Lecture programme 2020-21

The Arts Society Paris Programme 2020-2021

These illustrated lectures are delivered in English by leading European speakers, all experts in their fields.

All lectures start at 14:00 CET unless otherwise stated.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the Arts Society Paris is unable to hold physical meetings at the Ranelagh. Until further notice, all meetings will be held online by Zoom. Instructions for joining the lecture will be sent before the meeting.

Guests are welcome to attend these lectures. The lectures are free to members of PADFAS and to members of The Arts Society. Other guests may attend for a fee of 7€: contact paris@theartssociety.org for details.

Click on the lecturer’s name to see more information (if available)


14:00 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The convocation to the AGM has been sent individually to members. It is also available online: click here.

14:30 JAN STEEN: MASTER STORYTELLER

One of the best-known artists of the Dutch Golden Age, Jan Steen was a born storyteller with humorous or more serious subjects to be found among his œuvre. He was a first-rate painter with an outstanding technique.

By Jane Choy-Thurlow

Jane E. Choy-Thurlow is a docent and enjoys giving lectures and tours at the Mauritshuis, Prince William V gallery and Huygens Museum Hofwijck in The Hague, The Netherlands. A few of the many exhibits in the Mauritshuis she has been part of are: the legendary Johannes Vermeer exhibit, Rembrandt by Himself and Holbein, Portraitist of the Renaissance.


Thursday 3rd December 2020

THE SUBTLE SCIENCE AND EXACT ART OF COLOUR IN ENGLISH GARDEN DESIGN

The Artist’s Garden at Giverny, 1900 by Monet

In 1888 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in The Garden in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”. As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours, but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”. This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border, but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting. However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Hockney evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.

By Timothy Walker

Since 1986 Timothy Walker has given 1,500 public lectures. This was originally part of his work as director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden from 1988 to 2014. Botanic gardens are often described as living museums, and garden curators lecture about them in the same way as museum curators talk about their collections. Since 2014 he has been a college lecturer and tutor at Somerville College Oxford. Gardens are often thought of a place where science and art meet on equal terms. Timothy Walker’s lectures investigate this relationship.


Thursday 7th January 2021

DUBLIN

Dublin has played a major part in the conquest by Ireland of its independence. The island was confronted by military and political struggles and the often terrible economic conditions of the island.

Dublin has always been a real European cultural capital. From the Book of Kells to U2 and Bono, along with some of the most striking literary works ever written in English, Dublin offers an endless series of aesthetic and intellectual opportunities.

By Christian Monjou

Research professor at Oxford, former laureate of the Besse Foundation, Christian Monjou is a specialist in Anglo-Saxon civilisations. He was for a long time professeur de chaire supérieure en khâgne  at the Lycée Henri IV in Paris and lecturer at the École Normale Supérieure in the Rue d’Ulm.


Thursday 21st January 2021 at 18:00 CET

Warwick Castle : The forgotten collection

Warwick Castle remains as one of Britain’s best preserved and most popular medieval castles. The imposing stone walls and towers were raised by the powerful medieval Earl of Warwick, who took an active part in Medieval England’s most important historic events. However, from 1604, the castle was transformed into a luxurious stately home, filled with arguably one of Britain’s most prized collections amassed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its beauty attracted the likes of Canaletto, Wright of Derby and Turner. The sale of Warwick Castle to an entertainments company in 1978 by Lord Brooke meant that the castle’s history and collection remains one of Britain’s best kept secrets.

By Adam Busiakiewicz

Adam Busiakiewicz is an Art Historian, Lecturer and Lutenist. Many members will remember the lecture that Adam presented to us on the Lute.


THE WATERCOLOUR WORLD PROJECT.

POSTPONED

The Watercolour World (TWW), a new online project which uses an overlooked artform to help reveal the world as it looked before photography, was launched in 2019. The Watercolour World is the brainchild of Fred Hohler. 

By Fred Hohler

Fred Hohler is the British former diplomat who founded the Public Catalogue Foundation in 2002, which photographed and published over 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in Britain for the first time. 


Thursday 4th February 2021

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:
THE WOMEN WHO BUILT THE AMERICAN ART INSTITUTIONS.

George Santayana proclaimed in 1911 that US culture was a feminized backwater presided over by genteel ladies. Henry James in Daisy Miller (1878) had mocked them for their pilgrimages to Europe seeking art. Yet by the 1880s, women were founding associations as patrons of the arts. Isabella Gardner of Boston was the first to create a whole museum with 82 rooms in her own home! Louisine Havmeyer of NYC soon followed suit. Self-appointed art advisor Elsie de Wolfe, who proclaimed the Arts and Crafts movement a moralizing must, would be lampooned in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes and later as Miss Piggy. Yet, thought and mission statements of many angels of culture still guide the large cultural institutions they founded: Jane Stanford’s museum in San Francisco; Abby Rockefeller for MoMA and Gertrude Vanderbilt for the Whitney. Peggy Guggenheim is a whole other story.

By Deborah Jenner

Deborah Jenner is an American-born art historian; member of College Arts Association. Residing in Paris since 1990, she has worked at the Ecole du Louvre, the Sorbonne, the Catholic Institute and the British Council. Her Doctorate thesis proved non-western influences in Georgia O’Keeffe’s art. Her publications include catalogue essays for Musée d’Orsay (New York City et l’Art modern) and Centre Pompidou (Les Traces du Sacré), scholarly papers with the research laboratory S.A.R.I. and Gallery critiques in ArtAsiaPacific, and PerformArts: Artvisuel-Artvivant. She gives public talks, guided walks and museum tours for ex-pat organizations and study-abroad programs and volunteers as an Al Gore Climate leader and JCF Round Table coordinator. She is a member of The Arts Society Paris.


Thursday 18th March 2021 at 15:00 CET

THE FORGOTTEN PAINTINGS OF THE ART WORLD KNOWN AS “SLEEPERS”.
FAKE OR FORTUNE?

This talks looks at the forgotten and misattributed pictures found in the art world which Julia and her colleagues take pride in revealing. The lecture provides clues as to how professionals go about discovering hidden gems which have long since lost their dignity or fallen into anonymity. The talk guides you through the research and examination of pictures and is rich in detail about the age of pigment, panels, canvases and frames.

By Julia Korner

Julia Korner is a specialist and lecturer in fine art conservation and the restoration of paintings, sculptures and frames. She is also a valuer, passionate collector, advisor and curator of paintings and works of art. Julia trained in art history, sculpture and graphic illustration in Cambridge, England. Then, for twenty years, she worked for Christie’s as a paintings specialist, building extensive knowledge of Old Masters, and of British, European and American paintings from the 1700s onwards. She set up Christie’s Maritime Department in 1987, followed by the Frame sales, the Aeronautical, Exploration and Travel and the Polar sales. Julia was elected Huntington Fellow of the Mariners’ Museum, Newport New, Virginia, USA, in 1997. A seven year commitment saw her catalogue this collection and of its sister organisation, the South Street Seaport Museum, New York. Julia has worked independently in her own studio in West London for almost twenty years. Here, she and her small team give specialist conservation work personal and expert attention. Damaged paintings, polychrome statues, frames, over-mantles, traditional gold leaf and gesso frames all emerge restored and transformed under her expertise, knowledge and care. Julia acts as an advisor, valuer and exhibition curator for public and private collections, in the UK and abroad. She also gives illustrated talks and lectures. She is an elected member of The British Antique Dealers’ Association, (and exhibits at the annual exhibition), The British Association of Paintings Conservator Restorers, The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars, The International Institute for Conservation, The Fine Art Trade Guild, The Maritime Information Association, The Museums Association, and The Conservation Consortium.


Thursday 25th March 2021 at 14:30

LES FRERES MOROZOV

This additional lecture will be given in French.

Dans l’histoire des collections russes, le milieu du XIXème siècle est une période charnière : la  classe des marchands et des industriels fortunés entre en scène et Moscou et la province reprennent la main. Ceux qui parviennent à constituer d’importantes  collections se sont souvent enrichis grâce au textile, comme  les frères Morozov, Michel(1870-1903) et surtout Ivan (1871-1921), qui  voit dans la collection  d’art un « répit dans sa vie d’affaires si monotone » !  Ils vont faire découvrir l’impressionnisme aux Russes puis se passionnent pour des peintres modernes comme Cézanne, Gauguin et Matisse.  Ivan commande à Bonnard un triptyque destiné à être placé sur le palier supérieur du grand escalier de son hôtel moscovite et à Maurice Denis cinq panneaux consacrés à l’histoire de Psyché pour le salon de musique. Les pièces majeures de cette collection sont attendues à la Fondation Vuitton au printemps , croisons les doigts!

