Editorial | Digital Textbooks / Thomas Buser’s History of Drawing

Posted in books, resources by Editor on January 31, 2015


Jacques-Louis David, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1794. Black chalk, pen and black ink, gray wash with white heightening on two sheets and five fragments of paper pasted together, 25.7 x 34 cm (Paris: Louvre; photo: T. Le Mage).
Click here for more information.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

As someone regularly faced with assigning new editions of textbooks that seem increasingly overpriced, I wonder how long it will be until resources such as the basic art history survey text are available digitally for free. Yes, these are choppy waters—pedagogically, methodologically, ideologically, and as business practice—further complicated by recent legislation, primarily from California: SB48 signed into law in 2010 along with SB 1052 and SB 10532 signed in 2012. But I think the stakes are high in our getting this right.

Thomas Buser’s History of Drawing, which surveys Western drawing from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, seems worth noting to me as an early example of what we might see more of in the coming years. I imagine most instructors would assign pieces in conjunction with other materials, but the price (free) facilitates such flexibility. If students in a studio drawing course are introduced to eighteenth-century artists they otherwise wouldn’t know about, that seems useful to me. In the context of a survey, I can imagine building one or two individual class sessions around the topic of drawing with this as a starting point for students. While there aren’t notes—an all too common and unfortunate characteristic of the textbook genre that could be rectified in the digital realm—there is a reasonably extensive bibliography, excluding (at least presently) the twentieth century.

With permissions an ever moving target, we’ve made huge strides during the last decade toward more open policies. Buser has adopted an approach that likely wouldn’t work with publishers (or profits) involved, but again this strikes me as a gain. If the image selection is admirable, in most cases the image quality is not. On the other hand, Buser’s text is also a work in progress, one of the biggest advantages of this new format.

I don’t usually voice opinions too loudly here (I try not to voice many opinions even softly and I’m certainly not speaking on behalf of HECAA), but here’s my concern: if art history—and I have in mind a discipline much larger than the eighteenth century—doesn’t move toward more affordable digital options, we will be further marginalized, characterized as an intellectual luxury, available only to a small, elite segment of higher education. At least at its best, the museum as an institution is premised on public access; it’s time we find some way to extend this vision to introductory art history texts.

Craig Hanson

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From Busser’s History of Drawing:

History of Drawing is a textbook and reference book available free to anyone who loves drawings. . . .Thomas Buser earned his doctorate in Art History from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1974. He taught courses in Baroque Art and the course History of Prints and Drawings at the University of Louisville until his retirement in 2005. He has published Religious Art in the Nineteenth Century in Europe and America (two volumes, 2002) and the textbook Experiencing Art Around Us (second edition, 2006).


The Art Bulletin, December 2014

Posted in journal articles, reviews by Editor on January 31, 2015

The eighteenth century in The Art Bulletin:

The Art Bulletin 96 (December 2014)


• Cheng-hua Wang, “Whither Art History? A Global Perspective on Eighteenth-Century Chinese Art and Visual Culture,” pp. 379–94.


The Chang Gate (left), 1734, and Three Hundred and Sixty Trades (right), woodblock prints produced in Suzhou, ink and colors on paper; each is 43 x 22 inches (Hiroshima: Umi-Mori Art Museum)

Here, I endeavor to engage the global turn by exploring the connectedness of the world in art that drew China and Europe together in the eighteenth century. My main purpose is to highlight the new scholarship on the art and visual culture of the High Qing dynasty (ca. 1680s–1795). These recent studies reveal that the extent to which the globalized situation was engaged in the art production of the High Qing court and local societies far exceeds previous expectations. Notwithstanding the revered legacy of traditional research on Sino-European artistic interactions of the early modern period, it did not pay much attention to the multiple routes, channels, and contact zones within a global context, nor did it make in-depth explorations into the agency of the Qing emperors, painters, printmakers, and consumers on the issue of how Qing art adopted European styles. Consequently, these new lines of thought have, on the one hand, increased the importance of the comparatively marginal subfield of early modern Sino-European artistic interactions in the studies of Chinese art and, on the other, generated a major revision—not merely a fine-tuning—of the dominant narrative of High Qing art and visual culture (379) . . .

• Nóra Veszprémi, “The Emptiness behind the Mask: The Second Rococo in Painting in Austria and Hungary,” pp. 441–62.


József Borsos, The Morning after the Masquerade (Girls after the Ball) 1850 (Budapest, Hungarian National Gallery)

At the time of its revival in mid-nineteenth-century Austria, the Rococo style was suffused with often contradictory meanings. Regarded as both outdated and fashionable, Austrian and French, simple and pompous, superficial and full of spiritual value, it prompted musings on time, history, and national identity. Closely connected to both the decorative arts and the imagery of popular prints, paintings of the Rococo revival often evoked contemporary concerns about the commodification of art in the industrialized modern world. The ambiguous responses engendered by the Rococo gained special significance in the context of the political tension between Austria and Hungary.


• Rebecca Zorach, Review of Andrea Feeser, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Beth Fowkes Tobin, eds., The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400–1800 (Ashgate, 2012); and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory beyond Green (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), pp. 489–91.

• Brian Kane, Review of Whitney Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 491–93.

Call for Papers | Artistic Correspondences: Rome and Europe, 1700–1900

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 31, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Artistic Correspondences: Rome and Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Rome, 15–16 June 2015

Proposals due by 1 March 2015

Epistolary correspondence among artists is a privileged source to unravel the dynamics of intellectual exchange across regional and national boundaries, as it requires a research agenda necessarily focused on ‘mobility’, and a transnational approach and methodology avoiding the rhetorical pitfalls of past European historiography. By focusing on the cosmopolitan context of 18th- and 19th-century Rome as a paradigmatic field of enquiry, the research network Artistic Correspondences: Rome and Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries aims to recast epistolary exchanges among artists as an inescapable source of information on the transnational circulation of a shared stock of artworks, people, books, models, technical and critical skills across Europe. The organizing research team would like to meet other academics and research groups working on the same topic in order to explore new opportunities of collaboration at a European level.

The workshop to be held in Rome, 15–16 June 2015, is intended to explore new forms of research collaboration and dissemination of sources (e.g. networks, databases, digital repositories, etc.). The ultimate goal of the workshop is to initiate a debate leading to the construction of a digital platform of artists’ correspondences in the modern era. The workshop endorses a synchronic and diachronic approach to the study of artistic correspondences that will enable the mapping of geographical trajectories and cultural exchanges. We particularly welcome proposals illustrating the role of artists’ letters as a tool to study the history and historiography of collections from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective; as a source offering new clues on the education and professional training of artists and their self promotion (e.g., the links between artists and institutions, artists and patrons, artists and intellectuals, etc.); as a document to trace the circulation of ideas and practices, rather than for sketching individual biographies (with a focus, therefore, on itineraries, geographies, social exchange, etc.); as a material providing insight on technical and specific terminology (e.g. words of practice, description of works of art, etc.).

Abstracts (maximum 200 words) for 25-minute papers should be submitted to Serenella Rolfi (serenella.rolfi@uniroma3.it) before 1 March 2015. We intend to provide travel allowance and/or accommodation for speakers with accepted papers.

Conference Committee: Serenella Rolfi (Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università di Roma TRE), Giovanna Capitelli (Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università della Calabria), Susanne Adina Meyer (Dipartimento di Scienze della formazione, dei beni culturali e del turismo, Università di Macerata), Ilaria Miarelli Mariani (Dipartimento di Lettere, Arti e Scienze Sociali, Università di Chieti), Christoph Frank and Carla Mazzarelli (Istituto di Storia e Teoria dell’arte e dell’architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana), Maria Pia Donato (CNRS Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine). With the cooperation of KNIR, Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut Rome and of the Svenska Institutet i Rom.


New Book | The Marble Index: Roubiliac and Sculptural Portraiture

Posted in books by Editor on January 30, 2015

From Yale UP:

Malcolm Baker, The Marble Index: Roubiliac and Sculptural Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2015), 420 pages, ISBN: 978-0300204346, £50 / $85.

9780300204346Providing the first thorough study of sculptural portraiture in 18th-century Britain, this important book challenges both the idea that portrait necessarily implies painting and the assumption that Enlightenment thought is manifest chiefly in French art. By considering the bust and the statue as genres, Malcolm Baker, a leading sculpture scholar, addresses the question of how these seemingly traditional images developed into ambitious forms of representation within a culture in which many core concepts of modernity were being formed. The leading sculptor at this time in Britain was Louis François Roubiliac (1702–1762), and his portraits of major figures of the day, including Alexander Pope, Isaac Newton, and George Frederic Handel, are examined here in detail. Remarkable for their technical virtuosity and visual power, these images show how sculpture was increasingly being made for close and attentive viewing. The Marble Index eloquently establishes that the heightened aesthetic ambition of the sculptural portrait was intimately linked with the way in which it could engage viewers familiar with Enlightenment notions of perception and selfhood.

Malcolm Baker is distinguished professor of art history at the University of California, Riverside.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊


1 Introduction: Addressing the Sculptural Portrait

Part I  Characteristics: The Bust and the Statue as Genres
2 The Place of Sculptural Portraiture
3 Sculptural Conventions and Meaning
4 Setting up the Bust and the Statue
5 Making Images

Part II  Exemplary Cases: Sitters, Patrons, Sculptors and Viewers
6 A Portrait Sculptor, his Sitters and his Viewers: Roubiliac and his Career
7 Celebrating the Illustrious
8 Groups, Networks, and Connections
9 Contemporary Heads

Illustration credits

A detailed table of contents is available (as a PDF file) here»

Lecture | Jenny Uglow on Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 29, 2015

This evening at 8:00, in connection with the Waterloo 200 events:

Jenny Uglow, In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars
Army & Navy Club, 36–39 Pall Mall, London, 29 January 2015

Jenny-UglowJoin prize-winning author Jenny Uglow as she explores the many ways in which the Napoleonic Wars touched the lives of ordinary people. Discover the moving story of everyday people, struggling through hard times and opening new horizons that would change their country for a century ahead.

Bookings for the Celebrity Speakers can be made online at nam.ac.uk or via the ticket hotline on 020 7881 6600. Standard tickets are available for £10. SOFNAM, Students, Military and Senior tickets are available for £7.50. Proof of ID is required when collecting tickets. Concessions can only be booked via the ticket hotline.

The Army & Navy Club offer a two-course dinner in their Coffee Room fine dining restaurant before each talk. Combined ‘Dinner & Talk’ bookings can only be made by calling 020 7881 6600. Standard tickets are available for £32.50 and concessions for £30.

Call for Papers | Irishness? Changing Perspectives on Irish Identity

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 29, 2015

From the conference website:

Irishness? Changing Perspectives on Irish Identity, 1700–1914
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, 14 May 2015

Proposals due by 28 February 2015

Papers are invited from postgraduates and early career researchers for a one-day workshop at the University of Edinburgh. The workshop will explore the changes that took place in Irish society and identity formation between 1700 and 1914. We hope to move away from the standard narrative of rebellion and famine which currently dominate conferences on Irish history and studies. While acknowledging the role played by politics and rebellion in the moulding of Irish society, this workshop will approach the changes in how Irish people saw themselves, and how they were seen by others, from angles that are often excluded from the mainstream academic narrative. We hope to attract papers from students of cultural, social and economic history, history of art, literature, and other fields to create a truly interdisciplinary discussion on the idea of what constitutes Irish identity.

In accordance with the non-traditional approach of this workshop, the format of the event will consist of morning and afternoon panels of papers from a variety of disciplines, followed by a late afternoon roundtable discussion, which although led by a senior academic, will encourage all attendees to engage on issues raised by the research earlier in the day, and on discussion of the future of the wider field of Irish Studies.

While this one-day workshop will be primarily concerned with Ireland and Irish society, we are keen to stress that Irish society was not purely influenced by the events within the national-boundaries of Ireland and the wider United Kingdom. To this end, this workshop will also incorporate notions of, and ideas about, ‘Irishness’ which involve those who self-identified, or were identified by others, as Irish, whatever their ancestry, religious inheritance, current location, or personal allegiances.

Abstracts of 200–300 words that relate to this theme are sought. Please send enquiries and abstracts to organisers Maeve O’Dwyer and Sophie Cooper (perspectivesonirishness@gmail.com) by 28 February 2015. The workshop will take place on 14 May 2015 at the University of Edinburgh.

New Book | Architecture 1600–2000: Art and Architecture of Ireland

Posted in books by Editor on January 29, 2015

From Yale UP:

Edited by Rolf Loeber, Hugh Campbell, Livia Hurley, John Montague, and Ellen Rowley, Architecture 1600–2000: Art and Architecture of Ireland (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2014), 600 pages, ISBN: 978-0300179224, $150.

9780300179224Art and Architecture of Ireland is an authoritative and fully illustrated survey that encompasses the period from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century. The five volumes explore all aspects of Irish art—from high crosses to installation art, from illuminated manuscripts to Georgian houses and Modernist churches, from tapestries and sculptures to oil paintings, photographs and video art. This monumental project provides new insights into every facet of the strength, depth and variety of Ireland’s artistic and architectural heritage.

Architecture, 1600–2000 is the most complete survey of architecture in Ireland ever published. The essays in this volume cover all aspects of Ireland’s built environment, not only buildings but infrastructure, landscape development, public and private construction and much else. The volume challenges and expands the traditional understanding of Irish ‘architecture’, giving novel and exciting interpretations of the field and, by means of many striking illustrations, encourages us to think anew about the environment that surrounds us.

Rolf Loeber holds professorships at the University of Pittsburgh, where he oversees research on the causes of crime as well as mental health problems in young people. He has published extensively on Irish architecture, the history of fiction, and social, economic and plantation history. Hugh Campbell is professor of architecture at University College, Dublin, where he is currently head of the School of Architecture. He has published extensively on subjects from Irish architecture and urbanism to photography and urban space. Livia Hurley is an architect and architectural historian working in private practice in Dublin. Her research interests include urban history and the study of industrial sites and monuments. John Montague is assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. His research interests include medieval and early modern architecture, and urban mapping. He is co-author, with Colm Lennon, of John Rocque’s Dublin: A Guide to the Georgian City (Dublin, 2010). Ellen Rowley is an architectural historian, researching 20th-century architecture in Ireland and beyond. She has written extensively on architectural modernism and edited a collection of Irish architectural writing: Patterns of Thought (2012). She is a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin.

New Book | Nathaniel Clements: Politics, Fashion, and Architecture

Posted in books by Editor on January 29, 2015

Published by Four Court Press and available from Artbooks.com  (the book launch takes place in Dublin on Thursday, 12 February 2015 at the Royal Irish Academy) . . .

Anthony Malcomson, Nathaniel Clements (1705–77): Politics, Fashion, and Architecture in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015), 290 pages, ISBN: 978-1851829149, €55 / $75.

SetWidth440-malcomson-clements-architectureThis book argues that Nathaniel Clements was an enlightened patron of architecture, not a practising architect, and that he influenced upper-class residential development in Dublin and popularised a particular form of Palladian ‘villa-farm’ (or modest country house) partly because of who he was—a high-ranking and well-connected government official and an arbiter of fashion and taste. The two places where his architectural influence is still strongly felt today are the high-fashion enclave of Henrietta Street, Dublin, of which he created about one-third in the period 1733 c.1740, and the Phoenix Park, of which he was Ranger, where he made important improvements to the landscape and where he built in 1752–57 a new Ranger’s Lodge which forms the nucleus of today’s Áras an Uachtaráin. The book provides a detailed analysis of these aesthetic achievements and (following Clements’ death) of the re casting of the Ranger’s Lodge as a British viceregal residence during the period 1782–c.1800. It concludes with a broader discussion of the ‘amateur’ tradition in British and Irish architecture and of Clements’ place among the ‘amateurs’ who dominated the art form in the decades before the coming-of-age of a fully-fledged architectural profession.

Anthony Malcomson was director of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland from 1988 until 1998, and during a career in archives which began in 1967 has sorted and listed the papers from c.75 Irish country houses. His publications, mainly based on the evidence of this material, include Nathaniel Clements: Government and the Governing Elite in Ireland, 1725–75 (2005), Virtues of a Wicked Earl: The Life and Legend of William Sydney Clements, 3rd Earl of Leitrim, 1806–78 (2009), and John Foster (1740–1828): The Politics of Improvement and Prosperity (2011).

The French Sculpture Census Now Online

Posted in resources by Editor on January 28, 2015


The brainchild of Laure de Margerie, the French Sculpture Census came online in December 2014 with its first 7,000+ records. Hosted by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas with funding from a variety of institutions, the website aims to provide a list of French sculpture produced between 1500 and 1960 that can now be found in American public collections, museums, public buildings, historic homes, or displayed in public space. The completed census is expected to include between 15,000 and 20,000 records. More information is available here»

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From the Nasher Sculpture Center:

Stories from the French Sculpture Census
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, 21 February 2015

From beloved works by Matisse and Rodin in museum collections to American icons like the Statue of Liberty, French sculpture has had a rich and indelible impact on the cultural landscape of the United States. In celebration of a new website that reveals the extent of this shared creative history, Laure de Margerie and panelists from the project’s international partner institutions will share stories of favorite works drawn from the database of the French Sculpture Census.

Laure de Margerie, Director of the French Sculpture Census, was Senior Archivist and head of the Sculpture Archives at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, from 1978 through 2009. In this position she curated several exhibitions including Facing the Other: Charles Cordier (1827–1905), Ethnographic Sculptor (Paris, Quebec City, New York, 2004/05). She was part of the team who installed the sculpture collection at the opening of the museum in 1986 and co-authored the collection catalogue (1986). De Margerie also worked as archivist in charge of historic buildings in Normandy in Rouen (1983–1985) and oversaw rights and reproductions at the National Archives in Paris (1991–1992). She was awarded a fellowship at the Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, MA (2000/01), and was the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department guest scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA (Fall 2011).

