CFP: A Beautiful Role: Architecture and the Display of Art

Recent installation of Edwardian art at the Tate Gallery

Recent installation of Edwardian art at the Tate Gallery

Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

Yale Center for British Art: Graduate Student Symposium

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Painting and sculpture play a beautiful role in the realm of architecture, as architecture plays a beautiful role in the realms of painting and sculpture.[1]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           —Louis I. Kahn (1960)

The Yale Center for British Art—designed by Louis Kahn and completed in 1975—has recently undergone an extensive program of conservation. To mark the reopening of the building, and the complete reinstallation of the collection, the Center will be hosting a conference to investigate the role that buildings play in the display of art.

Our experience of objects is greatly influenced by their setting, whether in the home of a collector, in a museum display, in a storage rack, or on a computer screen. This conference will focus on museum architecture and explore where it has been and where it is going. Seeking to inspire fresh thinking about the relationship between works of art and the buildings that contain them, the conference will address the ways in which architecture can enhance, limit, and transform our encounters with art. Graduate students of all disciplines—including art, design, architecture and architectural history, and museum studies—are invited to submit proposals for papers that examine the ways in which architecture influences our experience of art.

Topics could include, but are not limited to: Continue reading

Exhibition: Rothenstein’s Relevance


The exhibition ‘Rothenstein’s Relevance: Sir William Rothenstein and his Circle’ will open at the Ben Uri Gallery on Boundary Road in London on September 11th. It will be Ben Uri’s first exhibition on this hugely influential figure and is a partial tour of the Bradford exhibition, From Bradford to Benares: the art of Sir William Rothenstein (Cartwright Hall Gallery, 7 March – 12 July 2015), reconfigured for its London showing.

The exhibition comprises approximately 40 works including paintings, works on paper and archival material and aims to re-examine the significance, influence and continuing importance of Rothenstein’s artistic achievements. The exhibition will examine major themes from Rothenstein’s career including Jewish subjects, portraiture and figure studies (in Paris, London and Gloucestershire) and the First and Second World Wars. These will be contextualised by work on similar themes by a number of mostly younger contemporaries including Barnett Freedman, Mark Gertler, Eric Kennington, Jacob Kramer, Albert Rutherston and Alfred Wolmark, who were all either influenced directly by, or worked alongside, Rothenstein. Continue reading

Edwardian Encounters: Jacob Kramer – A Study in Resolvable Contradictions

Self-Portrait by Jacob Kramer, 1930

Self-Portrait by Jacob Kramer, 1930

Since July 2, 2015, the Ben Uri Gallery has been celebrating its hundredth year in London. Founded in July, 1915, by a Russian Jew, the gallery has, in the course of a century, exhibited the work of Eastern European (largely Pale-of-Settlement born) Jewish painters living in England.

In “Ben Uri at 100”, David Herman splits these painters into two groups (roughly pre- and post-World War II) and notes the “variety and vitality of modern Jewish art and its complicated relationship with modern Jewish history”. Herman argues that the so-called “Whitechapel Boys,” who came of age at the turn of the century, among them the Vorticist fellow-traveler Mark Gertler, Isaac Rosenberg, and Jacob Kramer, expressed clear interest in Jewish-identified themes. Conversely, the post-war, post-Holocaust generation, which featured such luminaries as Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach, fought shy of Jewish content and only, somehow, expressed Jewishness through formal “darkness.”

Jacob Kramer clearly does not fit into the generational or identitarian binaries outlined by Herman. Continue reading

CFP: Overlooked Women Artists and Designers

'Gretchen' by Joanna Mary Wells

‘Gretchen’ by Joanna Mary Wells

Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

Overlooked Women Artists and Designers

Monday 7 December 2015, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

A British Art Research Network Seminar organised in collaboration with Dr. Patricia de Montfort and Prof.Clare A.P. Willsdon, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow.

Nan West… Jessie Keppie… Beatrix Whistler… Mary Hill Burton… Florence Chaplin… Sylvia Lawrence… Marie Egner… Mrs. Bernard Darwin…Who is she?

From the lone watercolourist to the Arts and Crafts partner, or the exhibitor under her husband’s name,this question echoes through the history of art and design, and despite modern interest in women artists, many remain little known. Focusing on a period when women benefited from a wealth of new opportunities for training, patronage, and exhibition, this seminar forms a sequel to Dr. Patricia de Montfort’s Louise Jopling in-focus display currently at The Hunterian, and will complement the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art exhibition on Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965, which opens in November 2015. Continue reading

Review: Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence


Review: Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence by Allan Johnson. (Palgrave 2014)

In Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence, Allan Johnson considers the visual influences of Alan Hollinghurst’s novels. Specifically, he asserts that the predominant textual and visual aspects of Hollinghurst’s oeuvre are “the sequences of writing which most successfully portray and vitalize the visual images of the aesthetic past”.

Alan Hollinghurst is a Booker Prize winning contemporary British writer who has been publishing since the eighties. Together, his five novels portray male homosexual identity from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods through to the present day. Johnson’s book posits that this homosexual literary and cultural history acts as a vital influence for Hollinghurst’s books, placing them within the distinct visual aesthetic tradition of “modern gay writing”, and imbuing them with a culturally-specific potency unique to this heritage. Fundamentally, his book aims to identify several specific images within this aesthetic tradition, while also exposing and explaining their innate, “positive” vitality as they influence generations of modern homosexual British literature, and ultimately Hollinghurst himself.

Johnson’s central argument is that certain images resonate throughout generations of literature. He claims this is because particular textures, shades and tones are especially potent or suggestive to readers, and subsequently that distinct visual sequences reappear within a specific discourse, such as “modern gay writing”. Such a thesis appears nowhere more apparent than in a consideration of the Edwardian period. Continue reading

CFP: Sargentology


Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP for a conference to be held at the University of York next April. Please see their website for more details.

In 1910 Walter Sickert penned an article titled ‘Sargentolatry’ that addressed the fervour surrounding John Singer Sargent as an artist and tastemaker.  Using the language of religious devotion, Sickert writes of the ‘prostration before [Sargent] and all his works’ by the British art press, the effect this adulation had on other artists working in this period, and how this sense of complacency was bad for both critics and artists alike. Often, this article has been misidentified with the title ‘Sargentology’ removing the dogmatic tinge of the original, and focusing instead on a study of the work and life of Sargent as a distinct entity within the field of art criticism and the history of art. In the last decades of the twentieth century, however, complicity within this complacency has crept back into Sargent studies. Sargentology has veered back into Sargentolatry, leaving in its infallible wake a dearth of innovation with regard to Sargent scholarship akin to the state of art criticism challenged by Sickert in 1910. Continue reading

Review: The Player Piano and the Edwardian Novel


Review of Cecilia Björkén-Nyberg, The Player Piano and the Edwardian Novel (Farnham: Ashgate 2015)

Writing in the June 1920 issue of The Sackbut, Alvin Langdon Coburn claimed:

There are some who are born with an appreciation of music but whose tender years have not been made unbearable by musical drudgery. Hours of ‘five-finger exercises’ with the thoughts on the playground, and lessons from an uncongenial teacher, never did a child any good and never will. All art-expression should come as a pleasure, a welling-up of an inner joy. Without this, art is dead, a stale and tasteless thing, and […] some have this innate musical instinct slumbering and dormant in their natures, unable to find a way of expressing itself, and to such the pianola comes as a positive exultation![1]

Coburn’s observations foreground several issues that are at the heart of Cecilia Björkén-Nyberg’s The Player Piano and the Edwardian Novel (2015): the quandary faced by those unable, or who have never had the opportunity to learn, to play the piano, but who deeply appreciate and wish to perform the music written for it (and, via piano reductions, for the orchestra); the tension between admiring music ‘naturally’ and respecting it professionally; and the anxieties generated by a mechanically made art, be it through technology or through the prestidigitation of a well-trained human being. Continue reading