticulturist who bred and cultivated new plants, and the botanist whose concern was the scientific classification of plant life. In this exhibition it will be possible to trace the transition of the study and appreciation of flowers and their cultivation from the world of monks and princes to the everyday gardener.

The earliest books depicting flowers were herbals, first illuminated manuscripts, then printed with woodcuts, dedicated to the medicinal, therapeutic properties of plants. In the early seventeenth-century, illustrated books were published to describe the contents of the gardens of the well-to-do. When Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, published his Systema naturae in 1735, which classified and gave order to our knowledge of the plant kingdom, the botanical book often took on a new purpose. Botanists endeavored to accurately illustrate all the varieties according to the new sexual system, whereby plants were organized and given nomenclature according to their numbers of stamens and pistils.

Explorers to the Americas, Asia, and Africa observed the native vegetation and brought back cuttings, seedlings, and bulbs to be cultivated, named, described and elaborately illustrated. The nursery business thrived. By the nineteenth century, as a result of this efflorescence of botanical publication, horticulture and gardening became a readily accessible hobby for the amateur. Artists and decorators were provided with immense new visual resources. Apart from their botanical interest, flower prints possess great variety and a visual appeal that can be bold and vibrant or delicate and refined. These plates almost always reveal the artist’s eye and hand in the rhythmic and graceful placement of the flower and its parts elegantly spread gracefully across the page. One of the earliest examples represented in this exhibition is the strikingly dramatic and monumental Large Sunflower, taken from Basil Besler’s Hortus Eystettensis…a florilegium (book describing a garden or flower collection), first published in 1613, which illustrated plants and flowers in the garden of the Bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. Besler, an apothecary and gardener for the Bishop, drew the flowers over many years and employed engravers to follow his designs and other artists to color them by hand.

Comprised of more than 100 flower prints, Gardens in Perpetual Bloom features the products of a fruitful collaboration of botanists, horticulturists, painters, and printmakers from the 17th to 19th centuries. Requiring technical virtuosity and complex techniques to achieve an amazing range of line and tone, these colorful works reveal the detail, structure, texture, tone, and lifelike appearance of a magnificent iris, an exotic lily, or a single elegant rose executed with an originality of design and composition.

Exhibition Catalogue: Nancy Keeler, Gardens in Perpetual Bloom: Botanical Illustration in Europe and America 1600-1850 (Boston: MFA, 2010), 136 pages, ISBN: 9780878467495, $24.95.

Letter from the President: Call for Participants

Posted in Member News by Editor on February 25, 2011

Dear HECAA Members,

It was so nice to see many of you in New York at CAA. Our sessions, “The Global Eighteenth-Century,” “New Scholars” and the ASECS session on “Cosmopolitanism” were well attended, as were the other sessions with eighteenth-century topics. We had 29 people attend the reception.

I want to give a special thanks to Denise Baxter, who will have completed her term as treasurer. She has done a marvelous job.  It is time to elect a new treasurer. I would like to nominate Jennifer Germann for this position. If there are other nominations, please send them to me. Next week I will send an email calling for a vote of the membership. The official inauguration will take place at our HECAA luncheon in Vancouver.

I also need volunteers to serve on two committees and to chair sessions:

  • three volunteers to serve on the Vidal Travel Award committee
  • three volunteers to serve on the Wiebenson Prize committee
  • one volunteer to chair the 2012 “New Scholars” session at CAA
  • one volunteer for the 2012 “New Scholars” session at ASECS

We can vote to approve these slates at the HECAA luncheon. Finally I am soliciting submissions for our HECAA affiliate session at the 2012 ASECS and for the 2013 CAA. If you could submit abstracts to me, we can vote online after this year’s ASECS meeting.

