Johan Zoffany, More to Come — Exhibition, Catalogue, and Conference

Posted in books, Calls for Papers, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 31, 2011

From The Yale Center for British Art:

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 27 October 2011 — 12 February 2012
The Royal Academy of Arts, London, 10 March — 10 June 2012

Curated by Martin Postle with Gillian Forrester and MaryAnne Stevens

Johan Zoffany, “The Drummond Family” (detail), ca. 1769 (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art)

Of all the major artists working in eighteenth-century England, none explored more inventively the complexities of Georgian society and British imperial rule than Johan Zoffany (1733–1810). Born near Frankfurt, Zoffany trained as an artist in Germany and Italy. In 1760 he moved to London, where he adapted brilliantly to the indigenous art culture and patterns of patronage, creating virtuoso portraits and subject pictures that proved to be highly desirable to a wide range of patrons. Zoffany’s work provides an invaluable and distinctive appraisal of key British institutions and edifices: the art academy, the Court, the theatre, the families of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and the burgeoning empire. Despite achieving considerable success in England, Zoffany remained in many ways an outsider, scrutinizing British society and its customs and mores. Restless and drawn to a peripatetic existence, he traveled for extended periods in his native Germany, Austria, Italy, and India. After his death there was no move to situate Zoffany as one of the key figures in the burgeoning British school of art; this exhibition aims to correct that oversight and will demonstrate his central importance to the artistic culture of eighteenth-century Britain and Europe. (more…)

Just Published: Mary Webster on Zoffany

Posted in books by Editor on May 30, 2011

On the heels of Penelope Treadwell’s biography, Johan Zoffany: Artists and Adventurer (University of Washington Press, 2009), comes this massive tome by Mary Webster. From Yale University Press:

Mary Webster, Johan Zoffany, R.A. 1733-1810 (New Haven: Yale University Press / London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2011), 720 pages, ISBN: 9780300162783, $100.

Universally recognized as a brilliant and gifted 18th-century artist, Johan Zoffany (1733-1810) was regarded by Horace Walpole as one of the three greatest painters in England, along with his friends Reynolds and Gainsborough. Yet he has remained without a detailed study of his life and works, owing to the fascinating and complex vicissitudes of his career, now established from widely scattered sources. From being a late-baroque painter at a German princely court to working under the royal patronage of George III and Queen Charlotte, from his serious interest in Indian life and landscape, developed while living near Calcutta, to his attacks on the bloody progress of the French Revolution, Zoffany created pictures that document with incomparable liveliness the worlds and people among whom he moved.

Mary Webster was formerly at the Warburg Institute and was curator
of the College Art Collections at University College London.

Reviewed: English Silver from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Posted in books, catalogues, reviews by Editor on May 29, 2011

Recently published by Apollo Magazine:

Christopher Hartop, A Noble Pursuit: English Silver from the Rita Gans Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2011), 88 pages, ISBN 9780917046902, $25.

Reviewed by Martin Chaisin; posted 1 May 2011.

In 1988, Jerome (Jerry) and Rita Gans loaned their magnificent collection of English silver of the 17th and 18th centuries to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). The collection was eventually gifted to the museum in 1997; a decade later, it was permanently housed in a beautifully designed installation, as celebrated in Christopher Hartop’s earlier overview, ‘A Noble Feast: The Jerome and Rita Gans Collection of English Silver’ (2007). Then, following Jerry’s death, Rita assembled a collection – reflecting her taste and engaging personal style – from which she donated an additional 50 pieces to the museum in 2009. Hartop’s present publication is a catalogue of that latter collection, as well as an illuminating discussion of collecting, connoisseurship and the design and uses of silver in 18th-century England. . . .

