New Book | Freemasonry and the Visual Arts

Posted in books by Editor on October 19, 2020

From Routledge:

Reva Wolf and Alisa Luxenberg, eds., Freemasonry and the Visual Arts from the Eighteenth Century Forward: Historical and Global Perspectives (London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-1501337963 (hardback), $120 / ISBN: 978-1501366925 (paperback), $35.

With the dramatic rise of Freemasonry in the eighteenth century, art played a fundamental role in its practice, rhetoric, and global dissemination, while Freemasonry, in turn, directly influenced developments in art. This mutually enhancing relationship has only recently begun to receive its due. The vilification of Masons, and their own secretive practices, have hampered critical study and interpretation. As perceptions change, and as masonic archives and institutions begin opening to the public, the time is ripe for a fresh consideration of the interconnections between Freemasonry and the visual arts. This volume offers diverse approaches, and explores the challenges inherent to the subject, through a series of eye-opening case studies that reveal new dimensions of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya and John Singleton Copley, and important collectors and entrepreneurs, including Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Baron Taylor. Individual essays take readers to various countries within Europe and to America, Iran, India, and Haiti. The kinds of art analyzed are remarkably wide-ranging-porcelain, architecture, posters, prints, photography, painting, sculpture, metalwork, and more-and offer a clear picture of the international scope of the relationships between Freemasonry and art and their significance for the history of modern social life, politics, and spiritual practices. In examining this topic broadly yet deeply, Freemasonry and the Visual Arts sets a standard for serious study of the subject and suggests new avenues of investigation in this fascinating emerging field.

Reva Wolf is Professor of Art History, State University of New York at New Paltz. Alisa Luxenberg is Professor of Art History, University of Georgia.


List of illustrations

Reva Wolf and Alisa Luxenberg, Introduction: The Mystery of Masonry Brought to Light
1  David Martín López, Freemasonry in Eighteenth-Century Portugal and the Architectural Projects of the Marquis of Pombal
2  Cordula Bischoff, The Order of the Pug and Meissen Porcelain: Myth and History
3  Reva Wolf, Goya and Freemasonry: Travels, Letters, Friends
4  David Bjelajac, Freemasonry’s ‘Living Stones’ and the Boston Portraiture of John Singleton Copley
5  Nan Wolverton, The Visual Arts of Freemasonry as Practiced ‘Within the Compass of Good Citizens’ by Paul Revere
6  Alisa Luxenberg, Building Codes for Masonic Viewers in Baron Taylor’s Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France
7  Talinn Grigor, Freemasonry and the Architecture of the Persian Revival, 1843–1933
8  William D. Moore, Solomon’s Temple in America: Masonic Architecture, Biblical Imagery, and Popular Culture, 1865–1930
9  Martin Cherry, Freemasonry and the Art Workers’ Guild: The Arts Lodge No. 2751, 1899–1935
10  Cheryl Finley and Deborah Willis, Picturing Black Freemasons from Emancipation to the 1990s
11  Katherine Smith, Saint Jean Baptiste, Haitian Vodou, and the Masonic Imaginary

Selected Bibliography


New Book | Humphry Repton: Landscape Design in an Age of Revolution

Posted in books by Editor on October 18, 2020

From Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press:

Tom Williamson, Humphry Repton: Landscape Design in an Age of Revolution (London: Reaktion Books, 2020), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-1789142990, £35 / $50.

Humphry Repton (1752–1818) remains one of England’s most interesting and prolific garden and landscape designers. Renowned for his innovative design proposals and distinctive before-and-after images, captured in his famous ‘Red Books’, Repton’s astonishing career represents the link between the simple parklands of his predecessor Capability Brown and the more elaborate, structured, and formal landscapes of the Victorian age. This lavishly illustrated book, based on a wealth of new research, reinterprets Repton’s life, working methods, and designs, and examines why they proved so popular in a rapidly changing world.

Tom Williamson is professor of landscape history at the University of East Anglia.


Introducing Humphry Repton
1  Before Repton
2  The Shape of a Career
3  Repton in Business: Working Methods
4  The Public Landscape: ‘Character’ and ‘Appropriation’
5  Domesticity and ‘Cheerfulness’
6  Shaping Style: Influences, Contemporaries, Social Change
Epilogue: Repton’s Legacy

Photo Acknowledgements

Call for Papers | AAH 2021, Online (addendum)

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 18, 2020

Last week, a Call for Papers for AAH 2021 appeared here at Enfilade. I’m sorry that I failed to include the following session on Race and Representation in the French Colonial Empire; the posting has been updated, though I’m glad also to draw readers’ attention to the panel here. CH

Association for Art History (AAH) Conference
Online (University of Birmingham), 4–17 April 2021

Proposals due by 2 November 2020

Race and Representation in the French Colonial Empire
Susannah Blair (Columbia University), seb2210@columbia.edu
Stephanie O’Rourke (University of St Andrews), so38@st-andrews.ac.uk

This session will consolidate new research on the visual culture of race in France and its colonies during the 18th century and into the 19th century. It will be oriented around two key terms, ‘representation’ and ‘possession’, and their many resonances­­—artistic, political, legal and relational. Papers will be invited to explore how art objects articulated, contested and disseminated changing notions of racial identity and citizenship in France and its global networks.

Over the past several years, scholars have examined the role of pictorial representation in shaping ideas of race, identity, indigeneity and slavery in the context of the British Empire. Bringing together new scholarship that builds upon these precedents, we aim to address a deliberately expansive geographical notion of French visual culture, one that includes the Caribbean, New France, North Africa, Canada and the Indian Ocean in addition to sites within the ‘metropole’ such as Paris and Nantes. Fostering a dialogue between art history, indigenous studies and critical race theory, our panel will provide a crucial scholarly platform for research that can inform pedagogy, curatorial practice and future scholarship.

Online Panel | Race and the Boundaries of the Book

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on October 17, 2020

I’m especially excited about the prerecorded videos (most 6–8 minutes); it’s an interesting way to maximize the potential of this RBS online session and also extend the value of the event well beyond the confines of the original session. CH

Race and the Boundaries of the Book: Seven Early American Perspectives
Rare Book School Online, 20 October 2020, 5–6pm (ET)

A 45-minute panel discussion followed by 15 minutes of Q&A scheduled for Tuesday, 20 October 2020, 5–6pm ET, via Zoom. Owing to Zoom’s restrictions, this event is limited to the first 300 people who register. The event will be recorded and made available for viewing on the RBS YouTube channel.

Through video presentations of individual case studies, seven early Americanists zoom in on a range of bookish artifacts and employ critical bibliography to recover overlooked narratives about race from the historical record. Specifically, they examine how racialized and marginalized early American subjects speak through bibliographical concepts and formats. What can the materialities of textual artifacts tell us about the elaboration of racial identities? How does specific attention to African American and Indigenous readers and writers in early American literature and culture—a field that has traditionally privileged white subjects—gain traction by looking at formats, bindings, and paper surfaces on which writing and printing occur? Formats, the panelists argue, are everything but neutral containers. Following a chronological order, the video presentations examine the boundaries of “the book” and the complex richness of small and overlooked forms for recovering dismissed and erased readers, writers, and print artisans.

Rather than a traditional academic conference panel, the participants intend to create an engaging conversation by incorporating an innovative blend of pre-recorded video, focused analysis of specific material texts, and a live-streamed panel discussion of how their work engages with larger questions raised by the fields of early American literature and book history.

The panelists are Tara A. Bynum (University of Iowa), Alan Corbiere (York University), Michael Galban (Seneca Art & Cultural Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site), John H. Pollack (University of Pennsylvania), Phillip Round (University of Iowa), Michaël Roy (Université Paris Nanterre), and Derrick Spires (Cornell University). Steffi Dippold (Kansas State University) and John J. Garcia (Florida State University) are moderating the session.

The panelists have pre-recorded BiblioVideos in preparation for the panel discussion, which can be accessed here or by clicking on the titles below. They plan to summarize the argument during the panel, but the audience should watch the BiblioVideos in advance to prepare for their discussion. The videos are listed in the recommended viewing order below:

Everyone is welcome to attend. To ensure the security of the event, advance registration is required; to register, click here. Registration closes at 8am ET the day of the event. Your registration will be automatically accepted. You will receive an email reminder the day before the event. The day of the event, we will send you the Zoom URL and password. Please direct any questions to RBS Programs at rbs-events@virginia.edu.

Follow the conversation on social media using hashtags #RBSOnline and #RBSEarlyAmBookHistory.

Conference | Collectionner: acteurs, lieux et valeur(s),

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on October 16, 2020

From ArtHist.net:

Collectionner: Acteurs, Lieux et Valeur(s), 1750–1815
Online, 26–27 October 2020

Le colloque aura lieu sur Zoom. Veillez à vous inscrire au préalable, afin de recevoir les informations nécessaire, aux adresses suivants : collection.seminaire@gmail.com / asso.grham@gmail.com.

2 6  O C T O B R E  2 0 2 0

9.00  Accueil — Introduction

9.15  Ouverture
• O. Bonfait (Université de Bourgogne), La culture de la collection au XVIIIe siècle. État de la question

10.00  Session 1: L’objet privé
Présidence: Patrick Michel
• L. Jouvet (Université de Bourgogne), Les médailles de Jean Warin (1604–1672) et leur réception au XVIIIe siècle
• N. Shoory (Durham University), (Re)considering the ‘Gender’ of Collecting, Collections, and Consumption in Eighteenth-Century France
• A. Ottazzi (Université de Turin/HiCSA Paris 1), Le recueil de collection comme outil pour l’étude de la réception
• C. Pietrabissa (IUAV Université de Venise), Collecting landscape drawings in eighteenth-century Paris : delectare and docere
• M. Vandewalle (École du Louvre), Antiques et culture d’un amateur et financier parisien de la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle : le salon et la bibliothèque d’Haranc de Presle (1710–1802)

12.45  Pause déjeuner

14.30  Session 2: L’objet entre privé et public
Présidence: Olivier Bonfait
• B. Lopez (École du Louvre), La peinture caravagesque à Aix-en-Provence, des collections particulières à la constitution d’un musée municipal
• M. Napolitani (ENS Paris), « Né avec le goût des sciences et des arts » : les pratiques de la collection du minéralogiste B.G. Sage (1740–1824), entre cabinet privé et musée au tournant révolutionnaire
• L. Zicavo (Université de Paris), Une collection anglaise perdue du Conservatoire des arts et métiers

16.00  Pause

16.15  Keynote
• P. Michel (Université de Lille), Présenter, ordonner, classer : les espaces de la collection et le mobilier de collectionneur au XVIIIe siècle

2 7  O C T O B R E  2 0 2 0

9.00  Accueil

9.15  Session 3: Identités collectives
Présidence: Charlotte Guichard
• E. Kong (chercheur indépendant), La pratique de la collection chez le financier de la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle
• C. Godfroy-Gallardo (chercheur indépendant), La restitution des biens étrangers sous le Consulat : politique et finance relatives à deux tableaux de Claude Lorrain
• D. Davis (chercheur indépendant), Le Goût des Anglais pour le Mobilier Français : Collectors, Dealers and the Market, 1785–1815

10.45  Pause

11.00  Session 4: Stratégies individuelles
Présidence: Natacha Coquery
• L. Davy (École Nationale des Chartes), Redécouverte d’une collection particulière parisienne du XVIIIe siècle : le cabinet de Louis Petit de Bachaumont
• C. Rousset (Université de Lille), Le collectionneur numismate du siècle des Lumières : entre érudition, prestige et sociabilité savante
• O. Boubakeur (École du Louvre), Perfide Albion ! Douce Angleterre ? Approche franco-anglaise du collectionnisme en temps de rivalité napoléonienne à travers l’exemple croisé de Lord Elgin et du comte de Choiseul-Gouffier

New Book | Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

Posted in books by Editor on October 15, 2020

From Princeton UP:

Janis Tomlinson, Goya: A Portrait of the Artist (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020), 448 pages, ISBN: 978-0691192048, $35 / £30.

The life of Francisco Goya (1746–1828) coincided with an age of transformation in Spanish history that brought upheavals in the country’s politics and at the court which Goya served, changes in society, the devastation of the Iberian Peninsula in the war against Napoleon, and an ensuing period of political instability. In this revelatory biography, Janis Tomlinson draws on a wide range of documents—including letters, court papers, and a sketchbook used by Goya in the early years of his career—to provide a nuanced portrait of a complex and multifaceted painter and printmaker, whose art is synonymous with compelling images of the people, events, and social revolution that defined his life and era.

Tomlinson challenges the popular image of the artist as an isolated figure obsessed with darkness and death, showing how Goya’s likeability and ambition contributed to his success at court, and offering new perspectives on his youth, rich family life, extensive travels, and lifelong friendships. She explores the full breadth of his imagery—from scenes inspired by life in Madrid to visions of worlds without reason, from royal portraits to the atrocities of war. She sheds light on the artist’s personal trials, including the deaths of six children and the onset of deafness in middle age, but also reconsiders the conventional interpretation of Goya’s late years as a period of disillusion, viewing them instead as years of liberated artistic invention, most famously in the murals on the walls of his country house, popularly known as the ‘black’ paintings.

A monumental achievement, Goya: A Portrait of the Artist is the definitive biography of an artist whose faith in his art and his genius inspired paintings, drawings, prints, and frescoes that continue to captivate, challenge, and surprise us two centuries later.

Janis A. Tomlinson has written and lectured extensively on the art of Goya. Her books include Goya: Order and Disorder, Goya: Images of Women, Goya in the Twilight of Enlightenment, and Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid.

Exhibition | The Torlonia Marbles

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2020

Notice of the exhibition appeared here at Enfilade last November; here’s the updated information; the catalogue is published by Electa.

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces
I Marmi Torlonia: Collezionare Capolavori
Musei Capitolini at Palazzo Caffarelli, Rome, 14 October 2020 — 29 June 2021

Curated by Carlo Gasparri and Salvatore Settis

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces presents 96 works selected from the 620 cataloged marbles belonging to the Torlonia Collection, the prestigious private collection of ancient sculptures, significant for the history of art, excavations, restoration, taste, museography, and archaeological studies. The exhibition is organized in five sections, telling the story of the collecting of ancient Greek and Roman marbles in reverse chronology beginning with the founding of the Torlonia Museum in 1875 by Prince Alexander Torlonia. The second section brings together the nineteenth-century finds of antiquity in the Torlonia properties. The next section addresses eighteenth-century collecting, with sculptures from the acquisitions of Villa Albani and the collection of the sculptor and restorer Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. A selection of sculptures owned by Vincenzo Giustiniani, one of the most sophisticated Roman collectors of the seventeenth century then follows, with the final section presenting pieces from collections of aristocratic families of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

New Book | Fragonard: Painting Out of Time

Posted in books by Editor on October 13, 2020

From Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press:

Satish Padiyar, Fragonard: Painting Out of Time (London: Reaktion Books, 2020), 248 pages, ISBN: 978-1789142099, £35 / $55.

At the time of his death in 1806, the rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard had not painted for two decades. Following a period of huge public success, the painter’s reputation fell. Fragonard: Painting Out of Time takes this prolonged artistic silence as a point of departure to investigate the maverick personality of Fragonard within the lively society of eighteenth-century France. Personally secretive, Fragonard nevertheless created revealing images that undermined a normal sense of space and time. Satish Padiyar investigates the life and work of the last of the libertine painters of the ancien regime, a contemporary of Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and presents dramatic new perspectives on works such as The Progress of Love, painted for Madame du Barry, the infamous The Bolt, and the ever-popular The Swing.

Satish Padiyar is Honorary Research Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art. His previous publications include Chains: David, Canova, and the Fall of the Public Hero in Postrevolutionary France (2007).


1  Secrets
2  Surprise
3  Dreams

Select Biography
Photo Acknowledgements

Call for Papers | AAH 2021, Online

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 12, 2020

From AAH:

Association for Art History (AAH) Conference
Online (University of Birmingham), 4–17 April 2021

Proposals due by 2 November 2020

After much discussion and deliberation the Association for Art History has decided to convert the 2021 Annual Conference from a hybrid event to a fully virtual event. Our decision comes on the back of ongoing uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and follows the UK government’s recent announcement to remain working from home for the next six months, where possible. Our primary focus is the safety and well-being of conference participants, prospective delegates, and staff. Whilst it’s disappointing not to be able to bring people together in person to share research and exchange ideas, we are very excited about doing this virtually instead. We are looking forward to hosting an expanded event and engaging with even more people and even more international research.

The 2021 Annual Conference was expanded to a four day event to accommodate sessions from this year’s conference which was cancelled. The 2021 conference will still take place over four days, 14–17 April; and we will continue to work with the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies at the University of Birmingham and with museums and galleries in Birmingham. Session Convenors and speakers will be invited to participate and present their papers digitally, and participate in digital session discussions and debates on-screen, using a secure virtual event platform that will allow delegates maximum access to papers and discussions. Session and paper formats will remain the same, and the four-day programme will continue to offer a range of additional workshops, virtual tours, keynote lectures and networking opportunities for delegates to engage with. We will be conscious of international time differences and screen-fatigue, but aim to offer delegates the same quality of content and experience that people have come to expect, respect and enjoy at an Association for Art History Annual Conference. In light of this decision, we have extended our Call for Papers by two weeks to Monday, 2 November 2020.

Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenor(s). You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any). Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme. You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The following sessions will likely be of interest to Enfilade readers; be sure, however, to check the AAH website for the complete Call for Papers.

Displaying Art in the Early Modern Period, 1450–1750: Exhibiting Practices and Exhibition Spaces
Pamela Bianchi (Paris 8 University), pamelabianchi1@gmail.com

Over the years, despite the increased interest in spatial issues and some iconic studies (Luckhurst, Haskell, Koch), little attention has been paid to the long-term history of the exhibition space and exhibition-making practices. Before the appearance of the first painting exhibitions and the spaces specially designed to show collections, the idea of showing art was mainly related to the habit of dressing up spaces for political and religious commemorations, cultural festivals and marketing strategies. Thus, various venues (palaces, cloisters, façades, squares, pavilions, auction houses, fairs, shops and so forth), where sociability was performed and experienced, ended up becoming temporary and privileged platforms of exhibiting.

What were those places and events? What aesthetic, cultural, social and political discourses intersected with the early idea of exhibition space? How did showing art shape a new vocabulary within these events and, vice versa, how did these occasions condition exhibiting practices? Who were the producers, actors and spectators of these processes, devices and spaces? How can we relate early exhibition logic with art history and exhibition design theories? Which kinds of sources (treatises, depictions) are involved?

The panel proposes to reconsider those events and habits that contributed to defining exhibition-making practices and to shaping the imagery of the exhibition space in the early modern period (1450–1750). Also, it seeks to define a new geography of exhibiting, not limited to Europe but expanded to include exhibiting practices in the early modern Americas, Africa and Asia. It encourages connections between art history, exhibition studies and architectural history, and studies crossing micro-histories and long-term changes, in order to open new perspectives of study and to foster historiographical research through an interdisciplinary approach.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Reanimating the Past: Embodied Knowledge as Art-Historical Method
Juliet Bellow (American University), bellow@american.edu
Meredith Martin (New York University), msm240@nyu.edu

This session will explore how embodied knowledge can open up new avenues of art-historical inquiry by offering unique insights into the past. In recent years, this interest in the body as a research method and a pedagogical tool has led to a wide range of new practices, among them staging dance performances in museums; reenacting historical events or postures; and learning about artists’ processes by remaking lost pigments or other materials. We aim to discuss what is to be gained from these efforts—how embodied knowledge might expand our understanding of art history as a discipline. Conversely, what does art history have to teach us about the experience and the history of embodiment?

We seek papers covering a variety of chronological periods, geographical areas, cultural traditions and media; we particularly encourage presentations that directly incorporate embodied practices. Presenters may focus on artworks with an embodied dimension, or those for which bodies and movement may reanimate still objects (through tactics such as tableaux vivants). We also welcome papers that relate embodied knowledge to congruent or contiguous methodologies, such as material culture studies, that seek to understand and awaken the haptic or affective dimensions of artworks. Ultimately, we are interested in ways that embodied practices in the present can add new layers of meaning to historical images, objects and texts or, by employing new movement vocabularies, can reveal aspects of artworks that have been hitherto hidden or latent.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Race and Representation in the French Colonial Empire
Susannah Blair (Columbia University), seb2210@columbia.edu
Stephanie O’Rourke (University of St Andrews), so38@st-andrews.ac.uk

This session will consolidate new research on the visual culture of race in France and its colonies during the 18th century and into the 19th century. It will be oriented around two key terms, ‘representation’ and ‘possession’, and their many resonances­­—artistic, political, legal and relational. Papers will be invited to explore how art objects articulated, contested and disseminated changing notions of racial identity and citizenship in France and its global networks.

Over the past several years, scholars have examined the role of pictorial representation in shaping ideas of race, identity, indigeneity and slavery in the context of the British Empire. Bringing together new scholarship that builds upon these precedents, we aim to address a deliberately expansive geographical notion of French visual culture, one that includes the Caribbean, New France, North Africa, Canada and the Indian Ocean in addition to sites within the ‘metropole’ such as Paris and Nantes. Fostering a dialogue between art history, indigenous studies and critical race theory, our panel will provide a crucial scholarly platform for research that can inform pedagogy, curatorial practice and future scholarship.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Smell and Stereotype in 18th- and 19th-Century Visual Culture
Ersy Contogouris (University of Montreal), ersy.contogouris@umontreal.ca
Érika Wicky (Université Lumière Lyon 2 / LARHRA), erika.wicky@univ-lyon2.fr

Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, L’Odorat, 1774 (London: The British Museum).

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the ‘olfactory revolution’ that reoriented conceptions of smell led to renewed meanings and functions of this sense in social life. The epistemological shift that strongly linked olfaction with the nervous system, the development of hygiene as a science, and the flourishing of the perfume industry contributed to transforming the significance of smell. The act of smelling thus became involved in many identity constructions such as nation, race, gender and class. Olfaction came to be gendered; for instance, as specific smells became associated with women, the act of smelling was seen as pertaining to the feminine by means of objects such as scent bottles that performed women’s supposed extra-sensitivity to smells, and perfume was increasingly used to bolster the association between women and flowers. At the level of nations, the high proportion of Italian and French perfumers in England contributed to the construction of national stereotypes.

This session seeks to examine ways in which visual culture expressed and reinforced the role of the sense of smell in the construction of stereotypes. Graphic satire, for example, abundantly challenged the invisibility of smell, often representing stench and fragrance in order to express political criticism, reinforce social hierarchies or identify censorious behaviour. Caricaturists, such as Gillray, Boilly and Daumier greatly contributed to stereotyping in allegories, expressions of disgust provoked by miasmas, and representations of effeminate characters such as fops, macaronis, muscadins and dandies. By examining these and other issues related to the representation of smell in the creation and circulation of stereotypes, this session seeks to provide a cross-disciplinary contribution to both the history of visual culture and the history of the senses.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Space Between Non-Arts and Fine Arts: Confronting Gender and the Decorative Arts, 1500–1800
Samantha Chang (University of Toronto), Samantha.chang@mail.utoronto.ca
Lauryn Smith (Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art), Lauryn.smith@case.edu

The decorative arts are not easily defined and have long occupied the shifting space between the non-arts and the fine arts. During the early-modern period, prominent women, such as Catherine de’ Medici and Amalia van Solms-Braunfels, were at the forefront of amassing impressive collections of decorative objects. Limoges enamel pieces created by Susanne de Court and embroideries fabricated by Katharina Rozee were highly sought after by collectors throughout Europe. Recent exhibitions and publications highlight early-modern women as participants in the creating, cultivating and collecting of decorative objects; however, the examination of women’s agency and visibility is still limited.

In this session, we seek papers that confront the impact of early-modern women instigators as conscious creators or collectors of everyday and luxury objects. What role does gender play in the creation of decorative works and the cultivation of a collection? To what extent can a collection reflect its individual users, and what agencies do the objects retain? We invite proposals that address issues including, but not limited to: women as cultural agents; interrelationships among gender and collecting; issues of class and accessibility to resources; and strategies of display. We welcome proposals from a wide variety of disciplines, including art history, material culture, global studies, cultural studies, history, literature and race studies, as well as papers that take a global or transcultural approach and focus on under-researched media.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Visual Art and the Middlebrow
Michael Clegg (Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham), mjc7691@gmail.com
Rebecca Savage (Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham), RXS411@student.bham.ac.uk

As a scholarly concept, the middlebrow has proved fruitful within literary studies. It has stimulated historical research (Faye Hammill, Nicola Humble, Kristin Bluemel, Emma West and others) into the struggle for cultural authority that marked the mid-20th century ‘battle of the brows’ and provided critical distance on the modernist canon that emerged triumphant within the academy. It has also enabled theoretical work (Beth Driscoll and others) that relates to a range of periods and analyses issues including the construction of cultural hierarchies in the context of class, the gendering of cultural forms, the instrumental use of culture, and the positioning of art in opposition to commerce.

The idea of the middlebrow has had less impact on art history, despite encouragement (notably by Hana Leaper) for scholarship addressing intersections of modernism and the middlebrow. Why this has been the case is open to debate, perhaps indicating limited information on art’s audiences and the tendency to treat art markets as a specialist area of study, as well as the grip of existing modernist historiography. Yet, as theoretical concept and historical topic, the middlebrow has the potential to open new perspectives on received art histories, questioning inherited hierarchies and unmooring assumed chronologies.

This session will invite papers related to any period or geography. These might focus on devalued forms or media (didactic works, illustration, works for children, and so forth), studies of audience or dissemination, questions of disputed value, or any other use of the middlebrow to reframe art history.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Why Trompe l’Oeil? The Art of Deception across the Boundaries of Time and Space
Stacey Pierson (SOAS University of London), sp17@soas.ac.uk
Chih-En Chen (SOAS University of London), c_chen@soas.ac.uk

Trompe l’oeil, meaning ‘deceiving the eye’, describes works of art and objects with illusionistically beguiling surfaces and forms. Production of such works can now be identified as a global historical phenomenon, with a broad array of examples ranging from the familiar Palissy wares, to Edward Collier’s painting of writing implements, to Chinese jade cabbages that have been challenging the material experience of visuality and countervisuality for hundreds of years. However, despite its long history of production, the ontology of trompe l’oeil artistic production and the reasons behind this illusory invention remain unexplored. Engaging with the concept of trompe l’oeil in expanded art-historical and visual fields of inquiry, across time and space, would allow us to probe the evolution of the pursuit of deceptive visual representation and the consumption of deceitful things in relation to both heuristic and contextual frames such as politics, religion, society and the economics of production.

Accordingly, ‘Why trompe l’oeil?’ will be the fundamental question addressed in this session. Papers might explore how different types of global trompe l’oeil art production have shaped the ways in which such art is produced, dispersed, consumed and conceptualised. Moreover, other artificial approaches to representing reality that developed alongside the concept of trompe l’oeil, such as Skeuomorphism, Cubism, Indeterminism and Naturalism, might also be considered. The primary aim of the session is to expose the rationale and motivation for trompe l’oeil art production by considering its different forms from a trans-historical and trans-spatial perspective and we invite papers that explore this through a range of different perspectives and methodological approaches.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Note (added 17 October 2020) — The original version of this posting did not include the session on Race and Representation in the French Colonial Empire.

New Book | The Wig: A Hairbrained History

Posted in books by Editor on October 12, 2020

From Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press:

Luigi Amara, The Wig: A Hairbrained History, translated by Christina MacSweeney (London: Reaktion Books, 2020), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1789143461, £15 / $23.

Whether in a court room or a dressing room, wigs come in many forms, and represent many things: from power, to sexuality, to parody, to health, to self-identity, to disguise. Wigs are present at parties and in chemotherapy rooms, in pop music and contemporary art. In this witty and eloquent book, Luigi Amara reflects on the curious history of the wig, and along the way takes a sideways look at Western civilization. Amara illuminates how the wig has starred throughout history, from ancient Egypt to the court of Louis XIV, and from British courtrooms to drag shows today. Containing many striking and unusual images, the book appeals to a wide audience, from those interested in the history of fashion to philosophy, art, culture, and aesthetics.

Luigi Amara is the author of many poetry collections, essays, and children’s books, including Nu)n(ca, winner of the International Poetry Prize in Spanish, and The School of Boredom. He lives in Mexico City. Christina MacSweeney is an award-winning literary translator specializing in Latin American fiction.


An Otherworldly Prologue
A Theory of Disguise
Casanova, Wigs and Masks
The She-wolf of the Night: Messalina
The Rage Called Wig
Samson at the Roland-Garros
The Counter-philosophy of the Wig
The Future Was a Purple Wig
The Mannequin and the Dark Object of Desire
Andy Warhol’s Wig
The Hemisphere in a Wig
On the Other Side of the Mirror of Horror
Music Curls
Capillary Plagiarism
The Indiscreet Charm of Hair
On Remains and Other Relics
Dressing Up Justice
Towering Hairdos
Abbé de Choisy or the Inner Woman
Cindy Sherman in Simulationland
Death Will Come and Shall Be Wearing a Wig
A Bald Wig in Search of a Head
In and Out of the Theatre
Stony Hair
Wigs at the Extremes of Crime
On Nudity or Venus in a Wig
Reinvention by Hair
Devotional Hairstyles
The Chimeric Wig
That Old Camp Stridency
The Tangled Mop of Fetish
A Knife Named Guillotine
The Discourse of False Hair

Bedside Reading
Photo Acknowledgements