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CFP: The Form of the Sketch/The Sketch in All Its Forms (CAA, Chicago, 12–15 Feb 2020)

From the Romantics to the Impressionists, nineteenth-century artists increasingly valued the sketch, or the qualities of the sketch. What was the nature of the sketch, however? Was it revealed in the connection it held to the artist’s hand and to some elusive interiority or authentic self? Was its essence temporal—having to do with quickness or instantaneity—or spatial, having to do with its verification of eyewitness realism, especially in locales far removed from art world centers? Was the sketch primarily material or performative?

This session will explore the range of possibilities in and around the sketch in the nineteenth century: the preparatory sketch, the académie, amateur drawing, various kinds of sketches such as the ébauche, the étude, the croquis, the pochade, or the sculptural maquette; the materiality of the sketch; the origins or aesthetics of the sketch (the picturesque; plein-air landscape; studio practice); translations of the sketch into other media such as lithography and photography; the sketch in the academic concours; the condition of the sketch as a new ideal for oil painting. The sketch could be the form of painting or drawing most engaged with the artist’s surroundings; alternatively, it could be the key to what Baudelaire called “an intense effort of memory that evokes and calls back to life.” In addition to presenting case studies, papers might explore the extent to which the sketch always pointed outside itself—to a finished work or series—or became an ideal or an end in itself.

Association of Historians of 19th-Century Art
Chair: Nancy E. Locke, Pennsylvania State University

Please visit the 'External Link' below for more information, including submission guidelines (top of the page) and a link to the CAA proposal form.

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