Compelling and troubling, colorful and dark, black figures served as the quintessential image of difference in nineteenth-century European art; the essays in this volume further the investigation of constructions of blackness during this period. This collection marks a phase in the scholarship on images of blacks that moves beyond undifferentiated binaries like 'negative' and 'positive' that fail to reveal complexities, contradictions, and ambiguities. Essays that cover the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century explore the visuality of blackness in anti-slavery imagery, black women in Orientalist art, race and beauty in fin-de-siecle photography, the French brand of blackface minstrelsy, and a set of little-known images of an African model by Edvard Munch. In spite of the difficulty of resurrecting black lives in nineteenth-century Europe, one essay chronicles the rare instance of an American artist of color in mid-nineteenth-century Europe. With analyses of works ranging from Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, to portraits of the American actor Ira Aldridge, this volume provides new interpretations of nineteenth-century representations of blacks.
Adrienne L. Childs, PhD is an independent scholar and curator. She is an associate of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Her interests are in the relationship between race and representation in European and American art. Susan H. Libby, PhD is professor of art history at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Her research interests are the visual and material culture of French Caribbean slavery.
Contents: Introduction: figuring blackness in Europe, Adrienne L. Childs and Susan H. Libby; The color of Frenchness: racial identity and visuality in French anti-slavery imagery, 1788-94, Susan H. Libby; US and THEM: Camper's odious ligne faciale and Gericault's beseeching black, Albert Alhadeff; 'A mulatto sculptor from New Orleans': Eugene Warburg in Europe, 1853-59, Paul H.D. Kaplan; Ira Aldridge as Othello in James Northcote's Manchester portrait, Earnestine Jenkins; Exceeding blackness: African women in the art of Jean-Leon GerA'me, Adrienne L. Childs; Visualizing racial antics in late 19th-century France, James Smalls; Staging ethnicity: Edvard Munch's images of Sultan Abdul Karim, Allison W. Chang; Race and beauty in black and white: Robert Demachy and the aestheticization of blackness in pictorialist photography, Wendy A. Grossman; Selected bibliography; Index.
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