Call for Papers | Portraiture and the Construction of Identity

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 19, 2022

From ArtHist.net, which includes the German version:

Portraiture and the Construction of Identity / Identitätskonstruktion im Porträt
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Kunsthistorisches Institut, 30 March — 1 April 2023

Organized by Helen Boeßenecker

Proposals due by 15 August 2022

Since the 1990s, cultural scholars and theoreticians of postcolonial studies such as Stuart Hall and Homi K. Bhabha have increasingly shaped an understanding of cultural identity that no longer sees identity primarily as something existent and stable, but rather, especially in diasporic contexts, as the (fluid) production of negotiation processes. Processuality, transformation, hybridity thus come into view as important factors of identity formation. As is well known, the cultural construction character of identity has also been emphasized, albeit under different premises, by gender studies. Thus, approaches of feminist theory or gender studies argued that gender identity and gender difference should not be understood as something ‘naturally’ given, but rather emphasized their social construction and performative production—a perspective that was also reflected by gender studies in art history and discussed with regard to the productivity of images.

The planned conference takes the concept of construction in the context of identity as a starting point to newly engage in portraiture and its historical and situational contexts. Although identity has always been an important question in art historical portrait research, the extent to which portraits contribute to the identity constitution of the self and to which identity is not only reproduced but constructed in and through portrait practices has not been sufficiently illuminated so far. More often, the focus has been on questions of individuality, identification, likeness (similitudo), or liveliness, and thus on the relationship of the image to the model and strategies of vivid representation. Following on from more recent contributions, which increasingly ask about the use of portraits within social and cultural practices or are dedicated to strategies of self-fashioning in (self-)portraits, the conference will focus on the question of the construction of cultural and gender identities in portraiture and would like to adopt a decidedly transcultural and transdisciplinary perspective.

The tension between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ will be investigated on the basis of portraits and the question will be pursued as to what role the confrontation with the foreign other plays for one’s own identity construction: Which pictorial means, and staging strategies are used in portraits to show cultural origin and roots, but also cultural difference? How is the relationship between the image of the self and the image of the other expressed in portraits, and what strategies of self-assertion and -staging can be identified? When and where, on the other hand, do assimilations, cultural appropriations, transcultural encounters, spaces in between and hybrid portrait cultures reveal themselves? The question of the construction of cultural identities and the aesthetic means, visual ‘codes’, subversive transformation processes as well as imaginations and projections used in this context will be examined. In addition to body discourses (including the semantics of skin color, tattoos, makeup) and the identity-forming significance of material culture (e.g., textiles, jewelry, armor, weapons), the artistic materials, media, and techniques used also prove relevant, as well as the attributions and practices associated with them, for example with regard to ‘exotic’ materials or the adaptation of ‘foreign’ artistic techniques or styles.

In addition, by exploring portraits and their historical, political, and performative contexts as well as practices of collection and display we want to gain insights into the structures and dynamics of identity formation and -construction: What consciousness do portraits reflect in terms of individuality, collective identities and national affiliations? Do identification and community formation with ‘compatriots’ take place primarily through the nation, region or even city? Are these homogeneous entities, or can plural notions of identity and competing groups rather be identified? What is the relationship between religious confession and identity and to what extent do the dynamics of European identities shift in a global context? Does the mobility of individuals and associated experiences of foreignness or assimilation processes, for example in relation to artists’ journeys, migration and exile experiences, pilgrimage, global expansion, and mission, find expression in portrait practices, so that—to speak with Paul Gilroy—not only roots but routes are inscribed in the portrait?

Furthermore, gender perspectives are to be included in these questions. To what extent do portrait practices produce, stabilize, or undermine gender roles and attributions? In what way can portraits and portrait series express different facets of female, male or queer identities and thus the mutability of gender identities? The conference would like to encourage us not to discuss these questions in isolation, but to link them to questions of cultural identity and ethnicity, taking up perspectives from gender and postcolonial studies. Thus, following on from previous profound research contributions on portraiture from the perspective of gender studies, the interplay of race, class and gender in portraiture will be examined to an even greater extent in order to question power relations and heteronormative, Eurocentric views.

The conference would like to shed light on these research questions across time periods and cultures and thus to adopt a cross-epochal, transcultural or comparative cultural perspective, whereby portraits in all artistic genres and media (painting, sculpture, prints, photography, digital image cultures) can be considered on the basis of case studies. Also, with the aim of promoting methodological reflection, the conference seeks to stimulate an exchange between different disciplines (especially art history, archaeology, African, Asian, and Islamic studies, ethnology).

