Exhibition | Artists as Collectors

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 28, 2021

From the press release for the exhibition now on view at The Getty:

Artists as Collectors
Getty Center, Los Angeles, 25 May — 12 September 2021

Curated by Casey Lee

Gerard van Nijmegen (1735–1808), Allegory of Painting and Drawing, 1801, graphite, gray and brown ink, and gray wash, 38 × 27 cm (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008.31).

Artists were among the earliest and greatest collectors of drawings. Celebrated European painters including Edgar Degas, Joshua Reynolds, and Giorgio Vasari were passionate collectors, and their appetites for drawings by old and contemporary masters compelled them to acquire exceptional examples of draftsmanship by artists such as Delacroix, Raphael, and Rembrandt. These drawings were valued as intellectual property, powerful status symbols, and works of art in their own right. This exhibition, featuring objects from the Getty’s permanent collection, reveals how artists gathered, used, and cared for their drawings.

An artist’s ability to acquire objects depended on his or her social network and the development of a market for drawings. The first works any artist owned came from their own hand, and favorite pupils or studio assistants obtained pieces by their teachers. By the end of the 15th century, when a market for drawings began to develop, it became easier for artists to acquire artwork from their peers, thereby increasing the scope of their collections.

Drawings were kept and treasured for a variety of reasons. They were used to train students and as reference material for an artist in search of inspiration. Certain sheets were valued for sentimental reasons, while others conferred status by confirming the wealth, power, and knowledge of the collector.

“Artists were among the first to recognize and appreciate drawings’ informative and aesthetic qualities, which is why they are among the first and greatest collectors of drawings,” says Casey Lee, curator of the exhibition. “By declaring their ownership through inscriptions and personalized stamps, the collectors make it possible to reconstruct aspects of a drawing’s life and reception.”



Call for Papers | Graphic Landscape: The Landscape Print Series

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 28, 2021

J. T. Smith, The Entrance of Stroud, a Village near Egham, Surry, from Twenty Rural Landscapes from Nature, 1795, etching
(London: British Museum 1860,1208.72)

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From the Mellon Centre and the British Library:

Graphic Landscape: The Landscape Print Series in Britain, c. 1775–1850
Online, Paul Mellon Centre and the British Library, 2–11 November 2021

Proposals due by 1 July 2021

Organized by Mark Hallett and Felicity Myrone

Landscape and topographical print series proliferated in the late eighteenth century and in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Indeed, the format seems to have enjoyed an artistic and commercial boom in this period. The British Museum, the British Library and the Yale Center for British Art hold rich collections of such series, in various formats. Some, like Turner’s Liber Studiorum (1807–19) and Constable’s English Landscape Scenery (1830–33) are extremely well known. Many others, however, have still to receive sustained and critical attention. This programme of four online seminars, to take place in the first two weeks of November 2021, is designed to look afresh at the late Georgian and early Victorian landscape print series and to stimulate new research on this important strand of graphic art.

Across the programme, we will seek to question the assumptions that are typically brought to bear on such material. Why were print series produced? Who produced them, and what was their appeal? Why did they so regularly focus on landscape and topographical subjects? What were the commercial stakes in producing prints in series? How did they work as pictorial sequences, and how did they shape contemporary artistic practice? Is it possible to interrogate the full compass of such works—how many series were initiated, how many completed, and which survive? Were particular formats and subjects specific to printmaking in Britain, and how does this compare to the production of print series in the rest of the world? Finally, what do these series tell us about the categories of artist and of landscape art in the Romantic period?

This programme of seminars, which is being convened by Mark Hallett and Felicity Myrone, will seek to be broad and interdisciplinary in approach. We hope to showcase new research on print culture and publishing and to present new ways of thinking about how and why the ‘big names’ of the period such as Turner, Constable, Girtin and Cotman stand out (or not) in this context. We would hope that the subject will appeal to scholars of publishing, literature, and book history, as well as to landscape art historians.

We welcome proposals for 15-minute papers that take a variety of approaches. These might offer close readings of individual sets of such prints, whether familiar or obscure. We are just as interested in approaches that look at these kinds of graphic series from a broader perspective, and that address their production, consumption and appeal within the wider realms of print publishing, print culture, publishing, antiquarianism and artistic practice. Similarly, we encourage proposals that place such series in the context of eighteenth/nineteenth-century debates about rural, regional, metropolitan and imperial identity, and in relation to recent discussions on the environment and the Anthropocene.

William Crotch, THE BRILL HILLS, from WOODPERRY, near OXFORD. Pubd. Septr. 1. 1810, by J. Girtin, Engraver, Printer & Publisher, 11, Charles Street, Soho Square (London: British Library, K.Top.35.39)

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Most of all, we encourage original, scholarly and creative approaches that allow us to see the landscape print series in new ways, and to place such work in productive dialogue with the other kinds of contemporary landscape imagery—painted, water-coloured, or drawn—with which we may now be more familiar. The British Library’s recently uploaded gallery of images from the King’s Topographical Collection may provide inspiration.

This series has been organised as part of the Paul Mellon Centre’s ‘Generation Landscape’ research project, and in collaboration with the British Library. It is convened by Mark Hallett and Felicity Myrone. Presentations are planned to take place online on the afternoons of Tuesday, 2 November; Thursday, 4 November; Tuesday, 9 November; and Thursday, 11 November 2021.

To propose a paper, please email an abstract of 300 words or fewer and a 50-word biography in a single Word document to Shauna Blanchfield at sblanchfield@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by midnight on Thursday, 1 July 2021.

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