Enfilade

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.

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed features some seventy oil paintings and a selection of drawings and prints, many of which have been rarely or never exhibited, from public and private collections around the world, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, India, and the United States. Incorporating revelatory new research carried out over the past decade, the exhibition—the first devoted to Zoffany ever to be held in the United States and the first in Britain since 1977—constitutes a timely and radical reevaluation of the extraordinary life and career of this brilliant and enigmatic artist.

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed is co-organized by the Yale Center for British Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and curated by Martin Postle, Assistant Director for Academic Activities at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. The organizing curator at the Yale Center for British Art is Gillian Forrester, Curator of Prints and Drawings, and, at the Royal Academy, MaryAnne Stevens, Director of Academic Affairs. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book edited by Martin Postle, written by an international team of distinguished scholars, and published by the Yale Center for British Art and the Royal Academy of Arts in association with Yale University Press.

Martin Postle, ed., Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed, exhibition catalogue (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2011), 320 pages, ISBN: 9780300176049, $75 (available 26 September 2011).

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From The Paul Mellon Centre:

Call for Papers: Jonathan Zoffany and his International Contexts
Royal Academy of Arts and Geological Society, London, 14 May 2012

Proposals due by 20 September 2011

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, will be co-hosting a conference on Monday 14 May 2012 to accompany a major exhibition on the eighteenth-century Anglo-British artist Johan Zoffany (1733-1810). The exhibition, Johan Zoffany RA. Society Observed, is curated by Martin Postle (Paul Mellon Centre) with Gillian Forrester (Yale Center for British Art), and MaryAnne Stevens (Royal Academy), and will be held at the Yale Center for British Art from 27 October 2011 to 12 February 2012, and at the Royal Academy of Arts from 10 March to 10 June 2012. The deadline for paper submissions is 20th September 2011.

Born in Frankfurt in 1733, Johan 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. Of all the major artists working in eighteenth-century England, none explored more inventively the complexities of Georgian society and British imperial rule than Zoffany. Yet, despite achieving considerable success there, he remained in many ways an outsider, looking dispassionately at British society. Resisting complete integration into his adopted country, Zoffany travelled for extended periods in Europe and spent six years in northern India. His body of work offers unique perspectives on key British and European institutions, including the art academy, the royal court, the theatre, and the families of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie. In India, Zoffany constructed new idioms for portraying the emerging colonial society in both public and private spheres, as well providing a nuanced account of the complex network of power relations, race, and culture at a critical moment in British imperial history.

The conference aims to address Zoffany’s art in the context of four locations that were central to his practice: Germany, England, Italy, and India. Proposals are sought that examine aspects of Zoffany’s work, career, and patrons, as well as the institutions and social circles with which he associated, in relation to these very different geographical and political environments. Please send an outline of no more than 500 words for a 25-minute presentation, attaching a brief CV. Proposals should be sent to Martin Postle, at martin.postle@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk, Gillian Forrester, at ycba.research@yale.edu

One Response

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  1. Marianne Palmer-Smith said, on March 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I write to you about the Zoffany Exhibition this month-will it include the painting of The Palmer Family, india?

    Kind regards
    Marianne Palmer-Smith
    Guerndey


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