Call for Participants | Color Printing and the Global Eighteenth Century

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 2, 2016

This working group will meet at the RBS-Mellon Conference Bibliography among the Disciplines in October 2017.

Color Printing and the Global Eighteenth Century
Philadelphia, 12–15 October 2017

Proposals due by 25 October 2016

Organizers: Marie-Stephanie Delamaire (Winterthur Museum) and Jeannie Kenmotsu (Royal Ontario Museum)

The long eighteenth century was a period of major breakthroughs in the domain of color printing in several parts of the world. In Asia and Europe, various relief and intaglio techniques were adapted to full color printing and achieved widespread uses in the visual arts. Multiple-block color printing techniques were explored in seventeenth-century Chinese painting manuals; these relief techniques were later seen in Japanese sheet prints and illustrated books on a far greater scale in the eighteenth century, from the poetry anthologies illustrated by Katsuma Ryūsui to Suzuki Harunobu’s vividly colored ‘brocade pictures’. Printing à la poupée was practiced in the Low Countries, Italy, Britain, and France among others for decorative printing as well as lavishly illustrated botanical and ornithological volumes such as those of Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Jacob Christoph Le Blon and his successors experimented with multiple-plate intaglio printing, and produced color prints in collaboration with leading artists.

Although scholars have increasingly studied eighteenth-century knowledge of the properties, meanings, and uses of colors, the materials and practices involved in the production and reception of color-printed images have received comparatively less attention. This project will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields (printing history, book history, critical bibliography, history of art, history of technology, etc.) to explore the proliferation of color-printed images in the long eighteenth century. How do we understand the emergence of widespread color-printing practices across the globe approximately at the same time? What were the economic, social, or political factors that facilitated color printing as a major medium for visual creation? What were the taxonomic, semantic, and aesthetic consequences of printing in color as opposed to hand painting in color? We encourage submissions that engage with the specific material practices of color-printed images that emerged in Europe and Asia between the second half of the seventeenth century up to the early nineteenth century, while reflecting on the broader questions they raise with regards to our knowledge of the period and the validity of current approaches.

Possible topics might include but are not limited to: the production and consumption of color-printed images; color printing as a mode of cultural exchange; the materiality of color printmaking and the production of knowledge (including, but not limited to, spheres of natural history, the fine arts, mapmaking, color theory, and connoisseurship etc.); book illustration versus sheet prints; the relationship between printing in color and painting; conservation issues particular to color-printed  works as they relate to methods and approaches to historical inquiry; changes in disciplinary perspectives concerning color printing and the eighteen century.

Participants should be able to commit to attending all sessions of the working group:
Thursday, 12 October 2017, 2:00–5:00pm
Friday, 13 October 2017, 10:45am–12:15pm
Saturday, 14 October 2017, 8:30–10:00am

Participants should further be able to commit to meeting again one year after the conference to work toward a publication of the results of the working group. In their statements of interest, participants should indicate their availability to meet during the year following the conference (e.g., will you be abroad—if so, when, and do you anticipate that you will have sufficient internet connectivity to meet virtually?).

In order to be considered please submit proposals for participation by 25 October 2016 here. Proposals should include a brief 2-page CV and a statement of interest of no more than 500 words, outlining your relevant research, what you hope to contribute toward the group, and what you hope to take away from it (including potential project ideas you hope the group may pursue).

Bibliography Among the Disciplines, a four-day international conference, will bring together scholarly professionals poised to address current problems pertaining to the study of textual artifacts that cross scholarly, pedagogical, professional, and curatorial domains. The conference will explore theories and methods common to the object-oriented disciplines, such as anthropology and archaeology, but new to bibliography. The program aims to promote focused cross-disciplinary exchange and future scholarly collaborations. Bibliography Among the Disciplines is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and organized by the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School.

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