Best wishes,
Julie-Anne Plax

Conference: Ancient Vases in Eighteenth- & Nineteenth-Century Europe

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on February 25, 2011

A conference at the INHA in Paris later this spring will bring together twenty-five participants, specializing in ancient ceramics, art history, and the scientific study of conservation and restoration. Sessions will address leading individuals for collecting and restoration networks of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, along with the diversity of approaches deployed in the face of the materiality of these objects. From the INHA website:

L’Europe du vase antique: collectionneurs, savants, restaurateurs aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles
Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, 31 May — 1 June 2011

Collectionner, étudier, restaurer : trop souvent dissociées dans les travaux consacrés au devenir moderne de l’antique, ces trois pratiques étroitement liées au cours du temps n’ont cessé de s’influencer et de se féconder mutuellement, dans le cadre de réseaux européens particulièrement actifs autour de l’objet de fascination qu’a représenté le vase peint – qu’il soit d’origine grecque ou étrusque – durant les XVIIIe et XIXe siècles.

Promouvant une approche globale et interdisciplinaire de la problématique, l’INHA propose de faire le point sur les recherches menées depuis plusieurs années au sein de l’institution, comme sur celles développées par des chercheurs étrangers. Le colloque international qui se tiendra à l’INHA les 31 mai et 1er juin 2011 rassemblera ainsi vingt cinq participants, spécialistes de la céramologie antique, de l’histoire de l’art moderne, de l’étude scientifique des œuvres d’art et de la conservation-restauration du patrimoine. Parmi les thèmes abordés figureront l’étude de personnalités marquantes qui ont animé les réseaux du collectionnisme et de la restauration en Europe, aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles ; on s’attachera aussi à éclairer la diversité des approches déployées face à la matérialité des objets. En analysant les stratégies et les contextes dans lesquels ces différents acteurs ont opéré – avec un intérêt particulier porté aux collections de vases formées en Italie et parvenues en Europe centrale et en Russie- on espère aussi bien contribuer à définir les nécessités méthodologiques de ce champ d’études qu’à projeter de nouveaux éclairages sur l’histoire des œuvres.

Call for Papers: Graduate Student Conference on American Stories

Posted in Calls for Papers, graduate students by Editor on February 24, 2011

The Power of Stories: Authority and Narrative in Early America, An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 29 September — 1 October 2011

Proposals due by 15 March 2011

This conference will bring together a diverse group of graduate students to discuss the power of stories and their relationship to authority in early America and the Atlantic world before 1850. Addressing written, pictorial, oral, or other narratives, papers might consider examples of how groups or individuals decide what stories to tell about themselves; why some narratives come to predominate over others; how narratives change over time and across generations; and the ways in which stories can strengthen or undermine political, ethnic, religious, economic, or other communities. At a broader level, papers might address how scholars can harness the power of stories in their own writing as a means of evoking past worlds.

We seek papers that will engage a wide range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, Native American studies, literature, American studies, African American studies, political science, art history, geography, material culture, and race and gender studies. In order to be considered, applicants should email their proposals to mceas.stories.2011@gmail.com by March 15, 2011. Proposals should include a one-page c.v. and a prospectus of no more than 250 words. Paper presentations will be limited to 20 minutes. Limited financial support is available for participants’ travel and housing expenses. Decisions will be announced by May 15, 2011.

Please direct conference-related questions to Whitney Martinko at mceas.stories.2011@gmail.com.

Millard Meiss Publication Grant

Posted in resources by Editor on February 23, 2011

Millard Meiss Publication Grants
Applications due by 1 April / 1 October 2011

The College Art Association will offer awards this spring through the Millard Meiss Publication Fund. Thanks to a generous bequest by the late art historian Millard Meiss, CAA continues this twice-yearly program begun in 1975. Meiss grants support book-length scholarly manuscripts in any period of the history of art and related subjects that have been accepted by a publisher but require further subsidy to be published in the fullest form. The publisher, rather than the author, must submit the application to CAA by the annual deadlines of April 1 and October 1. Awards are made at the discretion of the jury and vary according to merit, need, and number of applications. Awardees are announced six to eight weeks following the deadline. For complete guidelines, application forms, a grant description, and list of past winners, visit www.collegeart.org/meiss. Please review and follow the application guidelines carefully as some requirements have changed.

