Call for Papers | The Histories of Loans

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 4, 2017

From H-ArtHist:

The Histories of Loans: Memories and Challenges of Museum Loans
Histoires de prêts, mémoire et enjeux des prêts dans les musées
École du Louvre, Paris, 28-29 September 2017

Proposals due by 5 June 2017

Since the end of the 19th century, the expansion of temporary exhibitions has determined the emergence of an international system for museums, based on the circulation of artworks and objects. For museums, sharing pieces from their collection has become crucial to ensure that they in turn get the loans they need to organise their own exhibitions. Lending artworks to prestigious institutions, particularly foreign ones, also enables curators to guarantee a heightened visibility to their own collections. Where to exhibit, how often, and which pieces can be obtained from which partners: nowadays, these are the fundamental criteria of a museum’s positioning within the international hierarchy of cultural heritage prestige. But loan policy does simply affect an institution’s image: it acts directly on the definition of the objects. The acceptation or refusal of a loan is the result of complex transactions, formulated or not, during which the value of an artwork is negotiated and reviewed. It also reflects the importance and rank of institutions, sometimes even of towns and nations. This international symposium intends to question the policy for loaning works of art, both from the angle of the mobility of museum artworks and objects, and that of the reconfigurations of their status. The aim of this colloquium will be to explore the ways in which, historically, loan procedure has defined itself to the point of becoming a crucial challenge for museums.

The economic, political and legal dimensions are also at the heart of this discussion. The suggested themes, which are not meant as limitations but as possible avenues for reflection, include the following:
• The History of loans
• The memory of loans
• The museographical constraints of loans
• Loans and restorations
• Loans as tools for art history
• The geopolitics of loans
• The temporality of loans
• The economy of loans
• The principle of free admission in museums and its exceptions
• Loans and their legal framework
• Notions of public and private in museum loans

The field of study for this symposium also covers the pre-history of loans (such as the translation of relics in the Middle Ages). Alongside artworks and objects, all artefacts are liable to be retained, as long as they shed more light on the theme. The very contemporary period acts as the opposite time limit for the symposium, and can be addressed from a historical viewpoint or as an anthropology of scholarly practices. While it is often difficult to distinguish both notions, the symposium will focus on the question of loans, excluding the question of long-term deposits, which has been studied specifically in the past few years.

Researchers who wish to take part in the symposium must send their paper proposals as well as a CV (one page) to the organisers (colloques@ecoledulouvre.fr) before Monday 5 June 2017. Proposals must be no longer than 2000 characters or 300 words and can be written in French, English, German, or Italian. The organisers will establish the definitive programme along with the members of the scientific committee. The final selection of participants will be announced on 15 June 2017.

Scientific Direction
François-René Martin, ENSBA et Ecole du Louvre
Michela Passini, CNRS (IHMC-ENS) et Ecole du Louvre
Neville Rowley, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Scientific Committee
Claire Barbillon, Université de Poitiers, Ecole du Louvre
Françoise Blanc, Ecole du Louvre
Cécilia Griener-Hurley, Ecole du Louvre et Université de Neuchâtel
Violaine Jeammet, Musée du Louvre et Ecole du Louvre
François-René Martin, ENSBA et Ecole du Louvre
Sophie Mouquin, Université Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille
Michela Passini, CNRS (IHMC-ENS) et Ecole du Louvre
Natacha Pernac, Ecole du Louvre et Université Paris-Nanterre
Neville Rowley, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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