The full review is available here»

20 Grants for Traveling to 2012 CAA in Los Angeles

Posted in conferences (to attend), opportunities by Editor on May 28, 2011

Given that many of Enfilade’s readers are not based in the U.S., this announcement may be useful, especially for readers “from developing countries or from nations not well represented in CAA’s membership.” It would be nice to see a scholar of the eighteenth century among the recipients, and we would love to see you at the HECAA events. From CAA News:

The Getty Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to CAA in support of international travel for twenty applicants to attend the 100th Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration, taking place February 22–25, 2012, in Los Angeles. Through the new Getty Foundation Travel Grant Program, CAA will provide funds for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, per diems, and conference registrations. Recipients will also receive one-year CAA memberships. Applicants may be art historians, artists who teach art history, and art historians who are museum curators; those from developing countries or from nations not well represented in CAA’s membership are especially encouraged to apply.

The goal of the project is to increase international participation in CAA and to diversify the organization’s membership (presently sixty-five countries are represented). CAA also wishes to familiarize international participants with the submission process for conference sessions and to expand their professional network in the visual arts. Members of CAA’s International Committee have agreed to host the participants, and the National Committee for the History of Art will also lend support to the program.

CAA will publish an official call for grant applications on its website on Friday, July 8, 2011; the program will also be publicized in CAA News. A jury will select the twenty grant recipients.

Ian Wardropper Named Next Director of the Frick

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on May 27, 2011

Press release (19 May 2011) from The Frick Collection:

The Board of Trustees of The Frick Collection announced the appointment of Ian Bruce Wardropper as the next Director of the institution. Dr. Wardropper, currently Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will take up the post as of October 3, 2011, with the retirement of the Frick’s Director of eight years, Anne L. Poulet. Wardropper will be responsible for the overall vision of The Frick Collection, which includes the Frick Art Reference Library. Comments Margot Bogert, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, “We are delighted to welcome Ian Wardropper to The Frick Collection as its next Director. He comes to the institution with a significant and nuanced combination of experience as a scholar and curator in areas that relate beautifully to the holdings of the Frick. As an administrator over large collections and staffs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and previously at The Art Institute of Chicago, Ian Wardropper played an increasingly involved role―along with Directors, Trustees, and Development colleagues―in the fundraising efforts required of large-scale projects, among them the multimillion-dollar renovation of the former institution’s Wrightsman Galleries in 2006–7. His top-down involvement in such successful and well-received initiatives, his relationships with collectors and donors, and his appreciation for the high standards and values espoused by the Frick, inspire great confidence in us today as we share this wonderful news.” (more…)

New Website for Yale Center for British Art

Posted in exhibitions, resources by Editor on May 26, 2011

The new website for the Yale Center for British Art sets high the standard for digital art historical resources. The site features an online catalogue of the Center’s holdings, allowing seamless searching across the art collections and related library materials, AND publication-quality images of all art objects in the public domain are available for free downloading. As outlined in the press release below, more content will be added in the coming months. And what better way to draw attention to the new site, than an exhibition? -CH

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 20 May — 11 September 2011

Curated by Matthew Hargraves and and Imogen Hart

Elizabeth Pringle, "A Prowling Tiger," graphite, brushed black ink and white gouache, ca. 1800 (Yale Center for British Art)

To mark the launch of the YCBA’s online catalogue, Connections, a companion exhibition, replicates the experience of searching across the Center’s extraordinary collections. With more than two hundred paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, rare books, and manuscripts from the early seventeenth to the early twentieth century, Connections presents familiar works as well as some surprises. Alongside popular collection highlights such as Rubens’s bravura oil sketch Peace Embracing Plenty will be rarely exhibited works, including outstanding prints and drawings by Thomas Gainsborough. The exhibition reveals the depth and breadth of material in the Center’s physical collections, which will now be accessible in a single searchable catalogue. Among the themes explored in the exhibition are: British Art in the 1630s; Hogarth and History; Sporting Art; the Academy and the Human Body; Egypt; British Modernism in the 1930s; Paul Sandby; George Stubbs; Thomas Gainsborough; and Samuel Palmer. The section devoted to George Stubbs (1724–1806) is representative of the exhibition in its span of different genres, as it showcases Stubbs’s extraordinary artistic range and some of the Center’s great treasures: paintings on canvas, copper, and earthenware; Wedgwood plaques and enamels; a selection of his technically innovative prints and drawings; anatomical studies; and books and manuscripts of midwifery and anatomy.

