(Symposium Will Take Place Sunday, March 22, 2015, at the Dahesh Museum of Art Gift Shop).

New York, March 16, 2015 – The Graduate Student Symposium in Nineteenths-Century Art, co-sponsored by the Dahesh Museum of Art, will take place on Sunday, March 22, from 10:00 AM-to-5:00 PM at the Dahesh Museum of Art Gift Shop, 145 Sixth Avenue, on the corner of Dominick Street, one block south of Spring Street.  The Museum will also present the Dahesh Museum of Art Prize for the Best Paper, a gift from the Mervat Zahid Cultural Foundation.  The event is open to the public; reservations are recommended but not required.

“The nineteenth century continues to attract increased academic attention and world-class scholarship,” said J. David Farmer, Director of Exhibitions at the Dahesh Museum of Art.  “Every year this symposium presents new and intriguing papers on diverse subjects within our realm of study and expertise.  We are proud of the work these young scholars are producing and look forward to helping them lead the discussion on the importance of the nineteenth century.”

The Symposium is co-sponsored by the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art (AHNCA), an organization designed to foster dialogue and communication among those who have a special interest in this field of nineteenth-century art and culture.  The 2015 jury consists of Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Marilyn Satin Kushner, Patricia Mainardi, and Peter Trippi; the symposium committee includes Caterina Pierre, Margaret Samu, and Mary Frances Zawadzki.



10 AM: Welcome Presentation

Peter Trippi (President, Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art)

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM: First Morning Session & Discussion

Patricia Mainardi (Program Chair, Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art, & The Graduate Center, City University of New York), Moderator

Tamar Mayer, University of Chicago, “From Ancient to Modern Heroes: Transformations in Jacques-Louis David’s Preparatory Drawing Procedures”

In the early 1800s, Jacques-Louis David’s grand historical paintings no longer depicted classical themes but represented contemporary political events. In this paper, Tamar Mayer argues that this shift—from ancient to modern heroes—reflects decisive transformations in David’s preparatory drawing practices as well.

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM: Second Morning Session & Discussion

Peter Trippi (President, Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art), Moderator

Sophie Lynford, Yale University, “Spiritualism in Landscape Painting and Photography: William Stillman’s Quest for Truth in Nature”

Considered the first American Pre-Raphaelite painter, William Stillman engaged multiple intellectual currents, including Ruskinian fidelity to nature, Transcendentalism, and Hudson River School aesthetics. In this paper, Sophie Lynford pays particularly close attention to Stillman’s participation in antebellum Spiritualism, arguing that his commitment to Spiritualist theory and practice found formal expression in his painting and, later, in his photography.

Alice J. Walkiewicz, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, “Transforming ‘The Song of the Shirt’: The Seamstress in Late Victorian Art”

Through the visual representation of working-class seamstresses, Alice Walkiewicz explores the relationship between labor reform and art production in late-19th-century Britain — a watershed moment in social history, when gender and labor issues were hotly debated as women increasingly sought employment outside the home, and industrialization changed the nature of work.

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM: First Afternoon Session & Discussion

Marilyn Satin Kushner (New-York Historical Society), Moderator

Emily Doucet, University of Toronto, “Anticipating Machines Heavier Than Air: Nadar, Photography and the Objects of Technology”

Emily Doucet examines a series of photographs taken by Nadar in 1863, featuring several model helicopters developed by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt. Like the extensive technological description included in proto-science fiction literary texts of the same period, these images embody a mode of speculative fiction imagining a future in flight for machines heavier than air.

Nora Labo, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, “‘Can’t See the Forest for the Trees’: Jacques Huber’s Arboretum Amazonicum (1900-1906): The Difficulties of Representing Amazonian Complexity”

By examining a confusing and heterogeneous late-nineteenth-century portfolio of scientific nature photographs, Nora Labo will focus on the contradictions inherent in the colonial perceptions of Amazonia, and on the complex negotiations at work in the symbolic organization of a type of landscape which seemed to resist European ideas of order and rationality.

Giorgi Papashvili, Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Georgia, “Gabashvili’s Art: Nationalism or Orientalism?”

The painter Giorgi Gabashvili (1862-1936) is known to the Western world as an Orientalist, but in Eastern Europe as the founder of Georgian Realist painting. Giorgi Papashvili will analyze his work in both Eastern and Western cultural contexts, including Orientalism, photography, ethnography, and nationalism.

3:45 PM – 4:45 PM: Second Afternoon Session & Discussion

(Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Hunter College, City University of New York), Moderator

Asiel Sepúlveda, Southern Methodist University, “Visualizing the Urban Environment: The Mulata and Tobacco Lithography in Mid-Nineteenth Century Havana”     

Asiel Sepúlveda examines how Havana’s mid-nineteenth century tobacco manufacturers employed printed ephemera and costumbrista types, such as the mulata, to portray African female sexuality as a disruptive force clashing with modernizing notions of cleanliness (both urban and racial), morality, and civil order in the midst of urban reformation.

Maika Pollack, Princeton University, “‘Unconscious Nature’: Odilon Redon’s Portraits of La Femme Nouvelle, 1899-1910”

Redon’s pastels of women deploy non-local color as a new means of representing the femme nouvelle. Often Redon has been described as reactionary in the face of changing gender roles; Maika Pollack argues instead that these theosophically-inspired portraits depict female sitters with unprecedented subjectivity. Their luminous colors have implications for the development of painterly abstraction.

About the Dahesh Museum of Art

The Dahesh Museum of Art is the only institution in the United States devoted to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting works by Europe and America’s academically trained artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Dahesh serves a diverse audience by placing these artists in the broader context of 19th-century visual culture, and by offering a fresh appraisal of the role academies played in reinvigorating the classical ideals of beauty, humanism, and skill.  Visit us at:  http://www.daheshmuseum.org.


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