Seminar | Alden Gordon on the French Financial Crises, 1760s–70s

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 24, 2018

From the seminar flyer:

Alden Gordon | ‘Heureux ceux qui ont un coeur de bronze…’: The French Financial Crisis in the late Reign of Louis XV and Its Impact on Royal Manufactures and Royal Patronage
The Wallace Collection, London, 26 February 2018

Louis Tocqué, Portrait of the Marquis de Marigny, 1755 (Paris, Musée Carnavalet).

The French Royal Treasury experienced a crisis which began during the Seven Years’ War and persisted through the end of the reign of Louis XV and into that of Louis XVI. This particularly affected the Direction des Bâtiments du Roi which saw its allowances for the payments to the employees of the Gobelins and the entrepreneurs who maintained the many properties of the Maison du Roi cut to the bone in the 1760s and 1770s. To try to keep his skilled workforce intact, the Marquis de Marigny, Directeur-Général des Bâtiments, Arts, Académies et Manufactures du Roi, was forced to resort to exceptional tactics in paying employees while balancing the fulfillment of projects most essential to statecraft and the priorities of the royal family.

Notable among the projects pending during these years were the preparations for the marriage of the future Louis XVI to the Austrian princess Marie-Antoinette. The financial crisis forced Marigny to confront difficult choices in assigning new commissions while witnessing the distress of his loyal artists and craftsmen. His secretary, Jean Étienne Montucla, wrote of the emotional distress in Marigny’s inner circle saying that “I am saddened to give you such frightful news; happy those who, under these circumstances, have a heart of bronze, and who would suffer a whole world to perish without experiencing any movement of sensibility.”

This talk will address the archival evidence for understanding the financial crisis of the late 1760s and early 1770s and chronologically synchronize the actions on behalf of workers with simultaneous royal commissions. This research points to Marigny’s anguish over the fiscal starvation of his administration as the real motivation for his repeated efforts to resign his post rather than the often stated hypothesis that he had lost influence with Louis XV in the years after the death of his sister, the Marquise de Pompadour.

Alden Gordon is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Fine Art at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. This research forms part of the book in preparation on The Life and Career of the Marquis de Marigny: Patron in the Enlightenment.

Monday, 26 February 2018, 5.30pm, The Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Admission is free, and booking is not required. More information and details of future seminars can now be found here.

Workshop | Probing Provenance

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on February 24, 2018

From the workshop flyer:

Probing Provenance: Sources, Methods and Implications
Institute for Historical Research, London, 28 March 2018

Monogram bookplate: M L y C (Provenance Online Project) by Provenance Online Project (flickr) Penn Libraries call number: IC55 G9315 590p 1591.

The Society for the History of Collecting is pleased to announce a workshop on provenance on 28th March 2018. Organised at the Institute for Historical Research (IHR), Senate House in London, it will bring together distinguished researchers with a range of geographical and period expertise: Kate Hill, Claire Wintle, Alexis Ashot, Niko Munz, Melanie Aspey, and Alexandra Gerstein). The aim is to have a broad methodological discussion that introduces provenance as a concept and a practice: what skills it requires; what sources it can draw on; how it can be effectively deployed; what other histories and processes it can illuminate. The event will run from 10.00 until 13.00 in Wolfson Room 1 of the IHR. It is open to all, and doctoral students and early career researchers are especially welcome to attend.

Provenance is a central tool and indispensable concept within the history of collecting. Not only does it permit scholars to retrace the chain of lost collections, and to reconstruct the biography of an object. Provenance can also act as badge of esteem, a promise of authenticity, a financial asset and a narrative device. In recent years, it has generated not just vast digital databases centred on the art market, but also fascinating international exhibitions and intense clashes over the restitution of cultural property. Provenance is not merely one more research tool, then. Rather, it is central for understanding the itinerary of objects and the transformative effects of ownership.

The workshop has been organized by Adriana Turpin (Chairman of the Society), Tom Stammers (University of Durham), Silvia Davoli (Strawberry Hill Trust/ University of Oxford), and Barbara Pezzini (University of Manchester/ National Gallery). Booking, via Eventbright, is essential. For any questions about the day please contact Tom Stammers: t.e.stammers@durham.ac.uk.

