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Technical Art History

My research received support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation when I was invited to participate in the Summer Institute in Technical Art History organized by the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts in 2014. That year’s session was dedicated to study of materials and processes used in artist’s books. There are many resources in NYC for anyone likewise interested in related historical techniques, as I discussed in a post on the Institute site. In my own research, I examine some very early precursors of the genre. These include the paired poems and prints in Sonnets et Eaux-Fortes edited by Philippe Burty (1869) and Le Corbeau (1875), illustrated by Edouard Manet and translated into French by Stéphane Mallarmé—from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. In my research on Noa Noa, written collaboratively by Paul Gauguin and Charles Morice, I consider the project likewise as an artist book. Rather than see the text as an attempt to gloss Gauguin’s paintings (as many have done), I pay particular attention to the interrelationships between the text’s multiple manuscripts and the prints, which allow us to better understand the work as a whole.