Exhibition | Madame de Pompadour: Patron and Printmaker

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 13, 2016


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Press release (16 February 2016) from The Walters

Madame de Pompadour: Patron and Printmaker
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 28 February — 29 May 2016

Curated by Susan Wager

Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764) is known for being the influential mistress of King Louis XV of France and an enthusiastic patron of the arts, but few know that she was also a printmaker. An unexpected finding in the Rare Books Collection of the Walters Art Museum uncovered an extremely rare first-edition set of etchings she created in the early 1750s. Her intellectual and artistic prowess are highlighted in the exhibition Madame de Pompadour, Patron and Printmaker.

Suite of Prints Engraved by Madame the Marquise de Pompadour after the Carved Gems of Jacques Guay, ca. 1755 (Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum/Ariel Tabritha/Kimber Wiegand)

Suite of Prints Engraved by Madame the Marquise de Pompadour after the Carved Gems of Jacques Guay, ca. 1755 (Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum/Ariel Tabritha/Kimber Wiegand)

On display are seven selections from the Suite of Prints Engraved by Madame the Marquise de Pompadour after the Carved Gems of Jacques Guay. Museum founder Henry Walters acquired the Suite in 1895 from a Parisian book dealer. The set comprises more than 50 detailed etchings of gems carved with diverse images, including portraits of the crown prince and the royal mistress’s spaniel, Bébé. About 20 of these rare first-edition sets were produced around 1755, and the copy at the Walters is the only complete set to survive.

Complementing the selection of prints are 18 objects that touch on aspects of Pompadour’s wide-ranging patronage. Over time, she accumulated paintings, sculpture, porcelain, tapestries, metalwork, and other sumptuous objects for her many personal residences. Included are works she likely owned, such as two pairs of Sèvres vases and a pair of French-mounted Asian porcelains.

“The works on view show that she was thinking about these objects and images in a very sophisticated way,” says Susan Wager, curator of the exhibition. “I hope that comes through when visitors see her prints and the objects that she was drawn to as a collector.”

Formerly the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral curatorial fellow in the Department of 18th- and 19th-Century Art, Wager discovered the volume after an object listed in the museum’s database as a late posthumous edition caught her eye. The etchings had remained unrecognized for more than a century. The Suite is contained in an 18th-century leather portfolio emblazoned with Pompadour’s coat of arms and, unlike other editions, contains a handwritten table of contents.

Susan Stamberg reported on the exhibition for NPR’s Morning Edition on 10 May 2016 (the site includes additional images). Details of the discovery will be published by Wager in a forthcoming article for The Burlington Magazine.

Call for Papers | Understanding Material Loss

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 13, 2016

From the conference website:

Understanding Material Loss across Time and Space
University of Birmingham, 17–18 February 2017

Proposals due by 14 October 2016

4565740233_fca1a2ae20_bUnderstanding Material Loss across Time and Space is an innovative conference that will take place in 2017 at the University of Birmingham. Kate Smith, who works as Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century History, is organizing the conference to complement her current research on loss, lost property, and the making of modern Britain. Rather than focus solely on modern Britain, however, the conference seeks to consider the methodological and historical insights that might be revealed by utilizing loss as significant analytical framework across time and space, particularly when examining the material world.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, literary scholars, sociologists and historians have increasingly come to understand the material world as an active and shaping force. Nevertheless, while significant, such studies have consistently privileged material presence as the basis for understanding how and why the material world has played an increasingly important role in the lives of humans. In contrast, Understanding Material Loss suggests that instances of absence, as much as presence, provide important means of understanding how and why the material world has shaped human life and historical processes.

Speculative and exploratory in nature, Understanding Material Loss asserts that in a period marked by ecological destruction, but also economic austerity, large scale migration, and increasing resource scarcity, it is important that historians work to better understand the ways in which humans have responded to material loss in the past and how such responses have shaped change. Understanding Material Loss asks: how have humans historically responded to material loss and how has this shaped historical processes? The conference will bring together a range of scholars in an effort more to begin to explore and frame a problem, than provide definitive answers.

Confirmed keynote speakers include
• Pamela Smith, History, Columbia
• Simon Werrett, Science and Technology Studies, UCL
• Maya Jasanoff, History, Harvard
• Jonathan Lamb, English, Vanderbilt
• Anthony Bale, English and Humanities, Birkbeck
• Astrid Swenson, Politics and History, Brunel

Understanding Material Loss seeks to uncover the multiple practices and institutions that emerged in response to different forms of material loss in the past and asks, how has loss shaped (and been shaped by) processes of acquisition, possession, stability, abundance and permanence? By doing so it seeks to gauge the extent to which ‘loss’ can be used as an organizing framework of study across different disciplines and subfields. Understanding Material Loss seeks papers from across a variety of time periods and geographies. Although open and speculative in nature, this conference will focus on three broad topics within the wider rubric of loss, in order to facilitate meaningful conversations and exchanges.

Using Materials
• How has the ‘loss’ of particular materials affected scientific practice, manufacturing, architectural design or development in the past?
• How have humans responded to the partial loss or decay of materials?
• How have ‘lost’ skills or knowledge affected the use of materials?
• How have humans re-appropriated or recycled seemingly damaged or obsolete materials?

Possessing Objects
• How have humans sought to maintain and mark the ownership of objects?
• How has the loss of possessions and property affected human mobility and constructions of identity?
• How have communities historically responded to the loss of particular objects? When and why have they sought to stave off the loss of things?
• Where, when and how have cultures of repair flourished?
• How has the loss of possessions and property (or the potential for loss) affected processes of production, consumption or financial stability?

Inhabiting Sites and Spaces
• When and why have particular sites or buildings been understood as destroyed or obsolete?
• How have past societies responded to the loss of particular sites?
• When and how have landscapes been actively purged of symbols and sites?
• How have past societies worked to rebuild or reclaim particular sites?
• What strategies did past societies develop to ensure the resilience of certain structures?

If you are interested in participating in the conference, please send proposals (250 words max per paper) for papers and panels to conference organizer Kate Smith (k.smith@bham.ac.uk) by Friday 14 October 2016. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Roundtable panels featuring 5–6 papers of 10 minutes each or other innovative formats are encouraged.

Thanks to Past & Present and the University of Birmingham for their generous support for the conference.

Call for Session Proposals | ASECS 2017, Minneapolis

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 13, 2016

Panel proposals are due this weekend:

2017 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference
Minneapolis, 30 March — 2 April 2017

Session Proposals due by 15 May 2016

Proposals for panels at the at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, to take place in Minneapolis, are now being accepted. Please complete the form (available as a Word document) and email it to asecs@wfu.edu.

Please note that in accordance with the Handbook on the Annual Meeting, III. The Conduct and Procedures of Seminars [i.e. Sessions]; E. No person may present more than one paper at a single annual meeting or appear more than twice on the program excluding participants in plenary sessions and winners of the Innovative Course Design Competition. This means that in addition to presenting a paper, a person may also serve as either a session chair, a respondent, OR a panel discussant. A person who does not present a paper may serve in no more than two of these other capacities. It is not permitted for a session chair to present a paper in his/ her own session.

Please note also that in order to hold down the number of concurrent sessions, which has increased considerably over the last decade, the Executive Board has decided that requests for double sessions will no longer be entertained.

As a reminder, ASECS caucuses continue to be guaranteed two sessions and affiliate societies one session; regional societies are no longer guaranteed a session on the program unless they are meeting jointly with ASECS when it is in their region. Like individual members, affiliate societies, regional societies, and caucuses are encouraged to submit session proposals to be considered by the Program Committee.

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