“Lombroso Transformed Into Painting”: Art, Criminology, and the Re-invention of the Spanish Gypsy
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This article examines the reception of Roma-themed paintings by the Spanish painter Isidre Nonell in relation to nineteenth-century discourses of degeneration, criminology, and hygiene. Its 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.
Empowering American Women Artists: The Travel Writings of May Alcott Nieriker
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The painter May Alcott Nieriker, sister of famed novelist Louisa May Alcott, is a striking example of a middle-class woman who was able to achieve professional success in the United States and in Europe even though she lacked sustained instruction, income, and connections. This article first considers Alcott Nieriker’s circuitous artistic path before focusing on how she sought, through her published travel writings, to empower other women of modest means to follow in her footsteps. Particular attention is given to her groundbreaking guidebook, Studying Art Abroad & How to Do It Cheaply (1879), which not only provides practical advice for unaccompanied women travelers, but also embeds critical commentary on the discriminatory conditions faced by women artists as it advocates for change.
Pink and the Fancy Gal: White Slavery, the Abolitionists’ Crusade, and the Painter’s Canvas
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This article examines two paintings from the antebellum period, The Slave Market (ca. 1859) by an unidentified artist and The Freedom Ring (1860) by Eastman Johnson, which involve the purchase of nearly white slaves, and attempts to delineate the motivation for presenting these images before the public. These paintings functioned much as slave narratives, and abolitionists used them to provide visual evidence of an insidious, often sexually depraved side of “the peculiar institution.”
Landscape Imagery in Popular Representations of African American Soldiers during the Civil War
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This article analyzes popular images created during the American Civil War that used the symbolic language of landscape to signal a newly empowered social position for African American soldiers. Such images are particularly significant given the erasure of black soldiers from post-war commemorative art.
William Merritt Chase’s Cosmopolitan Eclecticism
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While eclecticism is a frequently used stylistic appellation in the historiography of William Merritt Chase’s work, it has not been treated analytically or situated historically. To correct this lacuna in the scholarship, this article offers a detailed analysis of two exemplary paintings of Chase’s Tenth Street studio and explores how they not only represent his eclectic collection but also visualize the mechanics of his eclectic artistic process, ultimately accomplishing his aim of arriving at originality through selection rather than invention.
Rodin’s Reputation in Great Britain: The Neglected Role of Alphonse Legros
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This article highlights the role played by the French expatriate artist Alphonse Legros in familiarizing British collectors and the general public with the work of Auguste Rodin. It demonstrates how Legros popularized Rodin by introducing him to Constantine Ionides, a collector who acquired Rodin’s Thinker in 1884, and to William Ernest Henley, the British art critic and poet, who later advertised his sculptures in print. Legros promoted Rodin by exploiting his network of contacts within the British art world and strategically placing the French sculptor’s pieces in public gallery spaces. This strengthened the relationship between Legros’s friends from Lecoq de Boisbaudran’s studio, and ultimately challenged the rigidity of the British Academy with the artistic and political ideals of French modern art.
Armand Guillaumin, Nature-morte à la marmite, Galerie de la Béraudière, Brussels, Belgium
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