New Book | Ogata Korin: Art in Early Modern Japan

Posted in books by Editor on December 23, 2021

From Yale UP:

Frank Feltens, Ogata Kōrin: Art in Early Modern Japan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0300256918, $60.

A lush portrait introducing one of the most important Japanese artists of the Edo period

Best known for his paintings Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms, Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) was a highly successful artist who worked in many genres and media—including hanging scrolls, screen paintings, fan paintings, lacquer, textiles, and ceramics. Combining archival research, social history, and visual analysis, Frank Feltens situates Kōrin within the broader art culture of early modern Japan. He shows how financial pressures, client preferences, and the impulse toward personal branding in a competitive field shaped Kōrin’s approach to art-making throughout his career. Feltens also offers a keen visual reading of the artist’s work, highlighting the ways Korin’s artistic innovations succeeded across media, such as his introduction of painterly techniques into lacquer design and his creation of ceramics that mimicked the appearance of ink paintings. This book, the first major study of Korin in English, provides an intimate and thought-provoking portrait of one of Japan’s most significant artists.

Frank Feltens is Japan Foundation Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.


Note to the Reader

1  Before Painting: Ogata Kōrin and His Turn to Art
2  Of Poets and Flowers: Kōrin’s Early Paintings
3  Art and Family: Kōrin’s Lacquer Works and Hon’ami Kōetsu
4  Heading East: Kōrin in Edo
5  Beyond Ink: Ceramics by Kōrin and Kenzan
6  Toward the End: Kōrin’s Late Work


Exhibition | France and Russia: Ten Centuries Together

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 19, 2021

Pierre-François Drais, snuffbox, made in Paris between 1776 and 1789, with portraits added sometime between 1814 and 1830; gold, enamel, and lapis lazuli, mounted with miniatures in watercolour on ivory (London: V&A, 905-1882). The portraits depict Marie Antoinette and her children Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte (1778–1851), the Dauphin Louis (1781–1789), and Louis-Charles the future Louis XVII (1785–1795), along with a sculptured bust of Louis XVI.

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From the press release for the exhibition:

France and Russia: Ten Centuries Together / Франция и Россия: 10 веков вместе
Exhibition Halls of the Patriarch’s Palace and the Assumption Belfry, Moscow, 7 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

The Moscow Kremlin Museums present the exhibition France and Russia: Ten Centuries Together as part of the cross-cultural year between Russia and France, highlighting their interregional cooperation. The project, dedicated to the centuries-long history of cultural and diplomatic relations between the two countries, showcases over two hundred artifacts: memorial objects, archival documents, and artworks from national Russian and European museums. The exhibition explores the history of Russian-French relations through intertwining fates of outstanding personalities including prominent statesmen, scientists, writers, artists, and craftsmen. The chosen approach aims at reconstructing the character of the relationship between the two countries as an immediate, multifaceted, somewhat contradictory, but an ultimately fruitful process for both parties.

The show opens with a unique charter, dating back to 1063 and recalling the important political event of the 11th century: the dynastic marriage of Princess Anna Yaroslavna, daughter of the Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise, to King Henry I of France. The charter, provided by the National Library of France, is believed to be the only surviving document that bears the handwritten sign of the cross and monogram of King Philip I with his mother’s authentic signature ‘ANA RHNA’ (Queen Anne) placed underneath in Cyrillic letters. Visitors are also afforded the rare opportunity of seeing the Reims Gospel—a unique illuminated manuscript of great cultural and historical significance. Generously offered for the exhibition by the Municipal Library of Reims, it will take centre stage among the key objects on display.

Among the later period pieces featured in the exhibition is a drawing by artist J. Desmarets capturing Peter I and Louis XV in Paris on 11 May 1717 and presented to the Soviet leaders as a diplomatic gift in 1944 to commemorate the visit of Charles de Gaulle, the Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, to Moscow. The development of the 18th-century political dialogue between Russia and France is chronicled through paintings and sculptures, weapons, textiles, and jewellery commissioned for the Russian Imperial Court from famous French masters or created by prominent French artists invited to Russia. The passion for French art is evidenced by luxurious tapestries, the ceremonial dress of the young Emperor Peter II, the exquisite lacework adorning the gowns of Russian monarchesses, the pieces from the silver Paris set owned by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, and magnificent weapons, including a pair of pistols belonging to Emperor Peter II and made by the Arquebusier du Roi (royal gunmaker) Jean-Baptiste Laroche.

J. Desmarets, Peter I and Louis XV in Paris on 11 May 1717, 1717, ink, watercolour, red chalk, and gouache on tinted paper (Moscow Kremlin Museums)

Portraits from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts recreate a gallery of outstanding political and cultural figures from the reigns of Empresses Elizaveta Petrovna and Catherine the Great. The section on Catherine the Great’s reign showcases pieces from the legendary Orlov porcelain service executed by the Parisian silversmiths Jacques and Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers along with the precious desk clock with inkstand—the work of a Parisian master—that belonged to the Empress. Unique pieces from the collection of the Pavlovsk Museum and Heritage Site will hark back to Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna’s tours of Europe. The years preceding the Great French Revolution are epitomised by the rare memorial objects and are captured in the portraits painted by Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Queen Marie-Antoinette’s favourite artist.

A special section of the exhibition is devoted to relations between Russia and France during the reign of Emperor Alexander I. Here, visitors will see a magnificent cased set of weapons made by the famous French gunsmith and bladesmith Nicolas-Noël Boutet—the gift presented to the Russian governor-general of Paris, Baron Fabian Gottlieb Fürst von der Osten-Sacken from the grateful Parisians. Another highlight is the Olympic porcelain service produced at the Sèvres porcelain factory and presented in 1807 by Napoleon to the Emperor Alexander I in commemoration of the Treaty of Tilsit. The star of the Order of the Holy Spirit, awarded to Alexander I by King Louis XVIII after the former’s victory over Napoleon and the restoration of the monarchy in France, is another showpiece not to miss! The exhibition introduces visitors to the history of ‘Russian Nice’ and feature stories of the World Exhibition that took place in Paris in 1867. It also offers insights into the process of strengthening of Franco-Russian friendship and formation of the Franco-Russian Alliance at the turn of the 19th century.

Participating Institutions
The Moscow Kremlin Museums, the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museums of Castles Malmaison and Bois-Préau, National Library of France, the Reims Municipal Library, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture, the State Hermitage, Museum and Heritage Site ‘Pavlovsk’, the Russian State Library, the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents

Svetlana Amelekhina et al. Frantsiia i Rossiia: Desiat’ vekov vmeste / Франция и Россия: 10 веков вместе (Moscow: Muzei Moskovskogo Kremlia, 2021), 383 pages, ISBN: 978-5886783872. Available here»

New Book | Les ébénistes de la Couronne sous le règne de Louis XIV

Posted in books by Editor on December 19, 2021

From Bib des Arts:

Calin Demetrescu, Les ébénistes de la Couronne sous le règne de Louis XIV (Lausanne: La Bibliothèque des Arts, 2021), 448 pages, ISBN: ‎978-2884532273, €59 / $94.

Cet ouvrage est le fruit d’un travail de recherche mené sur plus de dix ans. Par un dépouillement de nombreux documents d’archives, la plupart inédits, l’auteur révèle des aspects méconnus de la biographie des artisans ayant œuvré pour le Garde Meuble de la Couronne et pour les Bâtiments du Roi. Cette approche donne vie aux relations de travail—et de famille—au sein d’une véritable nébuleuse d’artisans (menuisiers ébénistes, bronziers, ornemanistes) français et étrangers, catholiques venus d’Italie et protestants venus des pays du nord de l’Europe.

Une méthode de travail originale, fondée sur l’approche des séries analogiques, a permis des identifications et des attributions d’œuvres majeures : notamment à Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt, par exemple, dont la possible collaboration avec André-Charles Boulle est ici mise en évidence. Outre une étude des œuvres de Domenico Cucci déjà connues, l’auteur propose également une révision des attributions à Pierre Golle ainsi qu’une nouvelle chronologie de l’œuvre d’André- Charles Boulle. Plus de 400 illustrations en couleur documentent utilement la démarche de l’auteur de cette somme qui comblera tous les admirateurs du Grand Siècle et qui sera un outil de travail indispensable pour les conservateurs de musée comme pour les antiquaires et les collectionneurs.

Auteur d’articles et d’ouvrages sur les styles Louis XIV et Régence, Calin Demetrescu, historien d’art, ancien conservateur des musées de la Ville de Bucarest et collaborateur scientifique du département des objets d’art du musée du Louvre pendant plusieurs années, est l’un des spécialistes connus et réputés pour ses recherches et publications relatives aux ébénistes et au mobilier des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Ses découvertes dans le domaine ont permis des avancées notables dans les connaissances sur les ébénistes de cette période, dont ceux faisant l’objet de cette remarquable étude. Sa thèse sur le sujet reçut le Prix Georges-Nicole de la Société d’Histoire de l’Art français.


New Book | Facing Georgetown’s History

Posted in books by Editor on December 17, 2021

From Georgetown UP:

Adam Rothman and Elsa Barraza Mendoza, eds., with a foreword by Lauret Savoy, Facing Georgetown’s History: A Reader on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation (Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2021), 368 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1647120962, $30.

A microcosm of the history of American slavery in a collection of the most important primary and secondary readings on slavery at Georgetown University and among the Maryland Jesuits

Georgetown University’s early history, closely tied to that of the Society of Jesus in Maryland, is a microcosm of the history of American slavery: the entrenchment of chattel slavery in the tobacco economy of the Chesapeake in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the contradictions of liberty and slavery at the founding of the United States; the rise of the domestic slave trade to the cotton and sugar kingdoms of the Deep South in the nineteenth century; the political conflict over slavery and its overthrow amid civil war; and slavery’s persistent legacies of racism and inequality. It is also emblematic of the complex entanglement of American higher education and religious institutions with slavery.

Important primary sources drawn from the university’s and the Maryland Jesuits’ archives document Georgetown’s tangled history with slavery, down to the sizes of shoes distributed to enslaved people on the Jesuit plantations that subsidized the school. The volume also includes scholarship on Jesuit slaveholding in Maryland and at Georgetown, news coverage of the university’s relationship with slavery, and reflections from descendants of the people owned and sold by the Maryland Jesuits.

These essays, articles, and documents introduce readers to the history of Georgetown’s involvement in slavery and recent efforts to confront this troubling past. Current efforts at recovery, repair, and reconciliation are part of a broader contemporary moment of reckoning with American history and its legacies. This reader traces Georgetown’s “Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Initiative” and the role of universities, which are uniquely situated to conduct that reckoning in a constructive way through research, teaching, and modeling thoughtful, informed discussion.

Adam Rothman is a professor in Georgetown University’s Department of History. He is the author of Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery, which was named the Humanities Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and received the American Civil War Museum’s book award. He is also the author of Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South and the coauthor of Major Problems in Atlantic History. He served on Georgetown’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation in 2015-16, and is currently the principal curator of the Georgetown Slavery Archive. He was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in 2018, where he created the podcast African-American Passages: Black Lives in the 19th Century.

Elsa Barraza Mendoza is a PhD candidate in history at Georgetown University and the assistant curator of the Georgetown Slavery Archive. She is a former Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellow. Her research has been supported by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. She is currently writing her dissertation on the history of slavery on Georgetown’s campus.

Lauret Savoy is the David B. Truman Professor of environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, where she explores the marks of history on the land. The author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, she also descends from people enslaved by Jesuits.


Editors’ Note

Foreword, Lauret Savoy

Introduction, Adam Rothman

Part 1 | History

1  Craig Steven Wilder, War and Priests: Catholic Colleges and Slavery in the Age of Revolution
2  Robert Emmet Curran, ‘Splendid Poverty’: Jesuit Slaveholding in Maryland, 1805–38
3  Elsa Barraza Mendoza, Catholic Slave Owners and the Development of Georgetown University’s Slave Hiring System, 1792–1862
4  James O’Toole, Passing: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820–1920

5  Enslaved People Named in a Deed, 1717
6  A Sermon on the Treatment of Slaves, 1749
7  Edward Queen Petitions for Freedom, 1791
8  Isaac Runs Away from Georgetown College, 1814
9  A Jesuit Overseer Calculates the Cost of Slave Labor, 1815
10  Baptism of Sylvester Greenleaf at Newtown, 1819
11  Fr. James Ryder, SJ, Criticizes Abolitionism, 1835
12  The Society of Jesus Sets Conditions on the Sale of the Maryland Slaves, 1836
13  Articles of Agreement between Thomas Mulledy, Henry Johnson, and Jesse Batey, 1838
14  A Jesuit Priest Witnesses Anguish at Newtown, 1838
15  Bill of Sale for Len, 1843
16  A Jesuit Priest Reports on the Fate of the Ex-Jesuit Enslaved Community in Louisiana, 1848
17  Aaron Edmonson, the Last Enslaved Worker at Georgetown, 1859–62
18  Labor Contract at West Oak Plantation, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, 1865
19  Photograph of Frank Campbell, ca. 1900

Part 2 | Memory and Reconciliation

20  Ira Berlin, American Slavery in History and Memory and the Search for Social Justice
21  Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations
22  Alondra Nelson, The Social Life of DNA: Racial Reconciliation and Institutional Morality after the Genome

The Working Group
23  Matthew Quallen, Slavery’s Remnants, Buried and Overlooked
24  Toby Hung, Student Activists Sit in outside DeGioia’s Office
25  Report of the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, to the President of Georgetown University
26  James Martin, SJ, How Georgetown is Coming to Terms with Slavery in Its Past

The GU272 Descendants
27  Rachel L. Swarns, 272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?
28  Rachel L. Swarns and Sona Patel, ‘A Million Questions’ from Descendants of Slaves Sold to Aid Georgetown
29  Terry L. Jones, Louisiana Families Dig into Their History, Find They Are Descendants of Slaves Sold by Georgetown University
30  Cheryllyn Branche, My Family’s Story in Georgetown’s Slave Past
31  Rick Boyd, Many in Slave Sale Cited by Georgetown Toiled in Southern Maryland

Reconciliation and Reparation
32  Remarks of Sandra Green Thomas at Georgetown University’s Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope
33  Remarks of Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, at Georgetown University’s Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope
34  Terrence McCoy, Her Ancestors Were Georgetown’s Slaves. Now, at Age 63, She’s Enrolled There-as a College Freshman
35  Marc Parry, A New Path to Atonement
36  Jesús A. Rodríguez, This Could Be the First Slavery Reparations Policy in America
37  Javon Price, Changing Perceptions on the GU272 Referendum

Epilogue, Elsa Barraza Mendoza

Further Reading

New Book | The Power of Pastiche

Posted in books by Editor on December 16, 2021

From Clemson UP, with distribution by Liverpool UP and OUP:

Alison DeSimone, The Power of Pastiche: Musical Miscellany and Cultural Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Clemson: Clemson University Press, 2021), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-1942954774, $120 / £90.

In eighteenth-century England, ‘variety’ became a prized aesthetic in musical culture. Not only was variety—of counterpoint, harmony, melody, and orchestration—expected for good composition, but it also manifested in cultural mediums such as songbook anthologies, which compiled miscellaneous songs and styles in single volumes; pasticcio operas, which were cobbled together from excerpts from other operas; and public concerts, which offered a hodgepodge assortment of different types and styles of performance. I call this trend of producing music through the collection, assemblage, and juxtaposition of various smaller pieces as musical miscellany; like a jigsaw puzzle (also invented in the eighteenth century), the urge to construct a whole out of smaller, different parts reflected a growing desire to appeal to a quickly diversifying England. This book explores the phenomenon of musical miscellany in early eighteenth-century England both in performance culture and as an aesthetic. Musical miscellany, in its many forms, juxtaposed foreign and homegrown musical practices and styles in order to stimulate discourse surrounding English musical culture during a time of cosmopolitan transformation.

Alison DeSimone is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She co-edited, with Matthew Gardner, Music and the Benefit Performance in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2019). She has published articles in the A-R Online Anthology, Händel-Jahrbuch, and Early Modern Women. Her article “‘Equally Charming, Equally Too Great’: Female Rivalry, Politics, and Opera in Early Eighteenth-Century London” won the 2018 Ruth Solie Prize for an Outstanding Article on British Music from the North American British Music Studies Association. She is currently an associate editor of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.


List of Figures
List of Musical Examples
List of Tables

1  The Performance of Miscellany in Variety Concerts, 1700–1711
2  ‘An Assemblage of Every Kind’: The Pasticcio Opera Tradition as Miscellany
3  Shaping English Identity in the Songbook iscellany
4  Composition, Cosmopolitanism, and Musical Miscellany
5  Variety in Criticism and Aesthetics in Eighteenth-Century England


New Book | Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space

Posted in books by Editor on December 16, 2021

From the University of Pittsburgh Press:

Joseph Clarke, Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-0822946571, $60.

A room’s acoustic character seems at once the most technical and the most mystical of concerns. Since the early Enlightenment, European architects have systematically endeavored to represent and control the propagation of sound in large interior spaces. Their work has been informed by the science of sound but has also been entangled with debates on style, visualization techniques, performance practices, and the expansion of the listening public. Echo’s Chambers explores how architectural experimentation from the seventeenth through the mid-twentieth centuries laid the groundwork for concepts of acoustic space that are widely embraced in contemporary culture. It focuses on the role of echo and reverberation in the architecture of Pierre Patte, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Carl Ferdinand Langhans, and Le Corbusier, as well as the influential acoustic ideas of Athanasius Kircher, Richard Wagner, and Marshall McLuhan. Drawing on interdisciplinary theories of media and auditory culture, Joseph L. Clarke reveals how architecture has impacted the ways we continue to listen to, talk about, and creatively manipulate sound in the physical environment.

Joseph L. Clarke is assistant professor of art history at the University of Toronto and a licensed architect. His scholarship explores how modern architecture has defined itself as a discipline through particular techniques, theories, and representational conventions.


Note on Translations

Introduction: ‘The Night Shall Be Filled with Music’
1  Domesticating Echo: Clamors in Print
2  Spaces Heard and Seen: Constructing Acoustic Naturalism
3  The Catacoustic Imagination: Enchantment by Immersion
4  Redeeming the Senses: The Acoustics of Total Art
5  Listening Out of Place: Modern Architecture and acoustique électronique
Conclusion: On Further Reflection


New Book | Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper

Posted in books by Editor on December 15, 2021

From Princeton UP:

Basile Baudez, Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 288 pages, ISBN: ‎978-0691213569, $65.

The first comprehensive account of how and why architects learned to communicate through color

Architectural drawings of the Italian Renaissance were largely devoid of color, but from the seventeenth century through the nineteenth, polychromy in architectural representation grew and flourished. Basile Baudez argues that colors appeared on paper when architects adapted the pictorial tools of imitation, cartographers’ natural signs, military engineers’ conventions, and, finally, painters’ affective goals in an attempt to communicate with a broad public.

Inessential Colors traces the use of color in European architectural drawings and prints, revealing how this phenomenon reflected the professional anxieties of an emerging professional practice that was simultaneously art and science. Traversing national borders, the book addresses color as a key player in the long history of rivalry and exchange between European traditions in architectural representation and practice.

Featuring a wealth of previously unpublished drawings, Inessential Colors challenges the long-standing misreading of architectural drawings as illustrations rather than representations, pointing instead to their inherent qualities as independent objects whose beauty paved the way for the visual system architects use today.

Basile Baudez is assistant professor of architectural history in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. His books include Architecture et tradition académique and A Civic Utopia: Architecture and the City in France, 1765–1837.



Prologue: Architectures in Black and White
1  Imitative Colors
2  Conventional Colors
3  Affective Colors
Conclusion: The Anxiety of the Architect

Appendix: The Draftsman’s Tools

Image Credits


Exhibition | Les Adam: La Sculpture en Héritage

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 14, 2021

Now on view at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy:

Les Adam: La Sculpture en Héritage
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, 18 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

Curated by Pierre-Hippolyte Pénet and Guilhem Scherf

Originally from Nancy, the Adam family is the largest dynasty of French sculptors of the 18th century. Over three generations, its members worked in Rome, Paris, Versailles, and Berlin in the service of the Pope and European monarchs such as Louis XV, Louis XVI, Frederick II of Prussia, and Catherine II of Russia. This the first retrospective devoted to them brings together one hundred masterpieces from national and international institutions as well as from private collections, bearing witness to the Adam family’s virtuosity at the heart of Europe during the Enlightenment.

Originaire de Nancy, la famille Adam est la plus grande dynastie de sculpteurs français du XVIIIe siècle. Sur trois générations, ses membres déploient leurs talents auprès des plus grands mécènes et participent à plusieurs chantiers majeurs. Formés en Lorraine dans le contexte d’essor artistique des règnes des ducs Léopold et Stanislas, Jacob Sigisbert Adam, ses trois fils Lambert Sigisbert, Nicolas Sébastien et François Gaspard ainsi que leurs neveux Sigisbert François, Pierre Joseph et Claude Michel dit Clodion, œuvrent à Rome, Paris, Versailles ou Berlin au service du pape et des monarques européens comme Louis XV, Louis XVI, Frédéric II de Prusse ou Catherine II de Russie. Première rétrospective à leur être consacrée, l’exposition réunit cent chefs-d’œuvre issus d’institutions nationales, internationales mais aussi de collections particulières. Permettant de dévoiler plusieurs sculptures prestigieuses inédites qui témoignent de la virtuosité de la famille Adam au cœur de l’Europe des Lumières, elle est accompagnée d’un catalogue de référence sur le sujet.

Commissariat: Pierre-Hippolyte Pénet, conservateur du patrimoine chargé des collections du XVe au XVIIIe siècle, palais des ducs de Lorraine – Musée lorrain, et Guilhem Scherf, conservateur général du patrimoine, adjoint au directeur du département des Sculptures, musée du Louvre.

The full press packet is available here»

Pierre-Hippolyte Pénet and Guilhem Scherf, eds., Les Adam: La Sculpture en Héritage (Paris: Snoeck Édition, 2021), 343 pages, ISBN: 978-9461616234 35€.

New Book | Enduring Presence: William Hogarth’s Afterlives

Posted in books by Editor on December 13, 2021

From Peter Lang:

Caroline Patey, Cynthia Roman, and Georges Letissier, Enduring Presence: William Hogarth’s British and European Afterlives, 2 vols. (Bern: Peter Lang, 2021), 674 pages, ISBN: 978-1800791558, £60 / $91.

Long after his death in 1764, William Hogarth is still our contemporary. Far from leading a secluded existence in museums and academies, his legacy of vibrant images and provocative ideas remains a powerful source of inventiveness and inspiration for the artists of today, as once for those of yesterday, be it on page, stage, canvas, or digital formats.

After approaching the artist by way of his challenging aesthetic philosophy and his resistance to normative categories, this two-book set considers Hogarth’s pioneering sense of performativity, which has long made him the treasured interlocutor of actors and playwrights, from David Garrick to Bertolt Brecht, or Nick Dear. His work has permeated film, television, the graphic novel, art, and narrative, which all bear witness to his versatile and powerful use of images and its resonance in the modern and contemporary age. Brimming as it is with energy, plenty, affliction, entropy, and empathy, Hogarth’s contradictory universe of chaos and beauty is in tune with ours and resonates vividly with contemporary passions and struggles. The twenty-eight essays in this collection chart the teeming legacies of William Hogarth and explore the ways in which his works and ideas were and are revisited and appropriated in the UK and across Europe. For the eighteenth-century artist lives on as an unforgotten presence, whose invigorating and challenging memory energizes multiple expressive forms, including drama, visual arts, literature, film, graphic novels, and TV serials.

Caroline Patey is Professor of English Literature at the Università degli Studi in Milan, Italy. Her research interests include Renaissance culture, late Victorian literature, Modernism, and the interactions between art, museums, and literature. Cynthia E. Roman is Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Her research interests include the production, circulation, and collecting history of prints in eighteenth-century Britain. Georges Letissier is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Nantes University, France. His field of speciality is nineteenth-century literature (Charles Dickens, George Eliot) and contemporary British fiction (Will Self, Graham Swift, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson).


Reimagining the Ballet des Porcelaines

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on December 10, 2021

The Ballet des Porcelaines cast in the Venetian Room, Albertine Headquarters, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, NYC. From left to right: Daniel Applebaum (Prince); Georgina Pazcoguin (Princess); Tyler Hanes (Sorcerer). Photo by Joe Carrotta.

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As part of the media preview of the exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, guests were given a special chance to see the first performance in centuries of the Ballet des Porcelaine. A publication, noted below, is forthcoming. Additional information about the performance, including credits, is available here.

The original Ballet des Porcelaines, written by the comte de Caylus and staged around 1740 at a château outside of Paris, was based on an Orientalist fairy tale in the same literary milieu as Beauty and the Beast (1740). The story tells of an Asian sorcerer who lives on a ‘Blue Island’ and transforms anyone who dares to trespass into porcelain cups, vases, and other wares. When the sorcerer turns a captive prince into a teapot, a princess comes to rescue her lover by stealing the sorcerer’s wand and turning him into a pagod, an eighteenth-century version of a porcelain bobblehead. Displayed today in museums like The Met, pagods were collectible trinkets that inspired Oriental caricatures in the performing arts. European choreographers mimicked the features and gestures of these porcelain figures, which persist in such iconic, problematic productions as The Nutcracker’s “Chinese Tea” dance.

Scheduled Performances

6 December 2021, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2–3 March 2022, The University of Chicago
18–19 March 2022, Princeton University
16–17 June 2022, Waddesdon Manor
19–21 June 2022, Royal Pavilion, Brighton
25–26 June 2022, Capodimonte, Naples
28–29 June 2022, Palazzo Grassi, Venice
2–3 July 2022, Sèvres Museum, Paris

Meredith Martin, with contributions by Phil Chan and Charlotte Vignon, Reimagining the Ballet des Porcelaines (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2022).

In addition to the performance and the book, many readers will find this recorded conversation fascinating as well:

Phil Chan and Meredith Martin, hosted by the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, “Reimagining the Ballet des Porcelaines: A Story of Magic, Desire, and Exotic Entanglement,” YouTube, posted 9 November 2021, 63 minutes.

Phil Chan and Meredith Martin have reimagined this lost Baroque work with an all-Asian American creative team, aiming to make it meaningful and relevant for a multiracial and contemporary audience. This talk explores their process and performance plans and features performances by Martha Graham Principal Dancer Xin Ying and actor, singer, dancer, choreographer Tyler Hanes.

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Note (added 15 December 2021) — The posting has been updated to include the cast photo by Joe Carrotta.


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