Crossing Borders; Constructing Canons: “Post-Impressionism” in Britain, America and Beyond

Grafton Gallery Poster i Poster: Manet and the Post-Impressionists, Grafton Galleries 1910

 “Post-Impressionism,” a term invented and used by Roger Fry in the exhibition he organized in London in 1910, became a deeply influential critical and historical construct that was (and sometimes is still) used widely in Britain and America.  Critics and historians often uncritically deployed the highly selective, Franco-centric and exclusively male model that emerged from the writing on Fry’s two post-impressionist exhibitions that privileged Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso, who were regarded as a natural group, and Seurat was soon added to the list. The currency, significance and lasting impact of this canon of foundational artists on subsequent generations of art practice, criticism, art historical education and the marketing, collecting and exhibition of modern art in these two countries has been insufficiently examined. We seek to make fresh comparative and discursive analysis of the substantial impact and pervasive reception of this critical strain of modern art in Britain and America and beyond.

Organised by Elizabeth Childs (Steinberg Professor, Washington University in Saint Louis), Anna Gruetzner Robins (Professor Emerita, University of Reading) and David Peters Corbett (Professor of American Art and Director of the Centre for American Art, The Courtauld).   

This event has passed.

10 Jun - 11 Jun 2021

Thursday 10th June: 11am - 4.30pm BST and Friday 11th June: 11am - 4.30pm BST


Booking closes 30 minutes before the event start time.  
If you do not receive the log in details on the day of the event, please email 


“Crossing Borders, Constructing Canons: ‘Post-Impressionism’ in Britain, America and Beyond’”

You can find the speaker biographies here

Thursday 10 June and Friday 11 June


Thursday 10 June 2021 (11am – 4.30pm)

11:00  David Peters Corbett, Introduction 

11:05  SESSION 1  Post-Impressionism
Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins

Anna Gruetzner Robins ( University of Reading)
Introduction: Transmitting Post-Impressionism

Frances Fowle (University of Edinburgh and National Galleries of Scotland)
Post-Impressionism and Philanthropy: The Maitland Collection at the National Galleries of Scotland

Discussant: Elizabeth Childs (Washington University in St Louis)

11:45  Break

11:55  SESSION 2 Responses to Fry – Case studies of individual artists and critics
Chair: Elizabeth Childs           

Andrea Rosen (Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont)
Wood Gaylor, Primitivism and American Folk art after the Armory Show

James Church (PhD Candidate, Kingston University)
The Art of 1910: C. Lewis Hind and The Post Impressionists

 Discussant: Anna Gruetzner Robins

12:30  Q&A session chaired by David Peters Corbett

12:50  Lunch Break

13:20  SESSION 3 Post-Impressionism in the United States: collecting and exhibitions
Chair: Elizabeth Childs

Susan Behrends Frank (The Phillips Collection, Washington DC)
The Influence of Roger Fry’s Vision and Design on Duncan Phillips’s Aesthetic Vision and Exhibition Strategy for The Phillips Collection

Sandra Zalman (University of Houston)
Post-Impressionism at MoMA, then and now

Discussant: Anna Gruetzner Robins

14:00  Break

14:10  SESSION 4 Post-Impressionism in Russia
Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins

Ilia Doronchenkov (Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow)
The Avant-Garde’s Trojan Horse: The Golden Fleece exhibitions (Moscow 1908, 1909) and the arrival of Post-Impressionism in Russia

Katarina Lopatkina (Helsinki)
Between Moscow and Leningrad: displaying French modern art in the    Soviet Union, 1920 – 1950s

Discussant: Christina Lodder (University of Kent)

14: 50  Q&A: Chaired by Elizabeth Childs

15:10  Break

15:20  KEYNOTE
Introduction: Gavin Parkinson  (Courtauld Institute  of Art)

Richard Shiff (Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, University of Texas at Austin)
Expression and Abstraction during the Early Twentieth Century

16:10  Open discussion, moderated by Gavin Parkinson (Courtauld Institute of Art)

16:30  End


Friday 11 June 2021 (11am – 4.35pm) 

11:00  SESSION 5 International responses to Fry
Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins

Craig Clunas (University of Oxford)
‘Alternative Criteria Must be Sought’: Post-Impressionism in China and Beyond

Paul Bevan (Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford)
In search of a Chinese Matisse

Discussant: Sam Rose (University of St Andrews)

11:40  Break 

11:50  SESSION 6  The Reach of Post-Impressionism
Chair: Elizabeth Childs

MaryClaire Pappas (PhD Candidate, Indiana University)
Explaining Expressionism: Liljevalchs Konsthall and Swedish Expressionism

Gavin Parkinson (Courtauld Institute of Art)
A Surrealist Manifesto for Symbolism: André Breton and Dessins   Symbolistes  

Discussant: Sam Rose (University of St Andrews)

12:25  Q&A chaired by David Peters Corbett

12:45  Lunch Break 

13:15  SESSION 7   Fry’s Artists: addressing the legacies I: Cézanne, Van Gogh
Chair: Elizabeth Childs

Elizabeth Childs
Legacies of the Post-Impressionists: Tracing the Impact

Anne Robbins (National Gallery, London)
‘Controversy, admiration, misunderstanding, and enthusiasm’: Aspects of Cézanne’s reception in Britain

Discussant: Richard Shiff (University of Texas)

Joost van der Hoeven ( Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)
Van Gogh’s Popular Status and the Canon in America 1913-1936 

Discussant: Frances Fowle (University of Edinburgh)

14:10  Break

14:20  SESSION 8  Fry’s Artists: addressing the legacies II –  Gauguin, Seurat
Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins

Elizabeth Childs (Washington University in St Louis)
Case studies in Gauguin’s reception (Chicago 1913)

Discussant: Belinda Thomson (University of Edinburgh)

Marnin Young (Yeshiva University)
Was Seurat a Post-Impressionist? 

Discussant:  Paul Smith (University of Warwick)

15:10  Q&A chaired by Anna Gruetzner Robins

15:30  Break

15:40  SESSION 9  Fry’s Artists:   A panel discussion of Matisse and Picasso
Chair: Anna Gruetzner Robins

John Klein (Washington University in Saint Louis)
Framing Matisse

Discussion by Richard Shiff

16:05  Open Discussion chaired by Elizabeth Childs and Anna Gruetzner Robins

16.35  End

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Poster: Manet and the Post-Impressionists, Grafton Galleries 1910
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