Please send your abstract (maximum of 800 words) for a 25-minute presentation in German or English together with a short CV to Helen Boeßenecker (h.boessenecker@uni-bonn.de) by 15 August 2022.

New Book | The Invention of the Colonial Americas

Posted in books by Editor on July 18, 2022

From The Getty:

Byron Ellsworth Hamann, The Invention of the Colonial Americas: Data, Architecture, and the Archive of the Indies, 1781–1844 (Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, 2022), 328 pages, ISBN: 978-1606067734, $60.

The story of Seville’s Archive of the Indies reveals how current views of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are based on radical historical revisionism in Spain in the late 1700s.

The Invention of the Colonial Americas is an architectural history and media-archaeological study of changing theories and practices of government archives in Enlightenment Spain. It centers on an archive created in Seville for storing Spain’s pre-1760 documents about the New World. To fill this new archive, older archives elsewhere in Spain—spaces in which records about American history were stored together with records about European history—were dismembered. The Archive of the Indies thus constructed a scholarly apparatus that made it easier to imagine the history of the Americas as independent from the history of Europe, and vice versa.

In this meticulously researched book, Byron Ellsworth Hamann explores how building layouts, systems of storage, and the arrangement of documents were designed to foster the creation of new knowledge. He draws on a rich collection of eighteenth-century architectural plans, descriptions, models, document catalogs, and surviving buildings to present a literal, materially precise account of archives as assemblages of spaces, humans, and data—assemblages that were understood circa 1800 as capable of actively generating scholarly innovation.

Byron Ellsworth Hamann is an associate professor of art history at Ohio State University. His research is focused on the art and writing of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, as well as on the connections linking the Americas and Europe in the early modern Mediterratlantic world.

Exhibition | The Ceramics of Tonalá, Mexico

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 17, 2022

Now on view at SAMA:

A Legacy in Clay: The Ceramics of Tonalá, Mexico
San Antonio Museum of Art, 18 March 2022 — 19 March 2023

Earthenware Jar from Tonalá, mid-18th–late-18th century, burnished and painted earthenware, 33 inches tall (San Antonio Museum of Art, 2021.21).

The town of Tonalá, Mexico, has a long history with clay, dating back to the pre-Hispanic period and enduring to the present day. Tonalá’s contemporary dedication to ceramic arts was spurred by early modern Europeans’ obsession with the quality of the region’s clay beginning in the early sixteenth century. This exhibition highlights a selection of SAMA’s collection of Tonalá ceramics, which span from an important recent acquisition of an eighteenth-century monumental Tonalá vessel, to a variety of works from the twentieth century that demonstrate the trajectory of style in Tonala pottery. This focus exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into an important genre of SAMA’s Latin American art collection while demonstrating the breadth in styles achieved by some of Tonalá’s expert ceramicists.

New Book | New World Objects of Knowledge

Posted in books by Editor on July 16, 2022

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Mark Thurner and Juan Pimentel, eds., New World Objects of Knowledge: A Cabinet of Curiosities (London: University of London Press, 2021), 350 pages, ISBN: 978-1908857828, $75.

From the late fifteenth century to the present day, countless explorers, conquerors, and other agents of empire have laid siege to the New World, plundering and pilfering its most precious artifacts and treasures. Today, these natural and cultural products—which are key to conceptualizing a history of Latin America—are scattered in museums around the world. With contributions from a renowned set of scholars, New World Objects of Knowledge delves into the hidden histories of forty of the New World’s most iconic artifacts, from the Inca mummy to Darwin’s hummingbirds. This volume is richly illustrated with photos and sketches from the archives and museums hosting these objects. Each artifact is accompanied by a comprehensive essay covering its dynamic, often global, history and itinerary. This volume will be an indispensable catalog of New World objects and how they have helped shape our modern world.

Mark Thurner is professor of Latin American studies at the University of London. His books include The First Wave of Decolonization and History’s Peru: The Poetics of Colonial and Postcolonial Historiography. Juan Pimentel is research professor in the history of science at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC, Madrid. He is the author of many books, including The Rhinoceros and the Megatherium: An Essay in Natural History.


