History of Art


Trans-Atlantic Romanticism:  An International Conference, 15 - 17 October 2009

Death on a Pale Horse

Benjamin West, P.R.A.
Death on a Pale Horse
Photo credit © Royal Academy of Arts, London
Photography:  British Museum

Programme information (pdf)

This conference aims to rethink Romanticism in the American visual arts within a trans-Atlantic framework.  It will provide a forum in which to consider developments in American art of the period c.1789 - 1848 in relation to cognate developments.  The twelve papers and keynote lecture will address the issues of Romanticism from a number of perspectives:  (1) The urban context in which artists worked in Britain and the United States, and notably London and New York.  (2) The literary discourse of early 19th-century Romanticism in relation to new attitudes to the arts and their place in society more generally.  (3) The work of individual artists who acted as link figures between British and American cultures, including Benjamin West and Washington Allston.  (4) Related developments in landscape and genre painting in Britain and the United States, represented by the work of Thomas Cole, John Quidor, John Martin, and JMW Turner.

The conference has been conceived to provide a forum for extended discussions rather than just presentations of research findings.  The event will open with a keynote by Professor Alan Wallach (College of Williams and Mary) at the Royal Academy on the evening of Thursday 15 October.  Saturday's event will conclude with a round-table discussion.  Other speakers include: 

Dr Matthew Beaumont (UCL)
Professor Emeritus David Bindman (UCL)
Professor Leo Costello (Rice University, Houston)
Professor Mark Ford (UCL)
Professor Paul Giles (University of Oxford)
Professor Andrew Hemingway (UCL)
Dr Wendy Ikemoto (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Dr Sarah Monks (University of York)
Dr Kenneth Myers (Detroit Institute of Arts)
Williams Truettner (Smithsonian American Art Museum)
Professor Dell Upton (UCLA)
Professor Emeritus Williams Vaughan (Birkbeck College, University of London)

A small exhibition of relevant works by American artists from the academy's collection will be shown concurrently in the Royal Academy Library Print Room.

The conference venue will be at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art on Friday 16 October, and in University College London on Saturday 17 October.  Further details and maps are forthcoming.

The conference should appeal to scholars and students working in the fields of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century art and American Studies, but also to interested members of the public.  Conference fees are: £50.00 to waged attendees and £25.00 to students and unwaged.  The fee covers a drinks reception at the Royal Academy and tea, coffees, and a sandwich lunch on the Friday and Saturday.

Inquiries and booking requests should be directed to the Conference Assistant, Dr Philippa Kaina, at the Department of History of Art, University College London.

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