New Title: ‘The Efflorescence of Caricature, 1759-1838’

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on April 11, 2011

Todd Porterfield, ed., The Efflorescence of Caricature, 1759–1838 (Aldershot: Ashgate), 240 pages, ISBN: 9780754665915, $99.95.

Searing disputes over caricature have recently sparked flames across the world—the culmination, not the beginning, of the story of one of modernity’s definitive artistic practices. Modern visual satire erupts during a period marked by reform and revolution, by cohering nationalisms and expanding empires, and by the emerging discipline of art history. This has long been recognized as its Golden Age. It is time to look anew.

In The Efflorescence of Caricature, 1759–1838, an international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational team of scholars reconfigures the geography of modern visual satire, as the expansive narrative reaches from North America to Europe, to China and the Ottoman Empire. Caricature’s specific visual cultures are also laid bare, its iconographic means and material support, as well as the diverse milieu of its making—the military, the art academy, diplomacy, politics, art criticism, and popular entertainment. Some of its greatest practitioners—James Gillray and Honoré Daumier—are seen in a new light, alongside some of their far flung and opportunistic pastichers. Most trenchantly, assumptions about the consequences of caricature’s rise come under intense scrutiny, interrogated for its cherished and long-vaunted civilizational claims on individual character, artistic supremacy, political liberty, and global domination.

  • Todd Porterfield, The efflorescence of caricature
  • Dominic Hardy, Caricature on the edge of empire: George Townshend in Quebec
  • Pierre Wachenheim, Early modern Dutch emblems and French visual satire: transfers of models across the 18th century
  • Reva Wolf, John Bull, liberty and wit: how England became caricature
  • Douglas Fordham, On bended knee: James Gillray’s global view of courtly encounter
  • Helen Weston, The light of wisdom: magic lanternists as truth-tellers in post-Revolutionary France
  • Richard Taws, The currency of caricature in Revolutionary France
  • Mike Goode, The public and the limits of persuasion in the age of caricature
  • Robert L. Patten, Signifying shape in pan-European caricature
  • Christina Oberstebrink, James Gillray, caricaturist and modernist artist avant la lettre
  • Ségolène Le Men, The Musée de la caricature

Todd Porterfield is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Art History at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of The Allure of Empire: Art in the Service of French Imperialism, 1798–1836 (1998), and co-author of Staging Empire: Napoleon, Ingres, and David (2006).