Problems in Art of the 19th Century:
Figuring the Artist in Nineteenth Century France
MW 10:00am - 11:30am
180 Tappan
3 Credit Lecture
Meets with HA 464, FR 453 and FR 660

As nineteenth-century artists and critics became ever more self-conscious about artistic subjectivity, the figure of the visual artist emerged as an important character in novels by Balzac, Flaubert, the Goncourts, Zola and others, becoming the repository of literary fantasies and anxieties about individual creativity. In this course we will study the figure of the artist as a social and literary phenomenon in early and mid-nineteenth century France.

Writings by nineteenth-century French painters will be examined as one of many forms of artistic self-fashioning, along with the organization of exhibitions by which they identified themselves as coherent artistic personalities. The close involvement of critics and writers in shaping artistic personae will be another major theme, as critics contributed to the public staging of an artist and in turn influenced artists' conceptions of their own work. We will study paintings and texts that took their audiences "inside" the artist's private world through eye-witness accounts, portraits, and images of the studio and other artistic milieux. These popularized images of artistic personalities and spaces will be compared with their fictionalized representations in novels of the period. This course will be taught in English but knowledge of French is desirable. Interested students should feel free to contact Prof. Hannoosh at hannoosh@umich.edu.