By Catherine de Vaucorbeil

This lecture will be given in French by Mme Catherine de Vaucorbeil , who many members will remember as our guide for past visits to the Abbaye of Royaumont, Château d’Ecouen, Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky Cathedral in the rue Daru and the Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève des Bois. She also presented a lecture on L’icône, des portraits du Fayoum à Andy Warhol last year.


Thursday 8th April 2021 at 14:00

THE AULD ALLIANCE

This is an additional lecture about the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland

By Christian Monjou


POSTPONED

DAZZLING DUFFY: INVITATION TO A LUMINOUS FEAST WITH RAOUL DUFFY.

Photo credit : © Jean-François Tomasian – Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist. RMN-GP
© Adagp, Paris

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was a key player in early twentieth century avant garde art, design and literary/theatrical circles in Paris. As a widely travelled polymath, Dufy’s charismatic personality, wit and curiosity about the world was infectious.

His imagination and technical virtuosity – across a range of media including painting and lithography, posters, book illustration, theatrical set design, textiles and fashion, ceramics and large murals – cut across all conventional boundaries. Whether a small intricate woodcut illustrating a love poem, or the truly gigantic 1937 world fair murals depicting the role of electricity in the modern age, the effect is mesmerising.

Dufy defies categorisation, constantly innovating and experimenting with new materials and effects. His analysis of the visual world is sophisticated and joyous in equal measure. Perhaps this goes some way to explain why some later critics fail to grasp its complexity and pigeonhole him a ‘decorative artist’, or misunderstand the irony in his witty yet gentle caricatures of elegant social life.

By Mary Alexander

Thirty years’ experience as a lecturer, with a BA in History and History of Art and a MA with distinction in History of Art from University College London. Experience includes public lectures in museums, tutoring for the Open University, visiting lecturer at Christie’s Education in London, museum curator at Platt Hall, the Gallery of Costume, Manchester. Now a freelance lecturer to various arts, heritage and antiquarian societies. She also worked in Pentagram design consultancy in London and New York, organising conferences and special events. Author of various articles on design and visual awareness issues, her background combines an unusual blend of academic and visual communications skills. Lectured for ADFAS Australia and New Zealand in 2011, 2013 and 2016. Mary is an enthusiastic member and President of The Arts Society Glaven Valley.


Thursday 20th May 2021 at 17:00 CET

The World of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Claudio Monteverdi in a portrait by Bernardo Strozzi, c. 1630

The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi stands at the beginning of the musical Baroque, an era brought to its conclusion by the monumental oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach. My talk will explore how the earlier composer, born one hundred years before Bach, inaugurated the period by establishing a new musical practice at the turn of the 17th century. In addition to discussing recorded excerpts of some of Monteverdi’s music, which includes vocal chamber works (madrigals) that defied the traditional rules of composition, and his contributions to the groundbreaking new genre of opera (Orfeo), I will compare him to his contemporaries, the painter Caravaggio among others, to show how and why the sensibilities of both composer and artist helped to define the era.


By Barbara Hanning

Barbara Russano Hanning is an American music historian and lifelong resident of New York City, where she is Professor Emeritus of Music at the City University of New York and has taught in the doctoral program of The Juilliard School. She is author of a book on early opera and of various articles on 16th– and 17th-century Italian music, iconography of music, and 18th-century French subjects as well as of a textbook, Concise History of Western Music, currently in its fifth edition (W. W. Norton). A past president of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, she currently serves on the Board of the early music ensemble ARTEK.

Thursday 27th May 2021

THE MUSICAL WORLD OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)

Bach is so important in the history of music that we close down the Baroque period with his death in 1750. He is one of the most challenging of composers and rarely reveals the subtleties of his music on first or even second hearing. We shall go beneath the surface of Bach’s music to decode some of its symbolism and to highlight some of his aesthetic goals.

By Peter Medhurst

Peter Medhurst will also perform a selection of Bach’s arias and keyboard music.


Click here to see last session’s lectures.