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CFP: Materiality & Mediums in 19th Century Art: Matters of Substance (CAA, Chicago, 12–15 Feb 2020)

The 19th century witnessed an explosion of mediums and materials with which artists could creatively engage. The age was bracketed by the emergence of the new media of photography near the beginning of the century and moving pictures at its end. There was a heightened interest in paper as the stratum for artworks. Pastels, watercolors and a variety of printmaking techniques began to occupy a more prominent place in exhibitions and the marketplace. Alongside marble or bronze sculpture new substances proliferated, from plaster or parian (bisque porcelain) for inexpensive multiples to photosculpture, a process using photography to produce a small statuette. Paint technology was being revolutionized, as tube paints and a vast range of new colors become available, while Japanese paper, carved wood from India and beads from Africa were appropriated by artists in the West. As artworks became increasingly mobile, how did the their materials -- oil paint, shells, paper or stone – shift in meaning as their migrate between contexts? What does the increased popularity of trompe l’oeil painting -- in which the artist deploys one material pretending to be another – tell us about cultural values? Papers might also address cross-disciplinary questions including art history’s relation to material culture, or insights an art historian can gain from collaboration with conservationists. Ultimately we are pondering whether, by turning our attention to the materiality of the art object, we can gain new insights into their meaning(s).

Chair: Katherine E. Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Please submit proposals to Katherine Manthorne via email ( by July 23, 2019.

Include the following materials:
1. Full name
2. Affiliation
3. Email (please use the email associated with your CAA membership account)
4. CAA member ID# (you must be a current individual member)
5. Presentation Title
6. Presentation Abstract (250 words maximum)
7. Statement on why your proposal is a good fit for this session (100 words maximum)
8. Brief cv (2-3 pages)

Please visit the 'External Link' below for more information.

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