New Book | The Painter’s Touch

Posted in books by internjmb on January 20, 2018

From Princeton UP:

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, The Painter’s Touch: Boucher, Chardin, Fragonard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN 978 06911 70121, $65 / £55.

A new interpretation of the development of artistic modernity in eighteenth-century France.

What can be gained from considering a painting not only as an image but also a material object? How does the painter’s own experience of the process of making matter for our understanding of both the painting and its maker? The Painter’s Touch addresses these questions to offer a radical reinterpretation of three paradigmatic French painters of the eighteenth century. In this beautifully illustrated book, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth provides close readings of the works of François Boucher, Jean-Siméon Chardin, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, entirely recasting our understanding of these painters’ practice. Using the notion of touch, she examines the implications of their strategic investment in materiality and sheds light on the distinct contribution of painting to the culture of the Enlightenment.

Lajer-Burcharth traces how the distinct logic of these painters’ work—the operation of surface in Boucher, the deep materiality of Chardin, and the dynamic morphological structure in Fragonard—contributed to the formation of artistic identity. Through the notion of touch, she repositions these painters in the artistic culture of their time, shifting attention from institutions such as the academy and the Salon to the realms of the market, the medium, and the body. Lajer-Burcharth analyzes Boucher’s commercial tact, Chardin’s interiorized craft, and Fragonard’s materialization of eros. Foregrounding the question of experience—that of the painters and of the people they represent—she shows how painting as a medium contributed to the Enlightenment’s discourse on the self in both its individual and social functions.

By examining what paintings actually ‘say’ in brushstrokes, texture, and paint, The Painter’s Touch transforms our understanding of the role of painting in the emergence of modernity and provides new readings of some of the most important and beloved works of art of the era.

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth is the William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University. Her books include Chardin Material and Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror.



1  Boucher’s Tact
Materiality and Personality
Touch and Tact
The Commercial Imagination
Personal Mythologies
The Promiscuous Self
The Artist as Consumer
Pompadour’s Painter

2  Chardin’s Craft
Deep Materiality
The Object (Inside/Out)
The Blind Touch
Underneath the Visible
The Subject
The Return to the Object
The Painter

3  Fragonard’s Seduction
Eros and Individuality
The Unseen
Being and Becoming
Pictorial Seduction
The Erotic Mother
The Artist’s Pleasure
The Painter’s Touch
Love and Life
Ars Erotica

Image Credits

The Burlington Magazine, January 2018

Posted in books, journal articles, reviews by Editor on January 20, 2018

The eighteenth century in The Burlington, which includes, as noted last week, mention of HECAA and J18 in the editorial in connection with the new scholarship:

The Burlington Magazine 160 (January 2018)


“The Burlington Magazine Scholarship for the Study of French Eighteenth-Century Fine and Decorative Art,” p. 3. This month The Burlington Magazine launches an annual scholarship for the study of French eighteenth-century fine and decorative art. Initiated and funded by Richard Mansell-Jones, a trustee of The Burlington Magazine Foundation, the scholarship offers £10,000 to a student based anywhere in the world who has embarked or is about to embark on an M.A. or Ph.D. or is undertaking research in a post-doctoral or independent capacity. The full review is available here (also see below).


• Aloisio Antinori, “New Light on the Production of Il Tempio Vaticano,” pp. 22–30.


• Susan Walker, Review of Elizabeth Bartman, The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture, Volume 3: The Ideal Sculpture (Liverpool University Press, 2017), pp. 64–5.
• Elizabeth Savage, Review of Mark Stocker and Phillip Lindley, eds., Tributes to Jean Michel Massing: Towards a Global Art History (Harvey Miller, 2016), p. 74. [The volume includes Robin Middleton’s essay, “A Cautionary Tale: The History of Eighteenth-Century Architecture in France.”]
• Jeremy Warren, Review of Giovanna Baldissin Molli and Elda Martellozzo Forin, eds., Gli inventari della Sacrestia della Cattedrale di Padova, secoli XIV–XVIII (Il Prato Publishing House, 2016), p. 75.

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The Burlington Magazine Scholarship for the Study of French Eighteenth-Century Fine and Decorative Art
Applications due by 1 March 2018

The Burlington Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of The Burlington Magazine scholarship for the study of French 18th-century fine and decorative art. The scholarship has been created to provide funding over a 12-month period to those engaged in the study of French 18th-century fine and decorative art to enable them to develop new ideas and research that will contribute to this field of art historical study.

Applicants must be studying, or intending to study, for an MA, PhD, post-doctoral or independent research in the field of French 18th-century fine and decorative arts within the 12-month period the funding is given. Applications are open to scholars from any country. A grant of £10,000 will be awarded to the successful applicant.

