Enfilade

Exhibition | Versailles and the American Revolution

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 13, 2016

Now on view at Versailles:

Versailles and the American Revolution / Versailles et l’Indépendance Américaine
Château de Versailles, 5 July — 17 October 2016

Curated by Valérie Bajou

Louis-Léopold Boilly, Portrait de La Fayette, 1788 (RMN-Grand Palais / Château de Versailles)

Louis-Léopold Boilly, Portrait de La Fayette, 1788 (RMN-Grand Palais / Château de Versailles)

From 5 July to 2 October 2016, on the occasion of the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the Palace of Versailles dedicates an exhibition highlighting the war during which the fate of three countries met: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.

As the first country to recognise the United State of America as a new nation, it was France’s duty to commemorate the event, especially at Versailles where this decision was taken, where the War of Independence was supported, and where the peace treaty with England was signed in 1783. The exhibition aims to remind viewers of facts that are often forgotten but which bear testimony to the circumstances, scale, and consequences of France’s involvement in the war.

The exhibition recounts the events and highlights the context of French and English rivalry after the Seven Years’ War as well as internal divisions in the French side, the American side between ‘patriots’ and ‘loyalists’, and the English side due to some opposition to the way the settlers were treated. It recounts the decision-making process at Versailles, the personalities of key figures—notably Benjamin Franklin—and the exact locations in the palace where discussions were held. Finally, it explains the international spread of the fighting—from India across the Mediterranean Sea, to the shores of America—and the human losses due to the violence and scale of the battles, the largest of both the 18th and 19th centuries.

The War of Independence has been interpreted by artists from all three countries; so iconic works seen for the first time outside the USA will illustrate the exhibition’s discourse. The generosity of the loans granted must also be stressed, a key example being the Diamond Eagle of George Washington from the Society of the Cincinnati.

The exhibition is the result of scientific collaboration with researchers from American museums and universities, the Congress, and the Society of the Cincinnati, as well as French, Spanish, and English historians. It aims to present different points of view in order to avoid presenting a perspective of the events which is too narrow.

The exhibition will be held in an unusual location, the Battles Gallery, near The Battle of Yorktown, which represents the deciding battle of 1781. Commissioned in 1835 by Louis-Philippe, a year after the death of Lafayette, this commemorative painting indicates that the memory of the war and the sacrifices made had not been forgotten but were kept alive on the other side of the Atlantic like a debt of blood, also explaining the fervour in the famous expression of 1917: “Lafayette, here we are!”

Valerie Bajou : Curator in chief at the national museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon
Scenographer : Loretta Gaïtis

A symposium opened the exhibition on July 5; the programme is available as a PDF file here.

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The catalogue is available from ACC Distribution:

Valérie Bajou, ed., Versailles and the American Revolution (Montreuil: Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2016), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-2353402465, £35 / $40.

imagePublished to accompany an exhibition at the Palace of Versailles, this catalogue is a collective work bringing together contributions from French, American, and British specialists in this field, which together shed light on the importance of the relationship between France and America in the closing years of the Ancien Régime. During the reign of Louis XVI, the Palace of Versailles—the seat of power and government in France—played a crucial role in the history of America, in its struggle for independence, and in the recognition of the United States by the great European powers. In tracing this remarkable story, the catalogue demonstrates the constant interest displayed in the fledgling United States by the French monarchy.

Richly illustrated throughout, it documents the events of the War of Independence, before exploring the consequences of the entry of France into the war, the siege of Yorktown, and the peace treaty signed at Versailles in 1783. Finally, it analyses the origins and development of the mythology of the ‘American Revolution’ in both France and the United States, a source of enduring inspiration for artists and history painters.

