Rouen, H2o auditorium, June 25 – 26, 2020
Deadline: Jun 20, 2019
An international symposium organised by the Paris Nanterre University Foundation in partnership with the Labex “Les Passés
The neologism “collector” was coined during the nineteenth century. Strictly speaking, it refers to anyone owning, buying
Even though a considerable amount of research has been devoted to a
In order to expand on this, several avenues of research are available.
Shaping the collection
Collectors build their collection either from an inherited core,
How a collection is assembled also raises very practical questions, such as the amount of money spent, the way the art was acquired –at an auction, directly from the artist, or through an art dealer– which intermediaries were involved, what literature was read to help with the art selection… Some only surround themselves with works that are easy to obtain, when others are ready to travel to expand their collection.
Working on and showcasing the collection
What characterizes a collection is that it’s never completed. Its life, made of purchases, resales, exchanges and gifts, is often very
Simultaneously, parallel to the development of collection-oriented practices, scientific knowledge in the field increases and deepens significantly. Written by collectors themselves or by intermediaries – critics, art dealers, historians – many publications around and about collections are released in an effort to organize and structure the information they have as well as to inventory the artwork. This evolution echoes specialization in art history, as the appearance of the first catalogues raisonnés illustrates. This early scientific research sometimes brings indirectly to light new aspects of collections, they, for example, point out the many forgeries that were circulating at the time. This ambition to document and popularize collections becomes achievable through the advancement of photography which allows for more reproductions and thus facilitates the iconographic diffusion of artwork.
Studying Impressionism through its collections
Mediation efforts and increasing visibility of collections emphasize the role said collections played in the diffusion of the movement during the artists’ life or even during the first half of the 20th century. How did these collections influence the way Impressionism was perceived? What impact have they had on the public’s taste and on artistic practices both? On the international scale, at a time when nationalism rages, the expansion of Impressionism, originally considered a French movement, was often slowed as it competed with the will to support and develop a national art.
It will, therefore, be useful, whenever possible, to study the collector ’s position. Does he deliberately choose to support the movement, to defend it almost militantly? During this process, does he put himself in the spotlight or does he let his collection take
Future of the collections
Whether a collection finds itself sold, donated, lost or looted, whether it retains its integrity or is scattered, it is almost always confronted with its disappearance. This often occurs after its owner’s passing, but it can also happen during his lifetime. Some collectors see in the art they own a true purpose, and this often sheds new light on their motivations and on their conception of the collection. The collecting frenzy ran parallel to the museum boom; and as museums offered collections a rather obvious destination, they facilitated the development of collections. Studying the relations between private collections and public institutions as well as between collectors and cultural officials will therefore surely prove profitable.
While some, work to shape their collection as a meaningful whole able to stand on its own, and regard donating it as a way to preserve its integrity; others, on the contrary, focus more on the value of each separate piece and prefer to see their collection featured in auctions. If the trajectory of the collection ends at that point, that of each object goes on, sometimes allowing us to retrace its steps all the way to the beginning and to so reconstruct its family tree. Other times, collections are dispersed more violently, as is the case with lost or looted collections. If tracking these is more difficult, it proves especially fascinating as they are often less well-known.
These research suggestions are neither comprehensive nor exclusive and the scientific committee, though it will be particularly attentive to problematization efforts, will examine every proposal with
As part of the preparation for this conference, research grants are offered. They are intended to fund work that is to be realized in Norman and/or Parisian territories and/or in the Ile-de-France and that aims to uncover little-known sources, collections or collectors.
Those who hope to benefit from these grants are to send, in addition to their communication proposal, a motivated research project detailing which collections and resources they plan to study.
All proposals (for communications and grant applications) are to be sent at firstname.lastname@example.org before June 20, 2019.
Proposals for communications will be no more than 1 page long and will be accompanied by a short bio-bibliography.
A preparatory workshop for this symposium on the theme