Introduction by Mark Thurner and Juan Pimentel

Part 1: Artificialia

1  Codex Mendoza by Daniela Bleichmar
2  Macuilxochitl by Juan Pimentel
3  Potosi by Kris Lane
4  Piece of Eight by Alejandra Irigoin and Bridget Millmore
5  Pieza de Indias by Pablo Gomez
6  Rubber by Heloisa Maria Bertol Domingues and Emilie Ana Carreón Blaine
7  Silver Basin by Mariana Francozo
8  Feathered Shield by Linda Baez
9  Black by Adrian Masters
10  Cards by Jorge Canizares Esguerra
11  Mary’s Armadillo by Peter Mason
12  Mexican Portrait by Andrés Gutiérrez Usillos
13  Clay Vessel by Jorge Canizares-Esguerra
14  Singing Violin by Jorge Canizares Esguerra
15  Creole Cabinet by Juan Pimentel and Mark Thurner
16  Modern Quipu by Sabine and William Hyland
17  Memory Palaces by Jorge Canizares-Esguerra
18  Inca Mummy by Christopher Heaney
19  Xilonen by Miruna Achim
20  Machu Picchu by Amy Cox-Hall

Part 2: Naturalia

21  Amazon by Roberto Chauca
22  Bird of Paradise by Jose Ramon Marcaida
23  Emeralds by Kris Lane
24  Pearls by Jorge Canizares Esguerra
25  Cochineal by Miruna Achim
26  Opossum by Jose Ramon Marcaida
27  Guinea Pig by Helen Cowie
28  Bezoar by Jose Pardo-Tomas
29  Cacao by Peter Mason
30  Strawberry by Elisa and Ana Sevilla
31  Volcano by Sophie Brockmann
32  Andes by Mark Thurner and Jorge Canizares-Esguerra
33  Anteater by Helen Cowie
34  Megatherium by Juan Pimentel
35  Tapir by Irina Podgorny
36  Cinchona by Matthew Crawford
37  Potato by Rebecca Earle
38  Guano by Gregory Cushman
39  Tortoise by Elizabeth Hennessey
40  Darwin’s Hummingbird by Iris Montero

José Ignacio de Lequanda and Louis Thiébaut, Quadro de Historia Natural, Civil y Geográfica del Reyno del Perú, 1799, 331 × 119 cm (Madrid: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales). This exceptional work presents 195 scenes and 381 figures describing the physical geography, the history, the ethnography, the fauna, and flora of the Peruvian Viceroyalty, via Google Arts & Culture.


Online Talk | Felicity Myrone on Prints and Drawings at the BL

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on July 15, 2022

King’s Concordance, C.23.e.4. f.34r (London: The British Library).

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Felicity Myrone | Prints and Drawings at the British Library: Revealing Hidden Collections
Wallace Collection Seminars on the History of Collections and Collectin
Online, Monday, 25 July 2022, 17.30 (BST)

It is our pleasure to invite you to the next Wallace Collection Seminar in the History of Collecting. Viewing options are provided below.

The British Library’s collections contain extensive visual materials, much originating from its foundation as part of the British Museum. While the collections that remained at the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum have now been fully catalogued, there is currently no index or catalogue to the British Library’s far more extensive holdings of prints and drawings. Valuable and diverse collections and materials are usually unlisted and undescribed, found in collective records and in items categorised as other formats.

A project to make more of the Library’s collections accessible is now underway. With the support of a Getty Paper Project grant and building on a Paul Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship, this involves writing the first handbook to the prints and drawings collections. What do we hold and why? How are our prints and drawings currently described, or more commonly, not? How can archival research into the collections—including historic acquisitions and Library/Museum duplication and transfers—help us to question the long-held assumption that art found its natural place at the Print Room? This paper explores how the perceived purpose and status of prints and drawings has varied and developed in the context of library collections in the 18th and 19th centuries, using case studies drawn from the history of the British Museum and Library.

Felicity Myrone is Lead Curator of Western Prints and Drawings at the British Library in London.

Register now (via Zoom) or watch online (via YouTube)

New Book | Collectionner: Acteurs, Lieux, et Valeurs, 1750–1815

Posted in books by Editor on July 14, 2022

This collection of conference essays will not be commercially available, though copies will be distributed to select academic libraries; see the GRHAM website:

Ludovic Jouvet, Alice Ottazzi, and Maël Tauziède-Espariat, eds., Collectionner: Acteurs, Lieux, et Valeur(s), 1750–1815 (Paris: Editions du GRHAM, 2022, ISBN: 978-2955954621.

Le présent ouvrage réunit les actes du colloque organisé par le GRHAM (Groupe de Recherche en Histoire de l’art Moderne) et le Séminaire Collection les 26 et 27 octobre 2020. Dans une perspective interdisciplinaire innovante, les douze contributions questionnent la pratique du collectionnisme au tournant des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles. Alors que le rationalisme des Lumières, friand de taxinomie, a parfois entraîné une histoire simplifiée du collectionnisme, ces contributions soulignent au contraire la grande diversité des pratiques parallèlement à la normalisation de certains lieux, objets ou statuts du collectionneur.


• Une culture de la collection au XVIIIe siècle ? — Olivier Bonfait
• La réception de Jean Warin au XVIIIe siècle — Ludovic Jouvet
• Gendering Collecting, Collections, and Consumption in 18th-Century Paris — Natasha Shoory
• L’art britannique à Paris au XVIIIe siècle : le recueil gravé comme outil pour l’étude de la réception — Alice Ottazzi
• Collecting Landscape Drawings in 18th-Century Paris: Delectare and Docere — Camilla Pietrabissa
• Antiques et culture d’un amateur et financier parisien de la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle : le salon et la bibliothèque d’Harenc de Presle (1710–1802) — Maël Vandewalle
• La pratique de la collection chez le financier de la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle — Élodie Kong
• La restitution des biens étrangers sous le Consulat : politique et finance relatives à deux tableaux de Claude Lorrain — Christine Godfroy-Gallardo
• Le Goût des Anglais pour le Mobilier Français: Collectors, Dealers, and the Market, 1785–1815 — Diana Davis
• Redécouverte d’une collection particulière parisienne du XVIIIe siècle : le cabinet de Louis Petit de Bachaumont — Léo Davy
• Le médailliste du siècle des Lumières : entre érudition, prestige et sociabilité — Charlotte Rousset
• Perfide Albion ! Douce Angleterre ? Le collectionnisme d’antiques en temps de rivalité napoléonienne à travers l’exemple croisé de Lord Elgin et du comte de Choiseul-Gouffier — Odile Boubakeur
• Le cabinet d’objets d’art de Balthazar-Georges Sage : la découverte d’une collection entre cabinet particulier et musée au tournant de la Révolution — Maddalena Napolitani

Exhibition | Louis Gauffier’s Journey to Italy

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on July 13, 2022

Now on view at the Musée Fabre:

Le Voyage en Italie de Louis Gauffier (1762–1801)
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 7 May — 4 September 2022
Musée Sainte-Croix de Poitiers, 14 October 2022 — 12 February 2023

Curated by Pierre Stepanoff

Cette exposition d’été au musée Fabre, organisée en collaboration avec le musée Sainte-Croix de Poitiers—où elle sera présentée du 14 octobre 2022 au 12 février 2023—est la première consacrée à la carrière de Louis Gauffier, peintre de la fin de XVIII e siècle.

Né à Poitiers en 1762, Louis Gauffier est de ces artistes européens pour qui l’Italie fut une terre d’élection. Vainqueur du Prix de Rome en 1784, il découvre la Ville Éternelle et ses vestiges, puis Florence et la Toscane à partir de 1793, jusqu’à son décès précoce en 1801.

Le peintre déploie son art aussi bien dans les sujets mythologiques que bibliques, les portraits et le paysage. À l’orée du XIX e siècle, il propose des formules nouvelles d’une grande originalité, intimes et poétiques, qui le distinguent de ses contemporains. Le charme singulier de ses toiles explique la riche représentation du peintre dans les musées français et internationaux, qui soutiennent par leur prêts l’exposition du musée Fabre : musée des Offices à Florence, Kenwood House à Londres, National Gallery of Scotland à Edimbourg, Nationalmuseum à Stockholm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Minneapolis Art Institute, Fine Art Museums à San Francisco, National Gallery of Victoria à Melbourne.

C’est en Italie, à Rome puis à Florence, que Louis Gauffier et François-Xavier Fabre devinrent camarade et amis. Le soin avec lequel Fabre recueilli des œuvres de son ami après son décès précoce explique aujourd’hui la très belle représentation de Gauffier au musée de Montpellier, dont l’exposition permettra de découvrir la richesse de sa carrière.

L’exposition montre à travers des sections chronologiques et thématiques l’évolution de la carrière de Gauffier, aussi bien dans le langage néoclassique qu’il développe dans ses peintures d’histoire, marquées par une grande curiosité archéologique comme par un sentimentalisme doux, ou encore dans son goût novateur pour le paysage, mettant en scène l’aristocratie européenne du Grand Tour partant à la découverte de la Toscane.

Cette rétrospective mettra également l’artiste en perspective avec ses contemporains, qu’il s’agisse de ses camarades français, Drouais, Gagneraux et surtout Fabre, mais également avec le contexte artistique italien profondément marqué par des peintres issus de toute l’Europe et dans lequel s’inscrit Gauffier, notamment dans ses portraits et ses paysages. C’est à une véritable découverte de l’Italie du Grand Tour que le visiteur sera convié.

Pierre Stepanoff,, ed., Le voyage en Italie de Louis Gauffier (Ghent: Éditions Snoeck, 2022), 408 pages, ISBN: ‎978-9461615831, €39.

Exhibition | Renoir: Rococo Revival

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 12, 2022

I’m sorry to have missed notice of this exhibition earlier. There is an excellent ‘digitorial‘ component, and the catalogue is still available. CH

Renoir: Rococo Revival
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 2 March — 19 June 2022

Curated by Alexander Eiling, Juliane Betz, and Fabienne Ruppen

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) was one of the outstanding painters of French Impressionism—and far more than that. For the first time the Städel Museum addressed the surprising references in his art to Rococo painting in a large-scale special exhibition. Whereas Rococo painting was considered frivolous and immoral after the French Revolution, it underwent a revival in the nineteenth century and was widely visible in Renoir’s lifetime.

Having trained as a porcelain painter, Renoir was intimately acquainted with the imagery of artists such as Antoine Watteau, Baptiste Siméon Chardin, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. He shared the Rococo’s predilection for certain subjects, among them promenaders in the park and on the riverbank, moments of repose in the outdoors, and the garden party. Renoir also frequently devoted himself to the depiction of domestic scenes and family life as well as intimate moments such as bathing, reading, or making music. Yet he not only took orientation from the motifs of the Rococo, but also particularly admired its loose and sketchy manner of painting as well as its brilliant palette, aspects that would have a formative influence on him and many other artists in the Impressionist circle.

Trenchant juxtapositions of Renoir’s art with works of the eighteenth century as well as his own contemporaries—Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Berthe Morisot—provided an overview of Impressionism’s intense artistic examination of the Rococo. The exhibition showed a total of some 120 outstanding paintings, works on paper and handcrafted objects from international museums such as the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private collections.

Dr. Alexander Eiling (Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Juliane Betz (Deputy Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Fabienne Ruppen (Research Assistant, Modern Art, Städel Museum)

Alexander Eiling with Juliane Betz and Fabienne Ruppen, eds, Renoir: Rococo Revival (Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz, 2022), 328 pages, ISBN 978-3775751346 (English edition), ISBN 978-3775751339 (German edition), €50. Text by Michela Bassu, Juliane Betz, Alexander Eiling, Guillaume Faroult, Marine Kisiel, Matthias Krüger, Mary Morton, Astrid Reuter, and Fabienne Ruppen.

Exhibition | Fantastically French! Design and Architecture in Prints

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 11, 2022

Pierre Moreau, Mausoleum, 1730, etching, approximately 5 × 8 inches
(Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin)

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Now on view at the Blanton Museum of Art:

Fantastically French! Design and Architecture in 16th- to 18th-Century Prints
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, 5 March — 14 August 2022

From arabesques to grotesques and from sphinxes to snails, French printmakers combined ancient decorative motifs with newly invented ones to create designs for everything from jewelry to architectural façades. Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century with ornamentation for the royal hunting lodge of Fontainebleau, through garden designs at the palace of Versailles, to patterns for eighteenth-century home furnishings, prints were important sites of invention and served as vehicles for the proliferation of decorative motifs across a variety of media. Drawing primarily from the Blanton’s extensive holdings of French prints, this exhibition invites visitors to look closely at exquisite details, marvel at fantastic forms, and take delight in ornate embellishments that celebrate the creativity of artistic imagination across three centuries.

New Book | Grinling Gibbons and His Contemporaries

Posted in books by Editor on July 10, 2022

From Brepols:

Ada De Wit, Grinling Gibbons and His Contemporaries (1650–1700): The Golden Age of Woodcarving in the Netherlands and Britain (Turnhout: Brepols, 2022), 426 pages, ISBN: 978-2503584881, €150.

One of the greatest artists of the English Baroque, Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721) was born in Rotterdam to English parents. He moved to England at the age of nineteen and embarked on a spectacular career. His exuberant lifelike carvings in limewood can be admired at Hampton Court Palace and at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. But what was the Dutch tradition that shaped him? And what set him apart from the other carvers of his time? This book explains the importance of woodcarving and provides new insights into the work of woodcarvers in the Netherlands and Britain. Full of discoveries and new images, it discusses little-known interiors, objects, craftsmen, and their patrons and provides a rich introduction to the ornamental world of woodcarving.

Ada de Wit is Curator of Works of Art and Sculpture at The Wallace Collection, London. A specialist in decorative arts and historic interiors, she is an expert on the art of Grinling Gibbons.

%d bloggers like this: