Enfilade

Exhibition | The Path of Nature: French Paintings, 1785-1850

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 26, 2013

From The Met:

The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 22 January — 21 April 2013

Lake Fucino and the Abruzzi Mountains

Joseph Bidauld, Lake Fucino and the Abruzzi
Mountains, 10 x 19 inches, ca. 1789 (NY: Met)

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In 2003 the Metropolitan Museum acquired a significant group of paintings spanning a key period in European history, beginning with the advent of the French Revolution and concluding with the reign of Louis-Philippe. Assembled by the New York connoisseur Wheelock Whitney between 1972 and 2000, this collection reveals a rich tradition of painting out of doors nearly a century before Impressionism, thus amplifying the role of the natural world as a source of inspiration to artists on the cusp of the modern epoch. This exhibition of fifty paintings is the first to be devoted entirely to the Whitney collection and includes examples by numerous painters who are thought to be represented in no other American museum.

PathofNature_featured2The Whitney collection is remarkable for its concentration of plein-air oil studies by artists ranging from Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes to Camille Corot. This is complemented by a strong representation of finished landscapes, history subjects, genre, and portraiture: in short, the full scope of painting that one could expect to find in a Parisian cabinet d’amateur, or private collection, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Crossing the boundaries of subject matter and lying at the heart of the collection is a group of paintings executed by northern artists drawn to Rome by its combination of antiquity and natural beauty. A number of these painters received from the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, the Rome Prize to study painting in Italy, for example, François-Édouard Picot, Léon Pallière, Charles Rémond, and André Giroux. Others traveled there independently, such as Joseph Bidauld, Simon Denis, François-Marius Granet, and Théodore Caruelle Aligny. The exhibition also illuminates one of the most popular developments in French painting during the 1820s, the depiction of Italian peasants, brigands, and clerics, by such representative figures as Claude Bonnefond, Jean-François Montessuy, and Louis-Léopold Robert.

Call for Papers | Images of the Art Museum

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 26, 2013

Images of the Art Museum: Connecting Gaze and Discourse in the History of Museology
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, 26-28 September 2013

Proposals due by 15 April 2013

Organized by the Max Planck Research Group Objects in the Contact Zone: The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things, directed by Eva-Maria Troelenberg.

Scholars normally consider the institution of the museum to have arisen in Europe. Historians have traced its origin back to the collections of the Renaissance princes and the ‘cabinets of curiosity’, the ‘Kunstkammern’ and ‘Wunderkammern’, literally art chambers and wonder chambers, of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Western Europe. From their initial establishment until today, museums have become increasingly elaborate institutions, the purpose of which is not simply to exhibit collections of beautiful artefacts, but also to become a social agency able to interact with a different kind of public. In particular, in recent years, it seems as though ‘the museum’ has become a geographically universal or ‘global’ institution. At the same time, museum discourses are almost inevitably entangled with political questions, implying definitions of cultural values and privileges of interpretation.

Since the early 1990s, the emerging field of museum studies has seen rapid expansion in the critical study of museums. New Museology started to question the institution and its functions. Anthropological approaches to the object, theories on the aesthetics of perception or ‘Bildakt’ have affected our ideas of the artwork. The current museum boom and the ensuing new wave of historiographical and theoretical writing on museums have on the one hand addressed notions of ‘the museum’ as a temple, a cultural storage or even a universal symbol of enlightenment. On the other hand, more pro-active postmodern approaches work with concepts of the museum as a forum, a place of participation, but also as a machine or even a brand. (more…)