Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Call for papers: Mapping the Eighteenth-Century City (ASECS 2016 Pittsburgh)


I'm convening a session on mapping eighteenth-century cities at the next annual conference of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS). This will be held in Pittsburgh - 31 March - 3 April 2016.

If you're working on maps or mapping, or a relevant project on eighteenth-century cities (especially one engaging with digital methods), please consider submitting a proposal. Proposals for papers are due by 15 September 2015.

I've included the abstract below. For more information about the conference visit the ASECS website. For submission procedures and for all the other sessions being proposed here is a pdf of the full call for papers.

*** EDIT: My email address for submitting proposals was printed incorrectly in the ASECS call for papers. The correct address is: hannah.williams@sjc.ox.ac.uk. ***

Mapping the Eighteenth-Century City

This session seeks to explore eighteenth-century approaches to mapping cities and current approaches to mapping eighteenth-century cities. Academically these two pursuits are often distinct, with inquires into historical maps as visual images or textual documents, and inquiries using modern mapping techniques to communicate aspects of urban life in the past. This session draws connections between these practices inviting scholars from a range of fields, including art historians, historians, historical geographers, and digital humanists, among others, to bridge the discursive gaps. Papers might consider the functions of eighteenth-century city maps then and now; eighteenth-century cartographic aesthetics and technologies; the kinds of information eighteenth-century map- makers were trying to record or reveal; and the role these material objects can play in our own attempts, as historians, to explore eighteenth-century cities, to visualise historical data in flexible and discoverable ways, and to probe the social lives and urban experiences of eighteenth-century city inhabitants. In particular, proposals relating to recent or on-going research projects engaging with digital mapping techniques and methods are especially welcomed.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Detecting in the 18th-Century Art World: the Mysterious Suicide of François Lemoyne

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, A marginal sketch in a sale catalogue (original now lost) showing an imagined scene of François Lemoyne throwing himself on his sword, c. 1779

I've been promising this article for ever and working on it for YEARS so I'm very happy to say that "The Mysterious Suicide of François Lemoyne" is now published! Online in Oxford Art Journal. Print version out later this month.

The official abstract is below but basically it's about the strange and violent suicide of one of the leading artists in Paris in the 1730s. A 'locked-door howdunit', as I call it, it investigates how (and why) this great painter managed to stab himself nine times with his own sword.

On one hand, this article is a serious experiment in life-writing. 'Biography' has become something of a dirty word in academic Art History, and in many cases rightly so. But at the same time even academic art historians remain fascinated by the lives of their artists. So here I'm looking for ways to salvage aspects of biography for the discipline, using object-driven and microhistorical approaches to find distinctly art-historical methods that productively deal with artists' lives.

On the other hand, it is also a really intriguing (I hope!) detective story. For someone with a longstanding devotion to crime fiction and Nordic noir, this was without doubt the most exciting and engrossing research experience I've ever undertaken. Working in the French national archives with original police records, witness statements, and autopsy reports, from the very beginning this was more like solving a case than writing an article. I even ended up in a storage room at the Wallace Collection using their handling collections of weapons to attempt a crime reconstruction - which is where I had a breakthrough moment of realising how it's actually possible to stab yourself nine times with a French small-sword (thanks to Mia Jackson and staff at the museum for that little adventure). I have tried to convey something of this crime-drama-inspired research experience in the article itself - so it is written in the spirit of a police procedural, in which, through proper investigative techniques (questioning witnesses, analyzing the crime scene, examining the body, hunting for motive, etc), there unfolds the story of a tragic and perplexing crime.

The research came out of a book I'm writing with Katie Scott exploring artists' possessions - the things that made up the material culture of their lives. There is an entry in the book on 'Lemoyne's Sword', but the story of the suicide in which the sword was used was so engrossing that it really needed to be told at length and in its own right. I first presented that story way back in 2011 in the AAH's wonderful Art History in the Pub series (inaugurated and convened by Matt Lodder).

I really hope you enjoy...

