Exhibition | Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 20, 2014

From the press release for the exhibition:

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint
The Wallace Collection, London, 12 March — 7 June 2015

Curated by Lucy Davis, Mark Hallett, and Alexandra Gent

A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts. –Joshua Reynolds (1784)

The Wallace Collection’s spring exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on the work of a towering figure of British painting, Joshua Reynolds. Although widely regarded as one of the most important and influential painters of the period, Reynolds’s reputation as an ‘establishment’ artist masks his unquenchable thirst for innovation and his experimental approach to the practice and materials of painting. The exhibition explores Reynolds’s painting techniques, pictorial compositions and narratives through the display of 20 paintings, archival sources and x-ray images.


Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Abington as Miss Prue in ‘Love for Love’ by William Congreve, 1771 (New Haven Yale Center for British Art)

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint will draw upon the significant works within the Wallace Collection and major loans from the UK, other European countries and the USA, all chosen to reveal Reynolds’s compositional and narrative experimentation and his unorthodox choice of materials, admixtures of paint and complex layering techniques. The exhibition reveals discoveries made during a four-year research project into the outstanding collection of twelve Reynolds paintings at the Wallace Collection.

With support from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, TEFAF, the Hertford House Trust, various private donors, and Trusts and drawing on the research expertise of the National Gallery in London and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, the exhibition spans most of Reynolds’s career and includes portraits, ‘fancy’ pictures and history painting.

On display will be celebrated portraits such as Nelly O’Brien (c.1762–64), Mrs Abington as Miss Prue (1771) and Reynolds’s own Self Portrait Shading the Eyes (1747–49) together with experimental studies and a canvas showing how Reynolds observed the effects of different combinations of colour and media. Collectively, alongside the hidden stories behind the paintings, archive resources and x-ray-images, the exhibition demonstrates the diversity of Reynolds’s artistic production, his highly original approach to image-making, composition and narrative, and prompts us to review opinions and perceptions of this truly experimental artist.

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint has been curated by Dr Lucy Davis, Curator of Old Master Pictures at the Wallace Collection, Professor Mark Hallett, Director of Studies in British Art at the Paul Mellon Centre and Alexandra Gent, also responsible for paintings conservation for the Reynolds Research Project. Director of the Wallace Collection, Dr Christoph Martin Vogtherr initiated the Reynolds Research Project. The Wallace Collection is a leading centre for the study of Joshua Reynolds and owns twelve important paintings by the artist dating from 1759 until the end of his career, covering several important aspects of his oeuvre: bust-length, half-length and full-length portraits of male and female sitters, ‘fancy’ pictures and a rare history painting.

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From Paul Holberton:

Lucy Davis and Mark Hallet, eds., Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-0900785757, £30 / $50.

9780900785757_p0_v2_s600One of Britain’s most important and influential painters, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) is justly celebrated for his dynamic portraiture, his poignant ‘fancy pictures’, his ambitious history paintings and his role as the first President of Britain’s Royal Academy.

This catalogue, published to accompany a major exhibition at the Wallace Collection, provides a fresh perspective on the artist, focusing on his innovative, often highly experimental approaches to the practice and materials of painting. Building on the many discoveries made during a four-year research project into the outstanding collection of the artist’s works at the Wallace Collection, Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint investigates his radical manipulation of pigments, oils, glazes and varnishes. It traces his experiments with colour, tone and handling, reveals his continual temptation to rework and revise his pictures, and illuminates his highly creative responses to the new exhibition culture of his day. It also suggests the extent to which the artist’s work was founded upon a radical agenda of pictorial assemblage, in which he mixed anew the motifs, narratives and visual effects he drew from in the great art of the past. Finally, it demonstrates how Reynolds’s innovations as a painter were often the product of collaboration—in part, with his assistants and his students, but, more importantly, with his patrons and subjects, with whom he continually explored the possibilities of gesture, expression, performance and role-play.

The catalogue features an introduction, seven essays by leading scholars, curators and conservators, a chronology of the artist’s life and career, and detailed entries on a range of Reynolds’s pictures, at the centre of which are the Wallace Collection’s own collection of works by the artist.

Call for Papers | Joshua Reynolds and Artistic Experiment

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 20, 2014

From the call for papers:

Challenging Materials: Joshua Reynolds and Artistic Experiment in the Eighteenth Century
The Wallace Collection, London, 15 May 2015

Proposals due by 13 February 2015


Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Mrs. Mary Robinson, 1783–84 (London: The Wallace Collection)

This conference, which accompanies the exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint at the Wallace Collection, is designed to investigate and contextualise the artist’s famously experimental practice. Building upon the technical findings of the Reynolds Research Project at the Wallace Collection, and also on a range of recent conservation projects on Reynolds’s paintings, it will explore his distinctive manipulation of paint as a medium. Papers are encouraged that will offer new perspectives on Reynolds’s experimental forms of pictorial composition, narrative and allusion, and to look afresh at the dynamic interactions between the artist, his sitters and his models in the studio.

As well as focusing on Reynolds’s own art in detail, the conference seeks to place his experimental activities within the context of wider artistic, cultural and scientific practices of the eighteenth century. How did his own attitudes to the fundamental materials of his profession—to pigments, oils, varnishes and glazes—relate to those of other artists, both from his own period and before? How did his distinctive engagement with the conventions of portraiture, fancy pictures and history painting compare to the ways in which other practitioners reworked such pictorial genres? Can we contextualise his painting within a broader project of cultural experimentation and innovation in the period, one that is also visible in the spheres of literary, theatrical and musical production? And, finally, might it be helpful to understand his work in relation to the forms of scientific and technological experimentation that developed in the Georgian era, whether institutionalised or unofficial? The Challenging Materials conference is designed to address such questions, and in doing so to shed fresh light not only on Reynolds’s own work, but also on the visual culture of which it was a part.

This one-day conference is being organised by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Wallace Collection. It will take place at the Wallace Collection and includes a morning viewing of Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint. Substantial time will be granted for discussion; refreshments, lunch and a drinks reception will also be provided.

Proposals of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers should be sent to Ella Fleming at efleming@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by Friday 13th February 2015. Please also include a short biography of c. 150 words in your application.

Fellowship with The Phillips Collection and GWU

Posted in fellowships by Editor on December 20, 2014

From H-ArtHist:

Postdoctoral Fellowship with The Phillips Collection and George Washington University
Applications due by 15 January 2015

The Phillips Collection, in partnership with the George Washington University, offers a postdoctoral fellowship to support research and teaching on topics in American, European, or non-western art, including photography, from 1780 to the present. The next fellowship term is July 2015 through June 2016.

The appointment carries a departmental affiliation with the George Washington University’s Department of Fine Arts and Art History and with The Phillips Collection. The fellow receives a stipend and generous benefits package, as well as various university/museum privileges, including access to facilities, libraries of institutions, equipment, support staff, curators, and faculty.

The fellowship is open to untenured scholars who have received their PhDs within the past five years. Applicants must have successfully defended their thesis prior to the application deadline (no later than January 15, 2015) and their doctoral degree must be conferred no later than June 30, 2015, prior to the start day of July 1, 2015. Preference will be given to applicants whose projects focus on subjects related to the museum’s areas of collecting and reinterpret the topic via innovative methodological approaches or alternative perspectives that may cross national boundaries and art historical time periods.

The next fellowship opportunity is July 2015 through June 2016. Deadline for receipt of the application is January 15, 2015. To apply, send a cover letter, CV, a one-page research proposal, a sample syllabus for a proposed undergraduate or graduate course, and two letters of reference. All application materials must be sent electronically in one PDF document to fellowships@phillipscollection.org. Letters of recommendation may be submitted together with the application materials or sent separately by the recommenders to the same e-mail address.


Hodson-Brown Fellowship, 2015–16

Posted in fellowships by Editor on December 20, 2014

Hodson-Brown Fellowship, 2015–16
Applications due by 15 March 2015

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the John Carter Brown Library invite applications for the Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship, a unique research and writing fellowship. The deadline for applications for the 2015–2016 Hodson-Brown Fellowship is March 15, 2015. The fellowship supports academics, independent scholars, writers, filmmakers, novelists, and artists working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830.

Fellowship award: $20,000 plus housing and university privileges.
Duration: two months of research in Providence, RI (any time between September and May) and two months of writing in Chestertown, Md. (any time between May and August).
Residence: In Providence, a private room in the John Carter Brown Library’s Fellows’ Residence; in Chestertown, exclusive occupancy of a restored circa-1735 house.
Work space: In Providence, space in the John Carter Brown Library; in Chestertown, a private office in the circa-1745 waterfront Custom House, home of the Starr Center.

Additional information is available here»

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