More information is available here»

Lecture | Marie-Antoinette and Josephine as Garden Patrons

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 20, 2018

From the BGC:

Susan Taylor-Leduc | Designing Legacy: Marie-Antoinette and Josephine as Garden Patrons
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 7 February 2018

During the tumultuous forty years from 1774 until 1814, when the French government was transformed from monarchy to empire, Queen Marie-Antoinette and Empress Josephine Bonaparte created picturesque gardens at the Petit Trianon, Versailles, and Malmaison respectively. The captivating life stories of both women have elicited critiques of their garden patronage, suggesting that they pursued insatiable desires unfettered by financial constraints, detached from political and social realities. This talk suggests an alternative reading: Taylor-Leduc contends that both women constituted living legacies of female empowerment that were essential to the creation and dissemination of the picturesque garden and as such contributed to the evolution of modern landscape architecture in France. This Brown Bag Lunch presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, February 7, at 12:15pm.

Susan Taylor-Leduc earned both her masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, she has worked as a teacher, curator, university administrator, and tour guide in Paris. A specialist in eighteenth-century French gardens, she is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Designing Legacy: Marie-Antoinette, Josephine and the French Picturesque Garden 1774–1814.

This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit the BGC YouTube page.

Display | New Discoveries in Philadelphia Slipware

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 20, 2018

18th-century Slipware Ceramics, excavated from the site of the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

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Press release, via Art Daily:

Buried Treasure: New Discoveries in Philadelphia Slipware from the Collection of the Museum of the American Revolution
New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, 18–21 January 2018

A remarkable assemblage of 18th-century slipware ceramics uncovered during an archaeological excavation in Philadelphia has been revealed to the public for the first time. Nearly a dozen pieces of slipware, a form of decorative lead-glazed pottery, are on view at the 2018 New York Ceramics and Glass Fair from Thursday, January 18 until Sunday, January 21, at Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan. Buried Treasure: New Discoveries in Philadelphia Slipware from the Collection of the Museum of the American Revolution is sponsored by Ceramics in America, which is published by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Museum of the American Revolution. After the exhibit, the items will be returned to the Museum for future display.

The slipware was uncovered during excavations on the site of the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, during which archaeologists from Commonwealth Heritage Group recovered nearly 85,000 artifacts. Among these was a group of slipware ceramics, including large dishes and other items, distinguished by vivid abstract patterns created using a specialized skill known as ‘slip trailing’, which involves pouring liquid clay onto an object.

The pieces were discovered in a brick-lined privy shaft associated with one or more taverns. Current research suggests that these previously undocumented slipwares were made in Philadelphia by one or more French or German potters operating within the confines of the historic Old City district. Researchers believe that, although the pieces primarily had display value, they may have been used for serving as well.

“We’ve seen hints of this type of slipware before but nothing that has this degree of intactness and comprehensiveness as far as the patterns exhibited here,” said Robert Hunter, editor of the annual journal Ceramics in America, an author, and archaeologist. “Nothing else has been this complete. By virtue of that intactness, we have been able to make great bounds in what we can learn from them about who made them and how they were used.”

“The site of the Museum of the American Revolution is the gift that keeps on giving,” said Hunter. “There is no question that it has been an extremely rich deposit of 18th-century material culture. And we’ve only scratched the surface—I believe it will be many years before we fully realize the research potential from the materials from the site.”

In addition to the slipware, a newly analyzed decorated porcelain teapot is on display. The teapot was discovered to be only the second-known example of American-made hard-paste porcelain. The first example was the ‘Holy Grail’ bowl exhibited last year. Historical research by Hunter and Miller has now suggested that this porcelain was being made in the period around 1765–68, earlier than the previously known Bonnin and Morris porcelain Factory which opened in 1770. This new discovery changes the complexion of the history of porcelain making both in Philadelphia and the larger American context. The findings will be discussed in depth in an upcoming article in Ceramics in America.

“What is so exciting about this discovery is that it is a reminder of the importance of archaeology in colonial urban sites like Philadelphia,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Vice President of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programming at the Museum of the American Revolution. “The materials recovered on these sites require years of research to fully appreciate, and so these treasures from the Museum site will continue to provide new insight into Revolutionary America.”

Archaeologists from Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc. conducted fieldwork at the site of the new Museum of the American Revolution from July through October 2014 and briefly in April 2015 and May 2016, uncovering a record of occupation from the earliest settlement of Philadelphia through the mid-20th century. Most of the artifacts were found in brick-lined privy and well shafts. The features contained an enormous quantity of of ceramics, including locally made Philadelphia objects and imported English, German, and Chinese wares, among other artifacts.

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