The Mysterious Suicide of François Lemoyne


On 4 June 1737, the celebrated artist François Lemoyne, first painter to king Louis XV, committed suicide by violently stabbing himself to death with his sword. This article offers a forensically inspired art-historical narrative about a crime that took place three centuries ago. Using police records, medical reports, property inventories, eyewitness accounts, and the archives of the Académie Royale, this study pieces together the intriguing tale of Lemoyne’s suicide, examining what drove him to such tragic extremes, and resolving the mystery of how he committed his bloody act. But even more fascinating than the story of Lemoyne’s death is what the evidence uncovers about the ordinary details of Lemoyne’s life, offering glimpses into private spaces, habitual routines, personal relationships, and professional ambitions. Showing how an investigation of Lemoyne’s death reveals more than we might expect about the wider art world of eighteenth-century Paris, this article re-evaluates our art-historical aversion to biography. Borrowing methods from historical writing as well as looking for a distinctly art-historical approach, this article makes a case for the potential of microbiographical and object-driven modes of life-writing in social histories of art.

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Man Who Made the Weirdest Painting in 18th-Century France


I had a wonderful time this weekend at the 10th Anniversary Conference of immediations, the postgraduate research journal of the Courtauld Institute of Art. The concept behind the event was to invite back people who had written articles for the journal over the last decade and to hear about how their research has developed since the time of writing (a description of the event is on the Courtauld website where you can also download the programme). It was fascinating to see what everyone has been working on, to think about how our own ideas have changed, and how the discipline has shifted in such a relatively short time. Along with these thought-provoking interventions, we also enjoyed some lively discussions about experiences of publishing: editing and being edited, peer-reviewing and being peer-reviewed. All in all it was a truly stimulating day, brilliantly conceived, and impeccably organised.

As it turns out, the title of my paper was even more interest-piquing than I had anticipated -- I had so many requests before and during the day to divulge the identity of "The Man Who Made the Weirdest Painting in 18th-Century France"! So, for anyone intrigued who didn't make it to the conference, here it is: the man is Charles-Antoine Coypel and the painting is his incredibly bizarre Children Playing at the Toilette from 1728. I challenge anyone to come up with a weirder offering than semi-naked children play-acting at the eroticizing aristocratic ritual of the daily toilette!

There's a little more information in the abstract to my paper below... but if you're really intrigued, you'll have to get yourself a backcopy of immediations.

Charles-Antoine Coypel, Self-Portrait, 1734 (Getty, Los Angeles)
Charles-Antoine Coypel, Children Playing at the Toilette, 1728 (Private Collection)

The Man Who Made the Weirdest Painting in 18th-Century France
Hannah Williams

In 1728, Charles-Antoine Coypel painted a truly bizarre and slightly disturbing image of Children Playing at the Toilette, where partially clothed (that is, semi-naked) children masquerade as adults engaged in this undeniably eroticizing practice of performative dressing and adornment. The article I wrote for immediations in 2007 looked for the meaning behind this perplexing painting in discourses of libertinage, tracing the work’s audiences and asking how, when viewed through different eyes, meanings could change or be re-interpreted. Turning now from reception to production, this current paper examines not viewer response to the painting, but rather the man behind it: Charles-Antoine Coypel. Drawing on research I have undertaken since on the history of the French Royal Academy and life in the artistic communities of eighteenth-century Paris, this is a study of an artist rather than an art work, but one in which art works (especially self-portraits) provide the primary sources for the inquiry. Delving into a backstory of family dramas, institutional machinations, and professional self-doubt, this paper offers an intimate encounter with the man who made the weirdest painting in 18th-century France.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Object Lessons in Cambridge

This year Cambridge's Early Modern French Seminar, convened by Jess Goodman and Tim Chesters, is inspired by objects held in the Fitzwilliam Museum. As described on the CEMFS website: "Each talk takes as its starting point an artefact held in the museum, ranging from cabinets to paintings to duelling pistols. Our exciting line-up covers the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and includes specialists in literature and art history, as well as representatives from the Fitzwilliam itself." It sounds like a lovely idea for a seminar series and I'm only sorry I can't attend them all, but I am delighted to be contributing one of the talks.

For more information about the talks and speakers, along with links to the objects in the Fitzwilliam that will be the focus of each talk visit: www.cemfs.org.uk/termcard.


Louvre II: Another excursion into artistic collaboration in 18th-century Paris... this time in LA

I have been very slack on the blogging even though lots has been happening (probably *because* lots has been happening) but this has wooed me back (hopefully to stay).