Conference | Art History Before English

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on February 24, 2018

From the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz:

Art History Before English: Negotiating a European ‘Lingua Franca’ from Vasari to the Present
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 8–10 March 2018

Organized by Alessandro Nova in collaboration with Robert Brennan, Marco Mascolo, and Oliver O’Donnell within the framework of the research project Languages of Art History

The expansion of art historical scholarship across cultural and linguistic boundaries reveals problems with the inherited vocabularies of the discipline. Today, for better or worse, English has become an ever more prominent common language of academic discourse, art history being no exception, and yet the problems this development poses are not without historical precedent within the European tradition of art writing.

Alongside the task of adapting classical concepts to modern usage, scholars have long had to contend with what was arguably the ‘lingua franca’ of art historical discourse in their own time: Italian in the 16th and 17th centuries, French in the 17th and 18th, and German in the 19th and 20th. This conference seeks to leverage this succession of dominant languages in order to shed light on the present assumption of English as a ‘lingua franca’ of art history. In so doing, the conference seeks to evaluate how Italian, French, and German have decisively shaped the discipline, assembling a cache of certain terms, concepts, and modes of thought—often to the exclusion of others—that remain central across a wide variety of languages in the field today.

T H U R S D A Y ,  8  M A R C H  2 0 1 8

14:30  Introduction
Alessandro Nova, C. Oliver O’Donnell, and Robert Brennan

15:00  Panel 1 | Inventions of Academic Languages
Chair: Alessandro Nova
• Massimiliano Rossi (Università del Salento, Lecce), Di lotta e di governo: Lessico, codici e categorie critiche degli scritti accademici sull’arte dagli Umidi alla Crusca
• Robert Williams (University of California, Santa Barbara), Terms of Art

16:20  Coffee Break

16:50  Panel 1, continued
Chair: Marco Mascolo and Robert Brennan
• Jacqueline Lichtenstein (Université Paris-Sorbonne), The Conferences of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture: A New Discourse on the Arts
• Olivier Bonfait (Université de Bourgogne), La lingua francese e la scrittura della storia dell’arte, 1660–1700
• John Leavitt (Université de Montréal), Language Ideologies and the Inventions of Art History

F R I D A Y ,  9  M A R C H  2 0 1 8

9:30  Panel 2 | Assimilation and Transformation of Academic Models
• Alessandra Russo (Columbia University), Antiguidade and Pintura: Concepts Redefined by a Novel Artistic Universality
• Francesca Terrenato (Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza), In the Manner of Vasari: Italian Loanwords and Calques in Karel van Mander’s Schilder-Boeck (1604)

10:50  Coffee Break

11:20  Panel 3 | In the Shadow of the Academy
Chair: Alexander Nagel
• Michael Fried (Johns Hopkins University), Reading Diderot in America
• Stephen Bann (University of Bristol), Historical Genre: Negotiating a Hybrid Concept in and outside of 19th-Century France

12:40  Lunch Break

14:00  Panel 4 | Translating and Untranslating Art Writing
Chair: Brigitte Sölch
• Elisabeth Décultot (Universität Halle), Winckelmanns Sprachen: Kunsttheorie als Übersetzung
• Andreas Beyer (Universität Basel), Art Historical Untranslatables
• Christopher S. Wood (New York University), Why did the ‘Renaissance’ Resist Translation?

16:00  Coffee Break

16:30  Site Visit
Chapel of Saint Luke, Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, led by Fabian Jonietz (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz) — for speakers only

S A T U R D A Y ,  1 0  M A R C H  2 0 1 8

9:30  Panel 5 | Ekphrasis in the 20th Century
Chair: Andreas Beyer
• Marco Mascolo (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz), Roberto Longhi e la sua ricezione, tra ekphrasis e connoisseurship
• Émilie Passignat (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia), Nello specchio della traduzione: l’ecfrasi longhiana alla prova della lingua francese

10:50  Coffee Break

11:20  Panel 6 | Art History and Social Science
Chair: Hana Gründler
• C. Oliver O’Donnell (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz), Schapiro and Lévi-Strauss: Structuralist Arguments among Color Field Paintings
• Whitney Davis (University of California, Berkeley), Reading-In: Franz Boas and the Languages of the Anthropology of Art

12:45  Concluding Discussion

Image: Joseph Kosuth, Ten Locations of Meaning, 2009 


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