The Census of French Sculpture in American Public Collections is the first comprehensive catalogue of French sculpture in the United States. It lists all existing French sculpture, dating from 1500 to 1960, in American public collections. Not only does it take account of works in museums, but also in historic houses, government buildings (the White House, for example), corporate collections, and public space. The scope of the census is vast, both in space and time, and currently includes 7,500 works by 680 artists in 305 locations.

Hosted by the Nasher Sculpture Center and supported by a consortium of institutions in the U.S. and France, the French Sculpture Census will be the largest existing website solely dedicated to sculpture. The Census of French Sculpture in American Public Collections is a project of the University of Texas at Dallas and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, in coproduction with the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Musée Rodin, Paris, with the participation of the Ecole du Louvre, Paris.


New Book | Perronneau: Un Portraitiste dans l’Europe des Lumières

Posted in books by Editor on January 28, 2015

Published by Arthena and available from Artbooks.com:

Dominique d’Arnoult, with a preface by Xavier Salmon, Perronneau, ca. 1715–1783: Un portraitiste dans l’Europe des Lumières (Paris: Arthena, 2015), 440 pages, ISBN: 978-2903239541, 130€ / $190.

jean-baptiste-perronneau-ca-1715-1783-un-portraitiste-dans-l-europe-des-lumieresLe portrait, particulièrement le portrait au pastel, connaît une vogue considérable dans une Europe du XVIIIe siècle où l’on ne dénombre pas moins de deux mille portraitistes. Succédant à Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743) et à Nicolas de Largillierre (1656–1746), puis à Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766), deux grandes figures dominent la scène française au milieu de ce siècle : Maurice Quentin Delatour et Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, son cadet d’une dizaine d’années.

Perronneau reçoit sa formation de dessinateur à Paris où il se fait rapidement remarquer. Agréé à l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture en 1746, il y est reçu en 1753 avec ses portraits à l’huile du peintre Jean-Baptiste Oudry et du sculpteur Lambert Sigisbert Adam. Dans la tradition de l’Académie, Perronneau s’emploie à donner un prolongement à l’art de grands maîtres comme Van Dyck et Rembrandt, interprété dans un esprit nouveau.

Ses portraits vont être le plus souvent figurés en buste, peints au pastel ou à l’huile. L’enjeu alors est de concilier la ressemblance avec la science picturale propre à la grande peinture, tout en donnant une impression de facilité, voire une forme de désinvolture (la sprezzatura), qui doit dissimuler le travail de l’artiste. C’est un art qui doit de plus rencontrer la satisfaction du modèle. À la cour de Versailles comme à la ville, il est alors de bon goût de ne pas laisser paraître son rang sur son portrait : la simplicité est à la mode. Perronneau y excelle, sachant donner à des portraits travaillés au cours d’un grand nombre de séances l’impression qu’ils sont réalisés dans l’instant. Il devient ainsi l’un des peintres favoris du public du Salon du Louvre de 1746 à 1765.

La rivalité entre Perronneau et Delatour va s’afficher pendant plus de vingt ans au cours desquels l’un et l’autre vont exposer plus de cent portraits au Salon. Delatour ira même jusqu’à se confronter à son rival en 1750, en faisant exposer son autoportrait à côté de son propre portrait demandé à Perronneau. Les carrières des deux artistes restent cependant distinctes: Delatour peint la famille royale et la Cour, Perronneau préfère trouver une clientèle dans les capitales provinciales et étrangères. Ses modèles appartiennent à des milieux sociaux divers, aussi bien à la grande aristocratie qu’au monde du négoce ou à celui des arts.

C’est la vision d’une autre France, d’une autre Europe que celle habituellement représentée par ses rivaux qui apparaît sous les pastels et les pinceaux de Perronneau, celle d’un monde des Lumières en mouvement. En butte à la critique qui lui reproche notamment de choisir des modèles inconnus du grand public à partir de 1767 et voyant sa position à Paris compromise, Perronneau prend le parti de s’éloigner de la capitale et de la France où il ne revient plus qu’épisodiquement après 1773. Ses itinéraires le conduiront alors dans les villes européennes où résident les grands négociants et financiers, en Hollande et en Allemagne essentiellement. À la fin de sa vie, il entreprend un long voyage à Saint-Pétersbourg et Varsovie, avant de s’éteindre à Amsterdam en 1783.

%d bloggers like this: