An International Seminar on French Art (18th-20th Centuries)

Rendez-vous is a seminar on French art (18th-20th centuries) held monthly throughout the 2013-2014 academic year at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. International scholars are invited to present their research in an informal and creative setting for approximately 30 minutes, followed by an open discussion with students and colleagues. Rendez-vous focuses on French art in the broadest sense: 'French' is interpreted in an extensive way, including global exchanges, political dimension and colonial history, and 'Art' includes painting, architecture and sculpture, but also material and visual culture. Rendez-vous offers an occasion to learn about current innovative research by international and engaging scholars. The seminar aims to open up an exchange of methodologies, thoughts and ideas in a participatory atmosphere.

is organized by Noémie Etienne, IFA/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2015). These lectures begin at 12:30pm in the Loeb room at the Institute of Fine Arts. They are open to the public, but RSVPs are required.



February 19, 2014

Carole Blumenfeld, Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-arts d'Ajaccio
Marguerite Gérard, the most successful genre painter of her time

Hidden in the shadow of her celebrated brother-in-law Fragonard, Marguerite Gérard’s paintings have often been mistaken for his, much to her detriment. This lecture highlights her unique contribution to French art history. Marguerite Gérard’s long career exemplifies an exceptional adaptability to political changes. In fact, her success is a model for understanding the role of women artists at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. It also casts a new light on the history of contemporary genre painting. Carole Blumenfeld will explore the following points: Was being a woman an obstacle to Marguerite Gérard? How did she succeed in developing an outstanding career, which lasted over fifty years?

Carole Blumenfeld is currently a fellow at the Frick Collection Center for the History of Collecting. She is a research fellow at the Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-arts d'Ajaccio where she is conducting research on the collection of Joseph Fesch (2013-2016). A former fellow at the Villa Medici, she devoted her thesis to the painter Marguerite Gérard and the evolution of genre painting from the end of the 18th Century to the early 19th Century. She curated the first monographic exhibition on Marguerite Gérard, Marguerite Gérard artiste en 1789 at the Musée Cognacq-Jay (2009) and more recently at the Musée des Augustins, Petits théâtres de l'intime. La peinture de genre entre Révolution et Restauration (2011-2012).

March 14, 2014

Frédérique BaumgartnerColumbia University
Women Artists in Hubert Robert’s Views of the Louvre’s Grande Galerie

Hubert Robert (1733-1808), one of the most versatile artists of his generation, managed to combine the careers of a painter and museum curator during the French Revolution. Using his painter’s talent to express his curatorial vision, Robert painted numerous views of the Louvre’s Grande Galerie, which opened to the public for the first time in 1793. This paper examines the place that Robert attributed to women artists in these views, in light of the rules and regulations that he and other Louvre curators were in the process of developing for this new public space. In doing so, it aims to assess how the Revolution’s gendered discourse pervaded the construction of the museum space and the degree to which Robert’s representation of women artists in the Grande Galerie challenged this discourse.

Frédérique Baumgartner is a lecturer and the director of MA in Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2011 and was a Postdoctoral Mellon Fellow at Columbia in 2011-2013. Her research focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, with a particular emphasis on the convergence of art and politics. Her current book project, stemming from her dissertation, examines the politicization of the art of Hubert Robert during the French Revolution in relation to notions of cultural experience.

April 8, 2014

Jessica FrippParsons The New School for Design, New York
Caricature and Rebellion in Rome in the Eighteenth Century

Winning the Prix de Rome was the capstone in an aspiring artist’s career in eighteenth-century France. But alongside the professional training a stay in the Eternal City offered, studying abroad also provided artists an opportunity to escape the hierarchy and competition of the Royal Academy and forge friendships with other young artists from all over Europe. This paper examines the effect of these new networks on artistic practice in Rome. It focuses on a group of caricatures produced by the French painter François-André Vincent, the French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Stouf, and the Swedish sculptor Johan-Tobias Sergel. These caricatures were copied, etched, and exchanged between the artists represented in them, and served to define these artists as a group of friends. Fripp argues that caricature was a form of representation well-suited to memorializing the homosocial bonds formed in Rome, and an act of rebellion for these young artists as they transitioned from students to full-fledge artists.

Jessica Fripp is a Post Doctoral Fellow in Material and Visual Culture at Parsons the New School for Design. She received her MA from Williams College and a PhD from the University of Michigan with a dissertation entitled  "Portraits of Artists and the Social Commerce of Friendship in Eighteenth-Century France." Her work examines the intersection between visual culture and sociability in the eighteenth century, focusing on the role art played in creating, defining, and sustaining personal relationships.


October 8, 2013

Anne Lafont, University of Paris-Est Marne la Vallée
Proposals for an Atlantic Portraiture: Paris, Philadelphia, Saint-Domingue around 1800

Anne Lafont will consider visual cultures of alterity in the era of Atlantic Revolutions (Eighteenth and nineteenth century). First, she will identify an unrecognized body of works and discuss the opportunity of studying it as a whole. Next she will address the pictorial and academic category of portraiture when discussing images of Haitian heroes. Finally, she will consider how three stylistic communities - Paris, Philadelphia, Saint-Domingue - are working together across continents.

Anne Lafont is an Associate Professor of Modern Art History at the University of Paris-Est Marne la Vallée and Chief Editor of Perspective, la revue de l’INHA (French National Institute of Art History). A former fellow at the Villa Medici, she devoted her thesis to the painter Anne-Louis Girodet and has since worked on artistic theory and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visual arts, with a special attention to the revolutionary period, race and aesthetics, and gender issues.

November 8, 2013

Chonja Lee, University of Zurich
L’Âme de Lotus: Floral Animations in French Art around 1900

Starting from a close reading of František Kupkas aquatint Les Nénuphars (1900), Chonja Lee will investigate ideas and images of the ensouled flower not only in Symbolist painting, but also in psycho-botanical and art theoretical discourse, dance and film around 1900. ‘Animated’ is understood in its double significance as soul bearing and moving. Special attention will be paid to aspects of gender, abstraction, media and extra European sources for artistic creation.

Chonja Lee is a PhD student at the University of Zurich and currently a Visiting Researcher at Princeton University. A former fellow at the Swiss Institute for Art Research and the German Center for the History of Art in Paris, her thesis focuses on images of the plant soul in French fine arts, dance and film around 1900. Besides her emphasis on animist theory and visual culture, she has worked on public sculpture, its social and political dimensions and its gender issues.

December 9, 2013

Merel van Tilburg, Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris
Embroidery and Tapestry as History Painting in Belgium and France around 1900: Colonialist Exhibition Pieces by Hélène de Rudder and Georges Rochegrosse

Merel van Tilburg will discuss the connection between Art Nouveau style and discourses of the Belgian and French colonial expansion on the African continent at the end of the nineteenth century. Tapestries and large embroidered panels presented at the Congo Exhibition in Tervueren, Brussels in 1897, and at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle raise the question of a renewal of (colonial) history painting in the textile medium. Through material and formal engagement with African arts and crafts - picking up on tapestry’s and embroidery’s potential for hybridization, Belgian embroiderer Hélène de Rudder and French painter Georges Rochegrosse created large, allegorical exhibition pieces, which can be seen as attempts to create a new art form in ideological correspondence with the new geopolitical situation.

Merel van Tilburg is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art and at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris, France. Her current research focuses on exchanges between painting and the textile arts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Geneva, Switzerland (“Staging the Symbol: the Nabis, Theatre Decoration, and the Total Work of Art”). She publishes regularly in various European magazines, and has edited and written for several publications made in collaboration with contemporary artists.