Enfilade

In Memoriam | Mary D. Sheriff (1950–2016)

Posted in Member News by Editor on October 20, 2016

download

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Mary D. Sheriff, internationally celebrated art historian and beloved teacher, died on October 19, 2016 at the age of 66. She specialized in eighteenth-century French art and transformed the field by re-evaluating rococo painting, introducing feminist perspectives, and examining European art in a global context. She published widely on artists such as Fragonard and Vigée-Lebrun, as well as on questions of art and gender. She taught at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill since 1983, was a former chair of the Art Department, and was named W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor in 2005. She was also a central figure in eighteenth-century scholarship as an editor of the journal Eighteenth Century Studies and as a founding member of the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art group. Her scholarly achievements were recognized through numerous visiting professorships, invitations to lecture around the globe, awards, and fellowships from, among others, the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEH. She also made a great impact on the field with her teaching. Both undergraduate and graduate students revered her, and she trained many doctoral students, who follow her example of commitment to excellent teaching and scholarship. In addition to her professional work, she was also an avid traveler, bird watcher, and scuba diver. She and her husband Keith Luria were devoted to each other and shared these professional and non-professional passions.

Mary Sheriff was born on September 19, 1950 in Plainfield, NJ to Robert William Sheriff and June Leaf. She was educated at Bucknell University and the University of Delaware. She is survived by her husband Keith Luria of Chapel Hill, NC and her father Robert Sheriff of Tarpon Springs, FL. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor her memory can make donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Duke Homecare and Hospice of Durham, NC. A memorial will be held in her honor in the spring.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Update (added 25 January 2017) — Here’s information on a special CAA session to be held in memory of Mary in New York:

Key Conversation: Mary Sheriff (1950–2016): A Memorial Session
Saturday, 18 February 2017, 12:15–1:15, New York Hilton, Madison Suite, 2nd Floor

Chair: Francesca Fiorani (University of Virginia)

Join this session to remember Mary Sheriff. Come together, share memories, and celebrate her achievements.

Save

Seminar | Hannah Wirta Kinney on Copies of Antiquities

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 20, 2016

From the seminar flyer:

Hannah Wirta Kinney | Commissioning Faithful Copies
of Antiquities in Eighteenth-Century Florence

The Wallace Collection, London, 31 October 2016

In Some Observations Made in Travelling through France, Italy, Etc Edward Wright concluded his account of the famous antiquities of the Tribuna of the Uffizi by describing bronze copies of its four most important statues, which were on display in the Duke of Marlborough’s Blenheim Palace. Visiting Florence in 1720, Wright had assisted the Lord Chancellor Thomas Parker to purchase bronze copies of the same famous antiquities. The casts’ maker, Pietro Cipriani, promised that they would “at least equal [Massimiliano Soldani Benzi’s for Marlborough], and be the most exact that ever were made.” In correspondence with their patrons, both sculptors suggested that the exactness of their copies resulted from the moulds they used to cast them, which had been taken directly from the original marble. But the authorization to make and thus acquire a faithful copy of a Medici-owned sculpture was carefully controlled. Permission to copy came from Tuscan Grand Duke Cosimo III himself. The mould thus became the material proof of the copy’s close relationship to the original, and therefore of the copy’s value. It was also, importantly, the meeting point between the interests of the artist, the commissioner, and the owner of the original.

During the age of the Grand Tour collectors desired copies of the renowned works in Italian collections, but the authorization to make a copy was carefully controlled by the original’s owner. A copy of a well-regarded original could be read not only as evidence that the purchaser was aesthetically discerning, but, further, that he had the diplomatic connections that would allow it to be made. Conversely, for Tuscan Grand Duke Cosimo III, the ritual of the request for a copy, like the praises of his statues that echoed in the halls of his galleries, reinforced his claims of political relevance in a moment of weakening power. This paper explores how ‘faithful’ copies materialized and displayed political relationships in the eighteenth century. The larger goal is to invert the standard narrative of the Grand Tour, to look at artistic production, rather than just at consumption, as a process of identity formation.

Seminars in the History of Collecting
Hannah Wirta Kinney (DPhil candidate, University of Oxford)
Commissioning Faithful Copies of Antiquities in Eighteenth-Century Florence
Monday, 31 October 2016, 5.30pm
Lecture Theatre, The Wallace Collection

Admission is free and booking is not required. More information and details of the seminar series can be found here.