Public Exhibitions of Drawing in Paris, France (1860-1890): A Study in Data-Driven Art History
DeWitte, Debra Jean
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This project delves into the study of works on paper (pastels, watercolors, charcoals, and drawings) that were exhibited in Paris between 1860 and 1890. The exhibition of drawings during these years has not previously been analyzed from a macro level largely because the resources were not available to do so. Instead, art historians have more often focused on individuals or small groups of artists, and from these findings, have made inferences about the art world as a whole. However, of the thousands of artists who exhibited drawings in the Salon during this period, art historians would be challenged today to recognize even 5% of their names. Through a revelation of the exhibitors of drawings during these years, there is considerable evidence of successful nineteenth-century artists that are not known or studied today. Thus, this project also aims to demonstrate the efficacy of data analysis in the field of art history. Case studies include state-funded exhibitions, such as the World’s Fairs held in Paris and the Paris Salon, and exhibitions organized by dealers and artist societies, such as Société des aquarellistes français, Société des pastellistes français, and the Impressionists. By comparing private exhibitions orchestrated by dealers and artist societies with state-sponsored exhibition strategies, the importance of works on paper as objects to promote artists is better established. This dissertation also continues the conversation among scholars about the degree to which groups like the Impressionists were dissimilar from traditional artists presented at the Salon.