Enfilade

The Art Bulletin, September 2022

Posted in books, journal articles, reviews by Editor on September 22, 2022

The long eighteenth century in the latest issue of The Art Bulletin 104 (September 2022) . . .

A R T I C L E S

• Tomasz Grusiecki, “Doublethink: Polish Carpets in Transcultural Contexts,” pp. 29–54.
A group of carpets termed tapis polonais (French for “Polish carpets”) were mistakenly given this name in the nineteenth century, despite their Persian provenience. Today, these artifacts are often described as “so-called Polish carpets,” emphasizing the historical confusion which led to coining the phrase. Evidence from both early modern and modern archival and literary sources suggests, however, that to fully understand the significance of tapis polonais we must embrace their transcultural contexts. Embedded in ongoing cycles of recontextualization and reappropriation, tapis polonais effectively challenge outdated assumptions that cultural forms can be simply assigned to a single cultural region and its historical traditions.

Vincennes Manufactory, after Pierre Blondeau, after François Boucher, La Danseuse (Dancer), ca. 1752, soft-paste biscuit porcelain, 22 × 14 × 8 cm (Cleveland Museum of Art).

• Susan M. Wager, Boucher’s Spirit: Authorship, Invention, and the Force of Porcelain,” pp. 55–83.
Deemed “ridiculous dolls” by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, porcelain figurines have long resided on the outskirts of art history. The exceptional case of biscuit porcelain figurines, invented in France in the 1750s, has been folded into an anachronistic story of stylistic change. This essay disentangles the history of porcelain figurines from the history of Neoclassicism. Through a close reading of the abbé Jean-Bernard Le Blanc’s (1707–1781) art criticism and analysis of a 1761 set of reproductive prints, it shows that biscuit figurines designed by the quintessentially rococo painter François Boucher defied assumptions about porcelain’s irreducible materiality, complicating fundamental eighteenth-century ideas about authorship.

R E V I E W S

• Kirsten Pai Buick, Review of Aston Gonzalez, Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2020); Paul Kaplan, Contraband Guides: Race, Transatlantic Culture, and the Arts in the Civil War Era (Penn State University Press, 2020); and Teresa Goddu, Selling Antislavery: Abolition and Mass Media in Antebellum America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020), pp. 150–57.

• Atreyee Gupta, Review of Niharika Dinkar, Empires of Light: Vision, Visibility and Power in Colonial India (University of Manchester Press, 2019), pp. 158–60.

• Alina Payne, Review of Fabio Barry, Painting in Stone: Architecture and the Poetics of Marble from Antiquity to the Enlightenment (Yale University Press, 2020), pp. 160–63.

 

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