When the call for papers for ASECS (American Society for Eighteenth-century Studies) Annual Conference 2015 came out recently, Mia Jackson and I were delighted to see that Dena Goodman had proposed a session to allow the conversations from our The Louvre Before the Louvre conference of July 2013 to continue and to move off in exciting new directions. Beyond our original interest in artists, artisans, and academicians, Goodman's session extends to include scientists in the mix as yet another category of person who inhabited the palace throughout the eighteenth century. The session will also move beyond the space of the Louvre to consider other spaces in the city in which collaborations across the arts and between the arts and sciences could develop, and to examine what form those collaborations took, and what they produced.

Here is the description of the session to be held at ASECS 2015 in Los Angeles. For more information about the conference visit the association website: asecs.press.jhu.edu.

Scientists, Artists, and Artisans in the Eighteenth Century

Session Convener: Dena Goodman

In the eighteenth century, scientists, artists, and artisans, worked, lived, and interacted together in a variety of ways and spaces. This seminar aims to explore the spaces, practices, products, and implications of those interactions. We are inspired by a symposium held at the Wallace Collection (London) in 2013 on the “Louvre before the Louvre,” in which historians of art and architecture explored the Louvre as space of family, work, and sociability in the two centuries before it became a museum. We propose to expand their inquiry to include two other groups, artisans and scientists, who also lived and worked in the Louvre, and to ask what other spaces in Europe (and the Americas) fostered interactions among them. We encourage papers that focus on the interactions among two of these groups (artists and scientists, scientists and artisans, artisans and artists) rather than on one or the other of them. We recognize also that the lines among these professional classifications and identities were in the process of being drawn in the eighteenth century and hope to stimulate discussion about the changing meanings of art, science, artisanship, technique, and labor and how they were achieved through interaction and in practice through this seminar.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Louvre Before The Louvre - Conference Programme, Abstracts and Bios

I have archived the conference programme here, along with abstracts of the papers, and biographies of the speakers.

Antoine Coysevox, Bust of Charles Le Brun (Wallace Collection)

The Louvre Before The Louvre

Artisans, Artists, Academies

Wallace Collection, London, Friday 5 July 2013


Convened by: Mia Jackson (QMUL) and Hannah Williams (University of Oxford)


Now one of the world’s most famous museums, the Louvre was once a vast artistic and cultural centre of a different kind. This one-day conference addresses the fascinating but little-known period of the Louvre’s history throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, exploring the role this space, its objects, and its inhabitants played in the histories of art production and artistic sociability in early modern Paris.

Eminent and emerging scholars including two guest speakers from the Musée du Louvre will together provide an intimate understanding of the artistic and intellectual neighbourhood of the Louvre and its effect on art and design in the period. Papers on the day will investigate the collective spaces and sociable practices of the Louvre (from the royal academies to artists’ studios), the intersections between personal and professional spaces for the artists and artisans who both lived and worked in the Louvre, and the wider significance of the Louvre in artistic social networks both locally and internationally.

Taking place in the Wallace Collection, which houses one of the United Kingdom’s finest collections of art from this period, this conference offers attendees the opportunity to experience the results of these artistic collaborations.

Generously supported by the Wallace Collection and the Faculty of History of the University of Oxford.


10:00 Registration

10:15 Welcome: Christoph Vogtherr (Wallace Collection)

10:20 Introduction: Mia Jackson (QMUL) & Hannah Williams (University of Oxford)

Session I: Guest Speakers from the Louvre - New Research on Sculptors' Reception
Pieces at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture
Chair: Hannah Williams

10:30 Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (Musée du Louvre): Integration of sculpted works
into the collections of the Académie during the Ancien Régime
10:50 Guilhem Scherf (Musée du Louvre): Reception and diffusion of the sculpted
morceaux de réception during the Ancien Régime 
11:10 Discussion

11:25 Tea & Coffee

Session II: Collective Spaces & Sociable Practices
Chair: Susan Siegfried (University of Michigan)

11:55 Drew Armstrong (University of Pittsburgh): Life and Loss in the Académie
Royale d'Architecture
12:15 Esther Bell (Cincinnati Art Museum): Coypel the Curator: Sociable Space
in the Cour Carrée
12:35 Discussion
12:45 Pierre-Édouard Latouche (Université de Québec à Montréal): Des Recueils
des Maisons Royales en Petit (1745) à L'Architecture française (1756) de
Blondel: le remploi d'un plan de la Cour Carrée
1:05 Anne Higonnet (Barnard College, Columbia University): Studios, Sociability,
and Unexpected Consequences in the Old Louvre
1:25 Discussion

1:35 Lunch

Session III: Living and Working in the Louvre
Chair: John Whitehead (Independent Scholar)

2:35 Susan Wager (Columbia University): Un-occupying the Louvre: The Royal
Gem-Engraver Jacques Guay
2:55 David Maskill (Victoria University of Wellington): Louis Tocqué (1696-1772):
A Portrait Painter at the Louvre
3:15 Katie Scott (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Parade's End: On Charles
Coypel's Bed
3:35 Discussion

3:50 Tea & Coffee

Session IV: Neighbourhoods and Networks
Chair: Colin Jones (QMUL)
4:20 Dena Goodman (University of Michigan): 4 rue des Orties: the Louvre of
the Silvestres, 1668-1805
4:40 Laura Auricchio (The New School): Beyond the Louvre: Re-mapping the
Paris Art World in the Age of Louis XVI
5:00 Discussion

5:15 Closing Remarks and General Discussion


SESSION I: New Research on Sculptors’ Reception Pieces at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture

Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (Musée du Louvre), Integration of works into the collections of the Académie during the Ancien Régime

Guilhem Scherf (Musée du Louvre), Reception and diffusion of the sculpted morceaux de réception during the Ancien Régime
Dans le cadre de la préparation du catalogue raisonné des morceaux de réception sculptés à l’Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture, une étude particulière est entreprise afin de mieux cerner le problème de la diffusion publique de ces morceaux d’excellence, dont le caractère principal est l’exemplarité. Des répliques de certaines de ces œuvres ont en effet été disponibles, dès le milieu du XVIIIe siècle, grâce aux artistes eux-mêmes ou à quelques amateurs. La circulation d’exemplaires en terre cuite, en plâtre, en biscuit de porcelaine, voire en bronze, a permis une assez large divulgation de plusieurs modèles, qui devinrent ainsi célèbres. Cette diffusion fut accélérée à grande échelle au XIXe siècle lorsque les maisons d’édition Susse et Barbedienne ont commercialisé plusieurs de ces modèles.

Geneviève Bresc-Bautier has been a curator for the national museums of France since 1972 and has been director of the department of Sculpture at the Musée du Louvre since 2004. She is a specialist in French sculpture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly Champenoise sculpture of the sixteenth century. She led the research for an exhibition devoted to this subject at Troyes and was responsible for the exhibition France 1500 (2010) at the Grand Palais. She is the author of several works on the history of the Louvre.

Guilhem Scherf is Head Curator of Sculpture at the Musée du Louvre. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century sculpture and has curated several exhibitions devoted to individual artists – Clodion (1992), Pajou (1997), Houdon (2003-2004), Julien (2004) – along with several other thematic exhibitions : Terres cuites de Pigalle à Canova 1740-1840 (2003-04), Portraits publics portraits privés (2006-07), Bronzes français de la Renaissance au siècle des Lumières (2008-09).

SESSION II: Collective Spaces & Sociable Practices

Drew Armstrong (University of Pittsburgh), Life and Loss in the Académie Royale d’Architecture
Among the learned bodies that occupied space in the Louvre, the Royal Academy of Architecture was perhaps the one with the most significant claim on the building: its membership included both the architects who oversaw the fabric of the palace and the theorists who propagated official architectural dogma. The Louvre itself – specifically Claude Perrault’s famous colonnade – became one of the chief models of the classical aesthetic promulgated by the Academy in the eighteenth century.
This paper proposes an overview of what is known about the life of the academicians and students of the Academy of Architecture during the century they occupied rooms in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre (1692-1793). The Academy was a site of great moment, receiving visits from the young Louis XV in 1719 and the Emperor Joseph II in 1777. Within its walls, some of the greatest architects of the eighteenth century experienced their first triumphs at award ceremonies for winners of the annual grand prix competitions, presided over by the director of the Royal Works [the Bâtiments du Roi].
The more mundane activities of the Academy of Architecture included weekly conferences open only to its members and public lectures open to any “homme de goût.” Studios [loges] for architecture students became hotbeds for illicit activities, documented in official correspondence and resulting in various crackdowns from the administration. Unquestionably the least likely figure to live within the Academy was the actress Manon Balletti (1740-89), erstwhile lover of Casanova and bride of the professor of architecture, Jacques-François Blondel (1705-74). Immortalized in one of Jean-Marc Nattier’s finest portraits, Balletti’s eviction from the Louvre illustrates the tensions at the intersection of space and status in the academic world of the Ancien Régime.

Drew Armstrong is associate professor and director of Architectural Studies in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Julien-David Leroy and the Making of Architectural History (Routledge, 2012) as well as articles in the Art Bulletin and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Esther Bell (Cincinnati Art Museum), Coypel the Curator: Sociable Space in the Cour Carré
False attributions, botched restorations, and the perils of connoisseurship—do a riveting comedy maketh. Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694-1752) not only wrote such a play, but he lived it. Born into one of the most powerful dynasties of history painters, Coypel inherited his father’s decidedly luxe living quarters and studio in the Cour Carrée as well as the post of Garde des tableaux et dessins du Roi. Before the advent of the Musée du Louvre, the King’s collection of drawings and many of his important paintings were housed with Coypel in his multi-level apartment. Fellow artists and gens des lettres gathered in this space that had been transformed into a reception area and art gallery. How did this socially ambitious Premier Peintre du Roi fulfill his duties as curator of this remarkable collection? Answers can be found in Coypel’s organization of over eight thousand drawings by artist and school, a project that would span decades and which he achieved with the assistance of his trusted friends and advisors. Answers can also be found in his unpublished three-act comedy La Curiosi-manie, which gathers a motley cast of art appreciators and amateurs. This delightful and complex play, as well a selection of prints, drawings, and paintings, will illustrate the “commerce” that bound together Coypel and his circle.

Esther Bell is the Curator of European Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She received her doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University with a dissertation entitled: “Charles-Antoine Coypel: Painting and Performance in Eighteenth-Century France.” She is currently preparing an exhibition featuring the collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz, to open in February 2014: “François Boucher and the Generation of 1700.”

Pierre-Édouard Latouche
(Université de Québec à Montréal), Des Recueils des Maisons Royales en Petit (1745) à L’Architecture française (1756) de Blondel : le remploi d’un plan de la Cour Carrée
The paper discusses a plan of the ground floor of the Cour Carrée drawn in the mid-eighteenth century and now kept in the collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montréal). The plan is in ink, with later additions in graphite. It includes numerous retombs showing the intricate layers of entresols characteristic of the sculptor’s ateliers. A careful comparison with contemporary plans of the Louvre links the CCA sheet directly to the Recueils des Maisons Royales en Petit, a set of five volumes detailing crown properties. The Recueils, ordered by Lenormant de Tournehem upon taking office as director of the Bâtiments du Roi in 1745, was meant for internal administrative use . The comparison establishes that the CCA drawing was one of many numerous large-scale initial survey plans drawn in 1746 and reduced to fit the Recueil’s compact format. The graphite additions, all of them showing partitions, chimneys, staircases and windows added or demolished, correspond exactly to the state of the Cour Carrée as represented a decade later in L’Architecture française by Jacques-François Blondel. In all likelihood the CCA sheet served twice, once in 1746 to satisfy the needs of a new administration, and a second time in the mid-1750s to produce one of the Enlightenment’s great works of architectural theory.

Pierre-Édouard Latouche is professor (since 2010) in the department of Art History at Université du Québec in Montréal, where he teaches architectural history. Previously, he was curator of prints and drawings at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal). His research focuses on the architecture in New France between 1650-1750, on literacy levels among craftsmen in Montreal’s building trade in the 18th century, and on active and passive solar housing in the US in the 1970s.

