Back to Opportunities

CFP: Playing with Pigments: Color Experiments in the Visual Arts (American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, Toronto, 8–10 Apr 2021)

With the emergence of novel pigments and dyes—some from the New World—prompting myriad experimentation in color and facture, the eighteenth century is widely acknowledged as a turning point for artists’ materials. This panel explores the impact of such innovations on artistic practice across the long eighteenth century. The microcosm of color in art exemplifies larger trends of the period as technological and scientific advances transformed the ways in which color was perceived, described, transmitted, commodified, thematized, and preserved. From furniture and paper makers to aquatint engravers and history painters, artists and artisans were invested in discussions about hue, discoloration, and the impact of time on color. Explorations in alternative mediums such as encaustic and enamel aspired to the most saturated, the most authentic, or the most durable color palettes. Advances in printmaking revolutionized the circulation of chromatic knowledge, including a new understanding of Old Masters through reproductive engravings and the transmission of cultural and botanical information about distant lands. We welcome papers that consider the full spectrum of artistic production and experimentation across the visual arts during this transformational period. Papers considering the science and materials of color, the restoration of historic palettes, or issues of pigmented materials’ change over time are also encouraged.

Proposals should be sent directly to the session chairs no later than September 15, 2020. All participants must be members in good standing of ASECS or of a constituent society of the International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. Membership must be current as of December 1, 2020 for inclusion in the program.

Daniella Berman, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and Metropolitan Museum of Art (
Caroline M. Culp, Stanford University and Metropolitan Museum of Art (

Please visit the 'External Link' below for more information.
Relevant research areas: North America, 18th Century

Leave a Reply