Sunday, March 20, 2016, 10AM to 5PM

Co-sponsored by the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art (AHNCA) and
the Dahesh Museum of Art
Location: The Dahesh Museum of Art, 145 Sixth Avenue, New York City

Special thanks to the Dahesh Museum of Art for the Dahesh Museum of Art Prize for the Best Paper, a gift from the Mervat Zahid Cultural Foundation.

10 AM: Welcome

Patricia Mainardi, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Program Chair of The Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art

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

Patricia Mainardi, Moderator

Debra J. DeWitte, University of Texas at Dallas: “Analysis of the Exhibition of Drawings, Watercolors and Pastels in Paris, 18601890.”

By comparing private exhibitions orchestrated by dealers and artist societies with state-sponsored exhibition strategies, Debra J. DeWitte aims, through data analysis and study of critical reviews, to determine how drawings, watercolors and pastels were selected and viewed (both literally and critically) in Paris from the 1860s through the 1880s.

Shana Cooperstein, McGill University, Montreal, Canada: “Drawing Lines, Contracting Habit: Félix Ravaisson, De l’habitude, and Learning to See À Coup d’Oeil.

In this paper, Shana Cooperstein examines nineteenth-century French drawing pedagogy in relationship to concepts of habit and habit formation. As an example of this, she looks to the work of Félix Ravaisson (18131900), a philosopher turned civil servant whose drawing regime placed an importance on cultivating particular ocular habits.

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM: Break

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

James H. Rubin, Stony Brook University, Moderator

Laura D. Corey, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University: “Family Affairs: Mary Cassatt and the Cassatt Family Collections of Impressionist Pictures.”

Laura D. Corey evaluates the ways in which Mary Cassatt’s experience composing her family’s collections during the 1880s taught her crucial tools of the picture trade and positioned her to become one of the most effective and unique artist-advisors of the modern era.

Mia Laufer, Washington University in Saint Louis: “The Safe Haven and the Stage: Count Isaac de Camondo and the Spaces of Impressionist Art Collecting.”

In this paper Mia Laufer argues that with the rising tide of anti-Semitism in France in the 1890s, the spaces of art collecting, namely the art gallery and the auction house, played a vital role in shaping Count Isaac de Camondo’s relationship with Impressionist pictures and his vision of himself as a collector.

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM: Lunch Break

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

Roberto C. Ferrari, Columbia University, Moderator

Maria A. Dorofeeva, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “The Reinvention of the Spanish Gypsy: Painting as Anthropology, c. 1900.”

Maria A. Dorofeeva examines the reception of Roma-themed paintings by the Spanish painter Isidre Nonell as grounded in nineteenth-century discourses of degeneration, criminology and hygiene. Her analysis reveals how criminal anthropology shaped the Spanish public’s response to Roma, informing its understanding of Nonell’s “gypsies” on canvas, and their imaginary relocation to Andalusia.

Sarah Gould, Université Paris Diderot: “‘Every fold in my drapery is conductive to art’: The Visual and the Tactile in Frederic Lord Leighton’s Paintings.”

‘Smooth,’ ‘flawless,’ ‘free from irregularities’: this common reception of his art suggests that Leighton works his surfaces so perfectly and thoroughly that he almost negates them. Sarah Gould demonstrates that what is denied in his works is not their visual facts—their surface as facture or fabric—but their condition as mere fictive reproductions of the visible.

Deepthi Murali, University of Illinois at Chicago: “Ivory Atelier: Cosmopolitanism, Transculturality, and Devotion in the Works of Nineteenth-Century Craftsmen of Travancore, India.”

Deephi Murali examines the ways in which craftsmen of the kingdom of Travancore negotiated localized religion and practices of kingship with transcultural artistic processes in nineteenth-century South India, through an investigation of two exquisitely carved ivory thrones produced at this time.

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM: Break

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

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

Michelle Smiley, Bryn Mawr College: “Making Photography, or, the American (Re)Invention of a Medium.”

Michelle Smiley considers the early history of the daguerreotype in Philadelphia, as developed by Joseph Saxton, Paul Beck Goddard and Robert Cornelius, as an alternative site of origin for the medium. These American technological developments effectively re-invent the notion of photography, transforming it from the long exposure to the snapshot.

Whitney Thompson, The Graduate Center, City University of New York: “Pictorializing National Identity: How Immigrant Artists Negotiated and Shaped American Art.”

Whitney Thompson examines American-themed prints by the prolific Currier and Ives lithographer Frances Palmer in the context of her assimilation to the U.S. She explores how the English-born Palmer and fellow immigrants employed nationalistic sentiments to win patrons and proposes that they invoked their own immigration experiences to craft iconic images of westward expansion.

The 2016 jury consists of Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Marilyn Satin Kushner, Roberto C. Ferrari, Patricia Mainardi, James H. Rubin. The symposium committee includes Caterina Pierre, Margaret Samu, Mary Frances Zawadzki.

Special thanks to Amira Zahid and Alia Nour of the Dahesh Museum.

The symposium is free and open to the public; reservations are suggested but not required. For further information: