Writing Impressionism Into and Out of Art History, 1874 to Today - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Writing Impressionism Into and Out of Art History, 1874 to Today

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Writing Impressionism Into and Out of Art History, 1874 to Today

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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Organised by

  • Dr Alexis Clark: Washington University, St Louis
  • Prof. David Peters Corbett: The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
£26 general admission / £16 students and concessions

with a limited number of free tickets for Courtauld students. Advance booking required


Impressionism continues to be celebrated in blockbuster exhibitions worldwide: in the last few years alone, Impressionism, Fashion, Modernity (Art Institute of Chicago, Musée d’Orsay, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013); Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye (Kimbell Art Museum and National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2015-2016); and Inventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market (Musée du Luxembourg, National Gallery, London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2015). Since 1878 when Théodore Duret published his Histoire des peintres impressionnistes, Impressionism has occupied a central place in the canon of art history. That place now seems to be called into question, however. New transnational approaches to nineteenth-century art history have troubled the perpetuation of Francocentric histories. As the field’s attention has increasingly turned to places outside France—Britain, the United States, Australia, and beyond—Impressionism has been pushed to the margins. Though Impressionism has long benefited from powerful and compelling narratives via the social history of art, these readings have been worked through so extensively that it warrants asking whether this area of art history may be exhausted for the moment.


The Courtauld Institute of Art has historically been a centre for both academic research and scholarly exhibitions on Impressionism. ‘Writing Impressionism Into and Out of Art History, 1874 to Today’ seeks to scrutinize Impressionism’s past historiography and trace its possible future in transnational art histories, with particular attention to new directions, approaches, and questions through which to interrogate Impressionism.



Friday 3 November



12.30 – 13.00




13.00 – 13.15

Welcome and Opening remarks (Alexis Clark: Washington University in St Louis, and David Peters Corbett: The Courtauld Institute of Art)



13.15 – 14.30

Plenary (Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre) 


Norma Broude (American University, Washington DC): “World Impressionism”: the Concept and its Afterlife



14.30 – 16.30

Parallel Panel Sessions


1.     Whistler (Room TBC) –  Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins (University of Reading)


Caroline Arscott (The Courtauld Institute of Art): James McNeill Whistler: Veiling the Everyday


Alexis Clark (Washington University in St Louis): Marking a Mark: Whistler, the Musée du Luxembourg and the World of Impressionism


Laura Valette (Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne): James McNeill Whistler and His Followers: Import and the Discovery of Impressionism in London




2.     Impressionism in the British Empire (Room TBC) – Chair: Emily Burns (Auburn University)


Samantha Burton (University of Southern California): Transplanting Impressionism in Canada

Morna O’Neill (Wake Forest University): French Impressionism and the British Empire: Hugh Lane in Dublin and Johannesburg

Catherine Speck (University of Adelaide): Australian Impressionism



16.30 – 17.15

TEA /COFFEE BREAK (provided for all, in Seminar room 1)




Plenary (Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre) 




Hollis Clayson (Northwestern University): Mary Cassatt: The Insider Outsider Par Excellence



RECEPTION (Front Hall)



Saturday 4 November


09.00 – 09.30



09.30 – 09.45

Welcome and Opening remarks (Alexis Clark and David Peters Corbett)


09.45 – 11.00

Plenary (Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre) 


MaryAnne Stevens (Independent Art Historian and Curator): From the Normative to the Relative: Impressionism Then and Now


11.00 – 13.00

Parallel Panel Sessions




3.     Reception (Room TBC) – Chair: Paul Smith (University of Warwick)


Thomas Hughes (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Ninety Per Cent of the Theory of Impressionism: Ruskin, Pater and Monet


Kimberly Jones (Sweet Briar College): Fragrant Ambergris or Fetid Garlic? British Critical Discourse on French Impressionism, c.1905


Margaret Werth (University of Delaware): Mallarmé and the Medium of Air


Martha Ward (University of Chicago): Louvre Curated Impressionism, 1930-1950






4.     Europe (Room TBC) – Chair: Belinda Thomson (University of Edinburgh)


Ahu Antmen (Marmara University): Turkish Impressionism: Interplays of Culture and Form


Mitchell Frank (Carleton University): The Long History of Impressionism in Germany


Elizabeth Stone (University of Virginia): The Case of Anders Zorn, Or, Is there such a Thing as Swedish Impressionism?


André Dombrowski (University of Pennsylvania): Monet, the Instant, and the Span of Universal Time



13.00 – 14.00

LUNCH BREAK (provided for speakers and chairs only)


14.00 – 16.00

Parallel Panel Sessions


5.     Americas (Room TBC)– Chair: David Peters Corbett (The Courtauld Institute of Art)




Laura Dickey Corey (Metropolitan Museum of Art): Going Public: Mary Cassatt and the 1886 First Impressionist Exhibition in America


Claire Hendren (Université Paris Nanterre): French Impressionism on American Soil: A Nature-Orientated Approach


Victor Claass (Université Paris-Sorbonne): The Impressionist Flagship: Modern Art and French Cultural Propaganda in the Americas


6.     Museums (Room TBC) – Chair: Frances Fowle, (University of Edinburgh and Scottish National Gallery of Art)




Marine Kisiel (Musée d’Orsay): Researching/Curating: Impressionism Between Academia and Exhibitions


Maureen Cross (The Courtauld Institute of Art): A Technical Study of the Courtauld Gallery’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe using Macroscopic X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy to Provide New Insights into Manet’s Painting Practice


Anne Pritchard (Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales): Impressionism for a Nation: the Dawn of the Davies Collection and the National Museum of Wales

Laura Moure Cecchini (Colgate University): Imitators of the Imitators: Issues of Originality and Impressionism at the Venice Biennale


16.00 – 17.15

Plenary (Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre) 


Sylvie Patry (Musée d’Orsay, Paris): Impressionism and Decoration: New Works, New Practices


17.15 – 17.45

Closing remarks: Richard Thomson (University of Edinburgh)




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