Exhibition | Australian Encounters: Charting a Continent

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 20, 2014


Rock Wallaby © Natural History Museum, London; Rainbow Lorrikeets © Natural History Museum; London, and Cook’s Map of Australia 1773

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From the museum:

Australian Encounters: Charting a Continent
Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, North Yorkshire, 1 March — 3 November 2014

Cook and his successors completed the chart of the continent’s coastline and marvelled at the strange new creatures they saw—’unlike anything encountered before!’ He and his crew navigated in unknown treacherous waters, where the ship was holed on a coral reef, and then had to be beached and repaired. The voyage, however, led to the choice of Botany Bay as the site of a new colony, starting a trail of immense change throughout Australasia. This year marks the bicentenary of the publication of the entire coastline, completed by Matthew Flinders in 1814.

The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is housed in an historic building on the harbourside: John Walker’s House. In 1746 James Cook, then a youth aged seventeen, came here to be apprenticed to Captain John Walker. A beautiful 17th-century house, this is the sole remaining building which can with certainty be connected to Cook.

Historic Willoughby-Baylor House Reopens

Posted in museums by Editor on August 19, 2014


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From the Chrysler Museum:

The Willoughby-Baylor House, the long-time home of the Norfolk History Museum, reopens August 16 after a long closure for structural renovations and a complete re-imagination of the displays and artifacts related to the history and art of one of America’s original heritage port cities.

The ground floor greets visitors with a new exhibition, Democratic Designs: American Folk Paintings from the Chrysler Museum. “This exhibition is our largest display of American folk art in more than three decades,” said Crawford Alexander Mann III, the Brock Curator of American Art at the Chrysler Museum. “Few museums surpass the Chrysler’s depth in this field, and it’s time to put our masterpieces in the spotlight.”

Jeremiah Andrews, Covered Sugar Bowl, silver, ca. 1791.

Jeremiah Andrews, Covered Sugar Bowl, silver, ca. 1791 (Chrysler Museum)

On the second floor you’ll find The Norfolk Rooms. This suite of Norfolk-made art and artifacts includes period paintings, furniture, and silver. Highlights includes Cephas Thompson’s stately portrait of Norfolk attorney John Nivison, painted in 1812, and a delicately engraved silver sugar bowl by Jeremiah Andrews created around 1791. “Andrews and other local silversmiths often embossed their wares with both their initials and the word Norfolk, building name recognition for this city as a source of fine craftsmanship,” said Mann. “We’ve built new cases to show off more of their work, and we will switch these displays periodically.”

The Willoughby-Baylor House is a two-story brick townhouse built in 1794 by Captain William Willoughby, a descendent of one of Norfolk’s founding families. After falling into disrepair, it was saved from demolition and opened as a house museum in 1970. A complete look at the history of the Willoughby-Baylor House is available here.

Exhibition | Democratic Designs: American Folk Paintings

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 19, 2014

From the Chrysler Museum:

Democratic Designs: American Folk Paintings from the Chrysler Museum
Willoughby-Baylor House, Norfolk, Virginia, 16 August 2014 — 5 April 2015

Attributed to Joseph Badger, Portrait of a Child, oil on canvas, ca. 1750.

Attributed to Joseph Badger, Portrait of a Child, oil on canvas, ca. 1750 (Chrysler Museum of Art)

The Federal-era Willoughby-Baylor House provides a perfect historical setting for an exhibition of highlights from the Chrysler Museum’s deep early American collections.

Democratic Designs explores the work of artists with considerable ambition and talent, but limited access to professional training. The exhibition includes works by Ammi Phillips, Edward Hicks, Erastus Salisbury Field, and their contemporaries. The exhibition triumphantly displays individual creativity and native genius. Many pieces in this show are gifts from the pioneering collectors Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, sister of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., and her husband Col. Edgar William Garbisch.

The Baroque in the Construction of a National Culture in Francoist Spain

Posted in journal articles by Editor on August 18, 2014

From Taylor & Francis:

Bulletin of Spanish Studies: Hispanic Studies and Researches on Spain, Portugal and Latin America 91.5 (2014).

Special issue on ‘The Baroque in the Construction of a National Culture in Francoist Spain’, edited by Paula Barreiro López, Carey Kasten and Tobias Locker.

The baroque was both praised and attacked by critics for overwhelming the viewer through art. Yet its indisputable importance in Hispanic tradition and its characteristic intensity made the baroque an important element of culture during the regime of Francisco Franco (1939–1975). Not only did the baroque anchor official Francoist culture, its influence was also apparent in the regime’s politics, which used the baroque as an ideological legitimising tool in intellectual discourses. This interdisciplinary special issue is the first single volume to examine the influence of baroque tradition on Francoist Spain, analyzing cultural and political examples of twentieth-century reinterpretations of the baroque. For example, the concept of hispanidad, which underpinned Spain’s foreign policy and influenced international perceptions of the country, contained many baroque elements. By analysing its imprint on Spain’s culture industry both at home and abroad this special issue demonstrates the essential role the baroque played in the creation of a national and cultural identity during the dictatorship in Spain.

• Tobias Locker, “The Baroque in the Construction of a National Culture in Francoist Spain: An Introduction,” pp. 657–71.

• Till Kössler, “Education and the Baroque in Early Francoism,” pp. 673–96.

• Carey Kasten, “Staging the Golden Age in Latin America: José Tamayo’s Strategic Ascent in the Francoist Theatre Industry,” pp. 697–714.

• Paula Barreiro López, “Reinterpreting the Past: The Baroque Phantom during Francoism,” pp. 715–34.

• Noemi De Haro-García and Julián Díaz-Sánchez, “Artistic Dissidence under Francoism: The Subversion of the Cliché,” pp. 735–54.

• Johannes Großmann, ” ‘Baroque Spain’ As Metaphor. Hispanidad, Europeanism and Cold War Anti-Communism in Francoist Spain,” pp. 755–71.

• Julio Montero and María Antonia Paz, “Lo barroco en la televisión franquista: tipos y temas; actores y escenarios,” pp. 773–92.

Exhibition | Caroline Watson and Female Printmaking

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 18, 2014

Opening next month at The Fitzwilliam:

Caroline Watson and Female Printmaking in Late Georgian England
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 23 September 2014 — 4 January 2015

Curated by David Alexander

Caroline Watson (c.1760-1814), The Death of Cardinal Beaufort, stipple and etching after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1792.

Caroline Watson, The Death of Cardinal Beaufort, stipple and etching after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1792.

Caroline Watson (1760/61–1814) can be seen as the first British woman professional engraver. Many women in Britain had made prints before her day, but she was the first to make an extended career as an independent engraver. Nearly all those who had earlier made prints were either amateurs, making prints for amusement, or members of printmakers’ families, playing their part in family enterprises. The interest of her career is increased because she was working at a time when women were becoming more important as print buyers; some of her output reflected this change and the accompanying popularity of prints catering to feminine taste. She received support from other women, including recognition from Queen Charlotte, who appointed her ‘Engraver to the Queen’ in 1785, after she had been working for only five years. Later she was encouraged by the wealthy Bute family, particularly by the 4th Earl’s second wife, whose guest she was on several occasions at Luton Park, where Lord Bute, had one of the finest picture collections in England.

At the same time as finding support from other women Caroline Watson was encouraged by several influential men who saw advantage in using her skills; at the start of her career there were the painters Robert Edge Pine, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Ozias Humphry, as well as the printseller John Boydell, all of whom must have known her father; at the end of her career there was William Hayley, a poet and man of letters who befriended many artists. He both admired her as an ailing woman working on her own, and saw her as a reliable and talented collaborator. Having previously employed William Blake to engrave book illustrations he instead employed Caroline Watson on his Life of Romney, 1809. She did not owe her success to patronage, but to her great skill and dedication as an engraver; however the accidents of patronage were an important element in any artist’s career, especially for a woman who was of a retiring nature and not particularly robust in health.

The 200th anniversary of Watson’s death and the fact that the Fitzwilliam and the Folger Library own a number of unpublished letters by her to Hayley, which throw much light on her situation and way of life, provide a suitable opportunity not just to look at her career but to examine printmaking by women in the Britain of her time.

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Caroline Watson and Female Printmaking in Late Georgian England
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 24 September 2014

David Alexander, Honorary Keeper of British Prints and curator of the exhibition, will give a lunchtime talk at 1:15 on Wednesday, 24 September in the Seminar Room. Free admission is by token, 1 per person, available at the Courtyard Entrance desk from 12.45 on the day of the talk.

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Note (added 28 September 2014) — The catalogue is available from the Fitzwilliam:

David Alexander, Caroline Watson and Female Printmaking in Late Georgian England (Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum, 2014), 126 pages, ISBN 978-0957443464, £15.

WatsonPBCaroline Watson, who died in 1814, can be seen as the first professional woman engraver, in the sense that she worked independently rather than as a member of a family of engravers. Over a career of thirty years she engraved more than a hundred very delicate prints in the stipple, or dotted manner, which was particularly suited for reproducing miniature portraits. The catalogue, which contains a chronological list of her prints, puts her in the context of the female printmaking of her time, and shows how exceptional was her achievement in working in a male dominated profession. The catalogue carries a transcription of sixteen letters written to her last major employer, William Hayley, which throw much light on the working methods of engravers in general.

Exhibition | Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 17, 2014

Press release (4 August) from The Fitzwilliam:

Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 14 October 2014 — 25 January 2015
Musée Bourdelle, Paris, 31 March — 12 July 2015

Curated by Jane Munro

Fashion doll with costume and accessories, 1755–60; wood, gesso, paint, glass, human hair, knitted cotton, satin, silk, gilt braid, wire, silk gauze, linen, cotton, and silk satin, 60 x 42 x 43 cm (London: V&A Museum)

Fashion doll with costume and accessories, 1755–60; wood, gesso, paint, glass, human hair, knitted cotton, satin, silk, gilt braid, wire, silk gauze, linen, cotton, and silk satin, 60 x 42 x 43 cm (London: V&A Museum)

Every picture tells a story … but it does not always give away its secrets. For much of its existence, the artist’s mannequin, or lay figure, was one of art’s best-kept.

Now, for the first time, Silent Partners will unveil the mannequin’s secret life to show how, from being an inconspicuous studio tool, a piece of equipment as necessary as easel, pigments and brushes, the lay figure became the fetishised subject of the artist’s painting, and eventually, in the twentieth century, a work of art in its own right.

A common figure in the studios of painters and sculptors from the Renaissance onwards, this ‘artful implement’ was used to study perspective, arrange compositions, ‘rehearse’ the fall of light and shade and, especially, to paint drapery and clothing. But, while even the very greatest artists condoned its use, the mannequin best served its purpose by remaining ‘silent’: too present or visible in the finished picture, the mannequin could make figures appear stiff and unnatural, and so betray the tricks of the artist’s trade.

The nineteenth century was a turning point. Mannequin-making became a profession in its own right and Paris, especially, became a leading centre of production. Competition was fierce to create and perfect the ‘naturalistic’ mannequin, one that was life-size with an articulated skeleton that could move in realistic ways and an exterior finish that was painted and padded to look—sometimes eerily—human.

And as the mannequins became an increasingly sophisticated human replica, so they emerged from the anonymity of the studio to take their place, centre stage, on the canvas. At first the mannequin featured humorously, in witty visual games of ‘hide and seek’ and double entendre. However, throughout the course of the nineteenth century, painters such as Degas began to represent it in more troubling ways, playing on the unnerving psychological presence of a figure that was realistic, yet unreal, lifelike, yet lifeless. Others—photographers especially—explored in more voyeuristic terms how the relationship between male painter and female mannequin played out behind closed doors, revealing the studio as a place of potent erotic encounter.

Paul Huot,  Female Mannequin, ca. 1816; wood, metal, horsehair, wax, silk, cotton and painted papier-mâché head, 163 x 65 cm, (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Sammlung Angewandte Kunst)

Paul Huot, Female Mannequin, ca. 1816; wood, metal, horsehair, wax, silk, cotton and painted papier-mâché head, 163 x 65 cm, (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Sammlung Angewandte Kunst)

By the end of the century, innovations in the manufacture of mannequins shifted to the shop window dummy, the lay figure’s closest kin. Again, Paris led the way, and the fashion mannequin was transformed by firms such as Pierre Imans and Siégel from a schematic approximation of the human form into an uncannily realistic surrogate that inspired both consumerist longing and sexual fantasy.

This distinctively modern mannequin—one that reflected the life and elegance of its era—set a new challenge for twentieth-century painters and photographers. Featureless and expressionless, they haunted the paintings of the Italian metaphysical painters Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà, while the Surrealists celebrated the ‘modern’ mannequin as a manifestation of the ‘marvellous’, an object that could reveal the artist’s—and our—secret unconscious desires.

One of the most wide-ranging and ambitious shows ever hosted at the Fitzwilliam, the exhibition will feature over 180 paintings, drawings, books and photographs as well as fashion dolls, trade catalogues, a series of extraordinary patent documents and videos that will surprise and at times disturb. There will be paintings and drawings by Fra Bartolommeo, Cézanne, Poussin, Gainsborough, Millais, Ford Madox Brown, Courbet, Wilhelm Trübner, Kokoschka and Degas as well as photographs by and of Surrealist artists such as Bellmer, Raoul Ubac, Dalì and Man Ray; two works by Jake and Dinos Chapman will form a twenty-first-century coda. But among the most striking and fascinating exhibits will be the mannequins themselves: from beautifully carved sixteenth-century figures to haunting wooden effigies once belonging to Sickert (and maybe Hogarth) and painted dolls of full human height, top-of-the range models that were highly sought after by artists throughout Europe.

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From Yale UP:

Jane Munro, Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-0300208221, $65.

9780300208221The articulated human figure made of wax or wood has been a common tool in artistic practice since the 16th century. Its mobile limbs enable the artist to study anatomical proportion, fix a pose at will, and perfect the depiction of drapery and clothing. Over the course of the 19th century, the mannequin gradually emerged from the studio to become the artist’s subject, at first humorously, then in more complicated ways, playing on the unnerving psychological presence of a figure that was realistic, yet unreal—lifelike, yet lifeless.

Silent Partners locates the artist’s mannequin within the context of an expanding universe of effigies, avatars, dolls, and shop window dummies. Generously illustrated, this book features works by such artists as Poussin, Gainsborough, Degas, Courbet, Cézanne, Kokoschka, Dalí, Man Ray, and others; the astute, perceptive text examines their range of responses to the uncanny and highly suggestive potential of the mannequin.

Jane Munro is a curator in the Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum and director of studies in history of art at Christ’s College at the University of Cambridge.


HBA Travel Award for Graduate Students

Posted in graduate students by Editor on August 17, 2014

Historians of British Travel Award
Proposals due by 15 September 2014

HBA is accepting applications for this year’s Travel Award. The award is designated for a graduate student member of Historians of British Art who will be presenting a paper on British art or visual culture at an academic conference in 2015. The award of $750 is intended to offset travel costs. Applicants must be current members of HBA. To apply, send a letter of request, a copy of the letter of acceptance from the organizer of the conference session, an abstract of the paper to be presented, a budget of estimated expenses (noting what items may be covered by other resources), and a CV to Renate Dohmen, Prize Committee Chair, HBA, brd4231@louisiana.edu. The deadline is September 15, 2014.


2013 Dissertation Listings

Posted in graduate students by Editor on August 16, 2014

From caa.reviews:

Dissertation Listings

PhD dissertation authors and titles in art history and visual studies from US and Canadian institutions are published each year in caa.reviews. Titles can be browsed by subject category or year.

Titles are submitted once a year by each institution granting the PhD in art history and/or visual studies. Submissions are not accepted from individuals, who should contact their department chair or secretary for more information. Department chairs: please consult our dissertation submission guidelines for instructions. The annual deadline is January 15 for titles from the preceding year.

In 2003, CAA revised the subject area categories of art history and visual studies used for all our listings, including dissertations. These categories are listed in the Dissertation Submission Guidelines.

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The index for 2013 lists four eighteenth-century dissertations completed:

• Beachdel, Thomas, “Landscape Aesthetics and the Sublime in France, 1750–1815” (CUNY, P. Mainardi)

• Jarvis, M. W., “Noir/Blanc: Representations of Colonialism and Cosmopolitanism in Eighteenth-Century Painting” (UC San Diego, N. Bryson)

• Knowles, Marika, “Pierrot’s Costume: Theater, Curiosity, and the Subject of Art in France, 1665–1860” (Yale, C. Armstrong)

• Lenhard, Danielle, “Reading with One Hand: Suggestive Folds and Subversive Consumption in Jean-Honore Fragonard’s The Bolt” (Stony Brook University, J. Monteyne)

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and forty-three dissertations in progress, including:

• Athens, Elizabeth, “Figuring a World: William Bartram’s Natural History” (Yale, T. Barringer)

• Hafera, Alison, “Images of Mourning and Melancholia in France, 1780–1830” (UNC Chapel Hill, M.Sheriff)

• Helprin, Alexandra, “Art and Servitude on the Sheremetev Estates” (Columbia, A. Higonnet)

• Lee, Hyejin, “‘Tout en l’air’: Visual and Material Representations of Air in Eighteenth-Century France” (UNC Chapel Hill, M. Sheriff)

• Mayer, Tamar, “Consequences of Drawing: Self and History in Jacques-Louis David’s Preparatory Practices” (Chicago, R. Ubl, M. Ward)

• Peterson, Laurel O., “The Decorated Interior: Artistic Production in the British Country House, 1688–1745” (Yale, T. Barringer)

• Polzak, Kailani, “Picturing Circumnavigation and Science: English, French, Russian, and Prussian Observations of Oceania, 1768–1822” (UC Berkeley, D. Grigsby)

• Ridlen, Michael T., “Prud’hon and the Graceful Style” (Iowa, D. Johnson)

• Strasik, Amanda K., “Representations of Childhood in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century France” (Iowa, D. Johnson)


New Book | Art at the Origin

Posted in books by Editor on August 16, 2014

From the publisher:

Hans Christian Hönes, Kunst am Ursprung. Das Nachleben der Bilder und die Souveränität des Antiquars (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2014), 330 pages, ISBN 978-3837627503, 38€.

9783837627503_720x720The book provides a systematic study of the spectacular and often highly speculative art theories and art-historical narratives of such renowned antiquaries as Pierre d’Hancarville, Richard Payne Knight, and James Christie. Hans Christian Hönes analyses their theories on the origins of art and interprets the theory of history resulting from these hypotheses on the beginnings of art as a narrative of »survival«, bearing a surprisingly close resemblance to ideas culminating around 1900 in the writings of Aby Warburg.

Die spektakulären und höchst spekulativen Geschichtsentwürfe und Bildtheorien bedeutender Antiquare wie Pierre d’Hancarville und Richard Payne Knight stehen in diesem Buch erstmals im Fokus der Analyse. Hans Christian Hönes beleuchtet deren Theorien über den Ursprung der Kunst und das, so die These, daraus resultierende Narrativ eines bis in die eigene Gegenwart virulenten »Nachlebens« dieser Ursprünge. So offenbart sich ein Geschichtsentwurf, der überraschende Parallelen zu Theorien aufweist, wie sie um 1900 im Werk Aby Warburgs kulminieren. Die Studie zeigt: Das Anliegen der Protagonisten ist weniger die Suche nach historistischer Wahrheit—sondern vielmehr die
Konstruktion einer souverän entworfenen, polemischen und
romanhaften Kunstübung.

Hans Christian Hönes is Research Associate of the international research group Bilderfahrzeuge: Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology at the Warburg-Institute London.


Hand Fans, Goose Necks, and Archery Contests

Posted in exhibitions, journal articles by Editor on August 15, 2014


Barthélemy du Pan, The Children of Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1746
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

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Pierre-Henri Biger’s website dedicated to the history of fans, Place de l’Eventail, recently published a notice related to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century target contests, commonly held in mid-August, involving a live goose (or more precisely, the goose’s neck, cou de l’oie).1 Biger quotes from Paul Sébillot’s Le Folklore de France (Paris, 1906), to make sense of a mis au rectangle (pictured at the website):

In Grez-Doiceau, in the Walloon Brabant, the second day of the fair, a live goose was hanging from a rope which brought together the upper ends of two long poles stuck in the ground. A man perched on a trestle remembered all the calamities which had hit the town during the past year, and accused the goose to be the cause. . .2

Installation view of The First Georgians, The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

Installation view of The First Georgians, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 2014.

With The First Georgians exhibition (on view at The Queen’s Gallery in London until October 12) still fresh in my memory, it’s hard to not to think of Barthélemy du Pan’s 1746 large-scale portrait of The Children of Frederick, Prince of Wales (Royal Collection), which depicts the future George III as having just struck a wooden popinjay.3 The prince wears the tartan of the Royal Company of Archers—which, as a British regimental uniform, was exempt from the 1745 ban on Scottish national dress. Bearing in mind Desmond Shawe-Taylor’s suggestion that we understand the picture as “an early example of the process by which Scottish identity became something manly and romantic, rather than threatening and rebellious,” I wonder if rustic traditions of shooting a living bird as part of a celebration with ‘atonement/scapegoat’ undertones might add another layer of relevant associations.4 I’m not sure how far I would push the point: the two contests weren’t the same thing (particularly from an animal rights perspective), and with folk festivals, it’s difficult to pin down specifics (times, places, meanings, &c.). Still, Biger’s piece, at the very least, suggests a larger context for archery contests and their pictorial representation in the eighteenth century and might encourage us to look to fans for useful points of comparison.

Craig Ashley Hanson


1. Pierre-Henri Biger’s piece is available in both English and French. On the topic generally, see Biger’s recent article, “Introduction à l’éventail européen aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles,” Seventeenth-Century French Studies 36 (July 2014): 84–92. The issue, edited by Katherine Ibbett, is dedicated to the topic of fans. The table of contents is available as a PDF file here.

2. Paul Sébillot, Le Folklore de France (Paris, 1906), volume 3, pp. 247–48.

3. The Royal Collection’s online entry for Barthélemy du Pan’s The Children of Frederick, Prince of Wales is available here.

4. Desmond Shawe-Taylor makes the point in the entry for the painting from the exhibition catalogue, which he also edited, The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy, 1714–60 (London: Royal Collection Trust, 2014), p. 366.

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