Anne Higonnet (Barnard College, Columbia University), Studios, Sociability, and Unexpected Consequences in the Old Louvre
The social networks and mixed use of the ancien régime Louvre have proved to explain one of the most popular paintings by an utterly obscure artist: the 1801 Young Woman Drawing. This life-size portrait in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has long been famous because of its authorship, which was once attributed to Jacques-Louis David, and is now attributed with reasonable probability to Marie-Denise Villers. My recent research, based on archives, maps, and above all on the history of the Louvre, indicates that the foreground of the painting represents an all-women’s studio run in the Louvre apartment allocated to the painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1754-1829), a studio managed by his wife. The view through the window, meanwhile, represents a residential building across the Seine, inhabited by the likely subject of the portrait: Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, herself an art student. The painting thus represents an inadvertent but logical consequence of the artistic sociability created by the various uses of the Louvre in the period before it was dedicated to museum functions. Only in a personal apartment, inhabited and chaperoned by a wife, could a painter have operated a studio for respectable young women. The spatial intimacy shared by the many artists and their families who were lodged in the Louvre, moreover, allowed artistically ambitious women to acquire contacts and skills in a socially safe environment. Du Val d’Ognes, for instance, claimed to been “taught” by David, who lived and worked in the Louvre. At the same time, the professional proximity of resident artists such as Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, of all-men’s studios like Regnault’s and David’s, and of the Salon exhibitions, must have inspired women like Villers and du Val d’Ognes. This paper looks through one revolutionary painting back to the conditions which made that painting possible.

Anne Higonnet is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her most recent essays, on Manet, have appeared this past year in the Frick Collection's The Impressionist Line and in Grey Room. Her most recent book, a study of personal collection museums, is A Museum of One's Own (Periscope, 2009).

SESSION III: Living and Working in the Louvre

Susan Wager (Columbia University), Un-occupying the Louvre: The Royal Gem-Engraver Jacques Guay
When an artist was granted accommodation in the Louvre, how did he take possession of his assigned space? Conversely, in what ways did certain Louvre logements or studios with unofficially pre-determined professional or familial identities take possession of their new inhabitants? I explore these questions in relation to Jacques Guay, an engraver of precious stones who occupied apartment number 21 in the Louvre’s galleries for some forty years, half of which were in absentia. In addition to his logement at the Louvre, Guay was given a studio in the Versailles apartments of his chief patron, the royal mistress Madame de Pompadour. It was here that he lived and worked until Pompadour’s death in 1764. While new residents at the Louvre frequently subjected their apartments to renovations and personal adjustments, evidence suggests that Guay took few measures to erase the traces of the previous tenant from his apartment. To the contrary, it seems that establishing continuity with this former inhabitant—also a royal gem-engraver—was more important than Guay’s physical occupation of the space. Continuity and inherited tradition were profoundly intertwined with the medium of gem-engraving, prized by eighteenth-century connoisseurs for its seemingly direct and unadulterated procession from antiquity. Guay’s work was admired for its connection to antiquity, and yet many of his engravings were emphatically contemporary in both style and subject matter. How did Guay’s (un-) occupation of his Louvre logement contribute to his negotiation of the demands of his medium and patron, and to the formation of his artistic identity?

Susan Wager is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. For 2012–2014 she is Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). Her dissertation is entitled “Boucher’s Bijoux: Luxury Reproductions in the Age of Enlightenment.”

David Maskill (Victoria University of Wellington), Louis Tocqué (1696-1772): A Portrait Painter at the Louvre
In February 1772, the royal academician and society portraitist, Louis Tocqué died in his lodging in the Louvre having lived there for over a decade. Together with his wife and servants, he occupied a series of rooms spread over four floors in the galleries of the Louvre. Tocqué had been granted his lodging in 1759, by which time he was a highly successful and well traveled portrait painter, having worked at the courts of Russia and Denmark. In 1750, he delivered a lecture at the Académie royale on the practice of portrait painting and at his death, an extended obituary penned by his wife was read to the assembled academicians.

Using the unpublished inventory of his estate as a starting point, this paper examines the material and cultural world which Tocqué and his wife created for themselves. From the objects they used, from what they wore, read, hung on the walls and viewed from the windows, we get a tantalising glimpse of the artist’s domestic life. Then, the paper will consider the social, material and career advantages for an artist in having such a prestigious address.

David Maskill is a senior lecturer in art history at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand where he teaches courses on French 18th-century art and the history of prints. He has published articles in Print Quarterly on aspects of French 17th and 18th-century printmaking.

Katie Scott (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Parade's End: On Charles Coypel's Bed
This paper is concerned with the artists’ lodgements at the Louvre as domestic interior; specifically it addresses the role played by the decoration and use of the bed and bedchamber in fashioning artistic identity. The bed itself does not survive, but an important element of it, the allegorical work Painting Awakens Genius and two preparatory drawings enable its reconstruction. This paper argues that by following the fortunes of Coypel’s bed, including its dismantling, we can learn something important about shifts in the conceptualisation of art and artist in early eighteenth century France.

Katie Scott is Professor at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Author of The Rococo Interior: Decoration and Social Spaces in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1995) her research interests include the fine and decorative arts of the eighteenth century and issues related to the emergence of copyright and patent in the early modern period.

SESSION IV: Neighbourhoods and Networks

Dena Goodman (University of Michigan), 4, rue des Orties: The Louvre of the Silvrestres (1668-1805)
In this paper I trace a history of the family of Israël Silvestre (1621-1691), who was first granted an apartment in the Louvre by Louis XIV. Several generations of Silvestres continued to inhabit the Louvre right up until it was emptied of residents in 1805. However, it was not their only habitation. Once the court moved out of the Louvre, not long after the Silvestres moved into it, the post of maître à dessiner des enfants du Roi, which they held du père en fils until the 1780s, obliged them to live at Versailles. Nevertheless, the Louvre apartment continued to play an important if changing role in the life of this family. As professional and familial ambitions moved steadily away from the Louvre and toward the court, the artistic and intellectual community of the Louvre helped the Silvestres to maintain their cultural identity, symbolized by a growing art collection. I conclude with the return of the family to the Louvre during the French Revolution and their final expulsion from it in 1805.

Dena Goodman is Lila Miller Collegiate Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. A historian of the Enlightenment, women, gender, sociability, and writing, she is the author of The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment and, most recently, Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters.

Laura Auricchio (The New School, New York), Beyond the Louvre: Re-mapping the Paris Art World in the Age of Louis XVI
In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Simon Garfield, author of On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks (New York: Gotham Books, 2012) observed that, “if you have the power to commission a map or make your own map, you're going to make it reflect your world and reflect your views.” To the extent that the Paris art world of the late eighteenth century can be said to have been mapped, its cartographers—art historians—have generally adopted the world view of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture by placing the Académie, its members, and its Louvre headquarters at the center. This paper aims, quite literally, to re-map the social, professional and intellectual realm of artists and artisans in the age of Louis XVI. While acknowledging the significance of the Louvre, the paper looks beyond the palace walls to situate the Louvre within the social geography of Paris. Drawing upon information available in almanacs, the diaries and correspondence of artists and patrons, and other period sources, the paper charts the locations of residences, schools, shops, and exhibiting venues that welcomed artists and artisans in the 1770s and 1780s, including the majority who did not enjoy lodgings in the Louvre. In this way, it identifies and investigates networks of patronage, influence, and affiliation that were woven through, but not fully contained within, the Académie.

Laura Auricchio, Associate Professor of Art History and Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School in New York, specializes in French and American visual culture of the long eighteenth century. She is co-editor ofArboreal Values: Trees, Woods, and Forests in Europe and North America, 1660-1830 (2011) and author of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution (2009). Articles and reviews have appeared in academic and popular publications ranging from The Art Bulletin, Eighteenth-Century Studies and Journal of Design History to Time Out New York. Her forthcoming book, The Marquis, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in September/October 2014.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Academic Culture & Competition in Early Modern Europe

This year's Early Modern Research Centre colloquium at the University of Reading is on the culture of competition in Europe's Academies. I will be giving a paper on the culture of institutional competition that drove artistic production in 17th-century Paris (a short abstract follows below), which is drawn from my book, Académie Royale: A History in Portraits (due out next year).


Le Brun vs Mignard / Academy vs Guild 
Hannah Williams

My paper explores the culture of institutional competition in seventeenth-century Paris through a case study of a bitter personal rivalry between two artists: Charles Le Brun, director of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, and Pierre Mignard, head of the Maîtrise or city guild of artists. Through a close study of the portraits painted by and of these two great figureheads, I argue that Le Brun and Mignard’s antagonism not only spurred productive competition between the two schools, but also became a driving personal motivation as each artist came to define himself through and against the other.