Exhibition: Four Hundred Years of French Drawings

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 22, 2011

Press release from The Frick in Pittsburgh:

Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art
The Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 5 February — 17 April 2011
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas, Austin, 18 September — 31 December 2011
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, 28 May — 24 August 2014

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "The Arms of a Girl Holding a Bird," red chalk on cream paper, ca. 1765 (Austin: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas)

Composed of 56 drawings made between 1500 and 1900, this exhibition chronicles the full range of artistic uses of the medium, from quick sketches to finished compositional studies, to drawing as an end in itself. The Blanton Museum at the University of Texas at Austin has organized the exhibition from their permanent collection, which was supplemented a bit more than a decade ago by a large gift of drawings. The French drawings from this gift had not received systematic academic study, nor had most of them been published. Especially rich in 17th- and 18th-century drawings, the exhibition illustrates the rise to dominance of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture as one of the most dominant cultural and political institutions in Europe. The exhibition includes works by François Boucher (1703–1770), Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), and Nicolas Lancret (1690–1743), among others, with the nineteenth century represented by choice sheets from François-Marius Granet (1777–1849), Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867), Jean Forain (1852–1931), Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923), and others who reflect shifts in the approach to drawing
in the modern era.

Exhibition catalogue, ISBN: 9781555953560, $65

At the Frick, the exhibition will find a perfect counterpart in the museum’s permanent collection, which visitors will enter as they exit the traveling drawings show. Paintings by Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766), Lancret (1690–1743), Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695–1736), Boucher, Hubert Robert (1733–1808), and Nicolas-Bernard Lepicié (1735–1784), will be displayed with examples of decorative arts from the period, which will provide for a richer understanding of the 18th century in particular. . . .

The exhibition begins in a period of transition from the mannerism of the late Renaissance to the Baroque period. Two sheets showing designs for a powder flask made by an artist associated with the School of Fontainebleau show the sophisticated sense of decoration that prevailed among artists working around the court of Francis I. Two drawings attributed to seminal printmaker Jacques Callot (1592–1635) and his circle date to the period he spent in Florence, and show his interest in melding his observations of life around him into his expressive and inventive finished compositions. The fluid chalk Study of a Man with a Turban, c. 1617, attributed to Callot, is characteristic of his elegant figures and displays a masterful ability at controlling light and shade and swiftly capturing the spirit of a figure, as well as its contours. (more…)

Happy President’s Day — Toasting Jefferson et al

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on February 21, 2011

From the Monticello blog:

A revolution is brewing in the artisanal beer world, inspired by the taste of Thomas Jefferson and what was brewed historically at Monticello. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, in collaboration with Starr Hill Brewery, announces the launch of Monticello Reserve Ale, the official beer of Monticello. . . .

Monticello Reserve Ale is inspired by what was produced and consumed regularly at Monticello. It is made from a combination of wheat and corn, lightly hopped. Brewing beer was an important plantation activity at Monticello. Beer, one of the “table liquors” served with meals, was a staple of the Jefferson household. Records go back to 1772, when Jefferson’s wife Martha oversaw the periodic brewing operations, producing 15 gallon casks of small beer – beer with low alcohol content – about every two weeks. In 1815, Jefferson
writes in a letter to Joseph Coppinger (himself a brewer): “I am lately become a brewer for family use, having had the benefit of instruction to one of my people by an English brewer of the first order.”

Larger scale brewing began with the appearance of a British brewer detained in Albemarle County during the War of 1812. Captain Joseph Miller improved upon the quality and quantity of Monticello beer, introducing ale, stronger beer suited to storage. While at Monticello, Joseph Miller trained the enslaved Peter Hemings in the arts of malting and brewing. Hemings – a brother of Sally – carried on the brewing operations, making 100 gallons of ale every spring and fall.

Jefferson wrote in 1821 that he had “no receipt for brewing,” doubting “if the operations of malting and brewing could be successfully performed from a receipt.” Using ingredients grown on the Monticello plantation, Jefferson’s brews varied based on the grains that were available at any given time, including barley, and larger quantities of corn and wheat. At Monticello, about three-quarters of a pound of hops were used for every bushel of malt.

Monticello Reserve Ale will be sold in 750ml bottles and served on tap at local restaurants. It will be brewed and bottled locally by Starr Hill Brewery LLC, in Crozet, Virginia, by Master Brewer Mark Thompson. Starr Hill has won 14 prestigious awards for its craft beers.

Presidents’ Day Tasting at Monticello
Monday, February 21, noon to 3:00 p.m.