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New Book | Una Rivoluzione di Cera: Francesco Orso

Posted in books by Caitlin Smits on July 13, 2016

Published by Officina Libraria and available from Artbooks.com:

Andrea Daninos, Una Rivoluzione di Cera: Francesco Orso e e i «cabinets de figures» in Francia (Milano: Officina Libraria, 2016), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-897737759, 20€ / $35.

una rivoluzione di cera_gCon questo studio Andrea Daninos riporta alla luce per la prima volta la figura dello scultore piemontese Francesco Orso, attivo nella seconda metà del Settecento. Unico tra gli scultori piemontesi ad essersi specializzato nella realizzazione di ritratti in cera policromi raffiguranti membri della corte sabauda, opere dall’impressionante realismo, Francesco Orso fu anche l’unico scultore italiano a trasferirsi stabilmente dal 1785 a Parigi, vivendo in tal modo in prima persona negli anni successivi, i momenti cruciali della Rivoluzione francese. A Parigi Orso, che aveva mutato il nome in Orsy, aprirà un’esposizione di figure in cera, che sarà talvolta al centro degli eventi rivoluzionari. Di Francesco Orso viene ricostruita per la prima volta la vita, unitamente al catalogo delle sue opere, sia in cera che in terracotta, molte delle quali sinora inedite. Per meglio delineare la presenza di Orso a Parigi il volume si propone di analizzare la storia delle esposizioni di figure in cera a grandezza naturale in Francia alla fine del Settecento, all’origine dei moderni musei delle cere. Una storia sinora mai studiata compiutamente e che attraverso le biografie dei principali protagonisti di questo genere di esposizioni riporta alla luce un fenomeno che godette di grande popolarità per più di due secoli. In particolare vengono analizzate estesamente la vita e le opere di Philippe Curtius, padre della futura Madame Tussaud, che operò a Parigi negli anni della Rivoluzione francese vivendone alcuni momenti chiave in prima persona. Suoi erano i busti in cera di Necker e del duca d’Orléans portati in trionfo dalla folla il 12 luglio 1789 negli scontri alle Tuileries che diedero il via ai moti rivoluzionari. Completano il volume il catalogo delle opere di Francesco Orso e la trascrizione di numerosi documenti inediti, frutto di capillari ricerche negli archivi francesi e italiani.

Andrea Daninos dedica da anni allo studio della ceroplastica e sul tema ha pubblicato vari articoli. Nel 2009 ha tenuto un corso di specializzazione all’Università Statale di Milano sulla storia della scultura in cera. Vive e lavora a Milano.

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New Book | Rome, Travel, and the Sculpture Capital, c. 1770–1825

Posted in books by InternRW on July 13, 2016

From Routledge:

Tomas Macsotay, ed., Rome, Travel, and the Sculpture Capital, c. 1770–1825 (New York: Routledge, 2016), 268 pages, ISBN: 978-1472420350, $150.

9781472420350The world that shaped Europe’s first national sculptor-celebrities, from Schadow to David d’Angers, from Flaxman to Gibson, from Canova to Thorvaldsen, was the city of Rome. Until around 1800, the Holy See effectively served as Europe’s cultural capital, and Roman sculptors found themselves at the intersection of the Italian marble trade, Grand Tour expenditure, the cult of the classical male nude, and the Enlightenment republic of letters. Two sets of visitors to Rome—the David circle and the British traveler—have tended to dominate Rome’s image as an open artistic hub, while the lively community of sculptors of mixed origins has not been awarded similar attention. Rome, Travel, and the Sculpture Capital, c. 1770–1825 is the first study to piece together the labyrinthine sculptors’ world of Rome between 1770 and 1825. The volume sheds new light on the links connecting Neo-classicism, sculpture collecting, Enlightenment aesthetics, studio culture, and queer studies. The collection offers ideal introductory reading on sculpture and Rome around 1800, and its provocative perspectives will appeal to a readership interested in understanding a modernized Europe’s transnational desire for Neo-classical, Roman sculpture.

Tomas Macsotay has held postdoctoral grants from the Henry Moore Foundation and the Marie Curie Co-fund Programme M4 Human, Gerda Henkel Foundation. He is currently based in Barcelona.

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