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Press release:

Yale Center Offers Unprecedented Access to Largest Collection of British Art Outside the UK through New Online Catalogue

William Gilpin, leaves 33v–34r (with color chart laid in) from "Hints to form the taste & regulate ye judgment in sketching Landscape," manuscript, in pen and ink, with watercolor, ca. 1790 (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection)

Beginning May 20, the Yale Center for British Art, which houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside of the United Kingdom, will share its extraordinary holdings with the world through a new online catalogue. For the first time, visitors to the museum’s redesigned and expanded website—britishart.yale.edu—will have the ability to search across the Center’s entire collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, rare books, manuscripts, and works in the Reference Library. In addition, they will be able to download high-resolution images of objects in the public domain, free of charge. This new policy should transform scholarship in the field of British art by allowing universal access to the Center’s unparalleled collection. The launch of the Center’s online catalogue dovetails with Yale University’s recently announced “Open Access” policy, which will make high-quality digital images of Yale’s vast cultural heritage collections in the public domain openly and freely available. (more…)

First Annual Art History Festival at Fontainebleau

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

Thanks to Melissa Hyde for pointing this out. From the festival website:

Festival de l’histoire de l’art
Fontainebleau, 27-29 May 2011

Le festival, c’est une série de conférences, de débats, de concerts, de lectures, autour d’un thème et d’un pays invité, qui changeront chaque année. Pour cette première édition, le choix s’est porté sur la Folie et l’Italie. Mais c’est aussi un ensemble de rendez-vous pérennes: un forum traitant des questions d’actualité en histoire de l’art, un salon du livre et des revues d’art, et un festival du film d’art. De plus, accompagnant l’introduction de l’histoire de l’art dans les programmes du primaire et du secondaire, l’université de printemps de l’Éducation Nationale s’associe au festival. Vous trouverez ci-dessous les programmes de toutes ces manifestations.

Details, including a full program, are available here»

Looking Ahead: HECAA Session at CAA 2013

Posted in Member News by Editor on May 25, 2011

HECAA Session at CAA 2013: ‘Art in the Age of Philosophy?’ — Chaired by Hector Reyes
College Art Association, Chicago, February 2013

The relationship between philosophy and art has been a rich field of research for scholars of eighteenth-century painting. Such inquiry has identified philosophical motivations for the pursuit of pleasure, especially aesthetic pleasure, and led to a new understanding of the intellectual foundations and commitments of supposedly frivolous painters, such as Fragonard, Greuze, Boucher and Chardin. This panel seeks to broaden the inquiry in eighteenth-century philosophy and art by considering a wide range of philosophical and artistic practices. Are there neglected philosophies that might relate to artistic theory or production? How might philosophical approaches help us to rethink the status of other media or artistic production more generally in the eighteenth century? Does an emphasis on philosophical questions occlude or lead us away from important formal questions? Papers that question or interrogate the philosophical approach to art historical research are as welcome as those that present new research or that propose new approaches and methodologies.

Call for Papers: BSECS Conference, January 2012

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 24, 2011

From the BSECS website:

British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference
St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 4-6 January 2012

Proposals due 30 September 2011

The annual meeting of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is Europe’s largest and most prestigious annual conference dealing with all aspects of the history, literature, and culture of the long eighteenth century. We invite proposals for papers and sessions dealing with any aspect of the long eighteenth century, not only in Britain, but also throughout Europe, North America, and the wider world. Proposals are invited for fully comprised panels of three or four papers, for roundtable sessions of up to five speakers, for individual papers, and for ‘alternative format’ sessions of your devising.

While proposals on all and any eighteenth-century topics are very welcome, this year the conference theme will be Landscapes & Environments. We would thus particularly welcome proposals for panels and papers that address eighteenth-century uses of, and attitudes to, landscapes and environments of all kinds, throughout the long eighteenth century and in any part of the world. These might include, but will not be confined to: changes in the landscape (including urban landscapes) and environment; climate and weather (for example ‘the great storm’ of 1703); ‘greening’ the eighteenth century; landscape gardening; enclosure; pastoral; the picturesque; sacred landscapes; ruins and archaeology; representations of the landscape; and meanings and significance given to landscapes and environments, in all fields from history to the arts, literature, and philosophy.

All enquiries regarding the academic programme of the conference should be addressed to the academic programme co-ordinator, Dr Corinna Wagner (academic@bsecs.org.uk). Proposals are due by Friday 30 September. Registration will be available in September and you will be notified whether your paper has been accepted or not by Friday 21 October. For more information please see the BSECS website.

Art Historical Ethics: From Professional Codes to Ai Weiwei

Posted in opinion pages, the 18th century in the news by Editor on May 23, 2011

Photo from the Hurford Humanities Center, which is collecting graphics related to Ai Weiwei's imprisonment

A recent Google search for / HECAA art / provided a link to a page on ‘Art Ethics’ hosted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The section on professional associations includes about a dozen organizations, most of which (including HECAA) don’t supply a code of ethics — as noted, rather curiously I think, at the site (the point seems less to direct users to codes of ethics than to imply that lots of organizations don’t think about these things).

The HECAA link is out of date in any case, but it did get me thinking about the place of ethics for an association like ours. Given that we’re an affiliate of the College Art Association, I think it’s safe to say that we’re covered by its work in this area. The most relevant document is presumably  “A Code of Ethics for Art Historians and Guidelines for the Professional Practice of Art History.” Probably more complicated than articulating an ethical code for Art History is doing so for museum practices. Here, too, CAA has certainly addressed the problem, though it seems that new dilemmas often call for new responses.

In considering one example of the challenges museum officials face, Mary Louise Schumacher offers this piece on the intersection of Chinese involvement in the eighteenth-century exhibition, The Emperor’s Private Paradise, which opens in Milwaukee in June, and China’s recent imprisonment of the contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei. -CH.

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Mary Louise Schumacher, “Should the Milwaukee Art Museum Protest Ai Weiwei’s Detention?,” Journal Sentinel, 20 May 2011.

. . . Because of this new level of cultural exchange, China’s Palace Museum has authorized, for the first time, a large-scale exhibition of its treasures to travel to the U.S. This art historically significant show of 18th-century art and decorative objects, The Emperor’s Private Paradise will make its final stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum this summer.

Meanwhile, China has also imprisoned its most famous living artist Ai Weiwei. Ai is one of dozens of artists, lawyers, activists and bloggers arrested or gone missing in recent months in one of the worst spikes in repression in more than a decade and a presumed attempt to prevent the kinds of uprisings that have taken place across the Middle East and Nortth Africa, according to Human Rights Watch. . . .

These contradictory narratives are about to intersect in a unique way here in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Art Museum is the only museum in the world about to open a major exhibition of Chinese art organized in direct cooperation with China.

On the one hand, it is a coup for MAM to snag this critically acclaimed show, fresh from a successful run at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., which organized the show in cooperation with China’s Palace Museum. . . .

MAM is making this show, which has been in the works for many years, the centerpiece of its Summer of China, an entire slate of exhibits and events. Early on, the museum sought to include an outdoor installation by Ai Weiwei, but those plans fell through. The museum couldn’t identify an artwork that fit its plans and budgets, museum officials said.

The exhibit places MAM in an uneasy spot and raises ethical questions.

Should the museum join many of the world’s other cultural institutions in signing petitions and speaking publicly? Would China pull the show? And if they did, would MAM lose the exhibition fee, presumably in the millions?

If MAM is mum, however, will it run the risk of the appearance of appeasement? Does the museum have an obligation to educate its audience about the oppression of Ai Weiwei during its “Summer of China?”

Does this show provide an opportunity for dialogue or even diplomacy? And – a question for all art museums – will overt forms of protest be more effective than behind-the-scenes efforts in affecting Ai’s release . . .

The full article is available here»

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