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The State of the Discipline: An Open Art History Session for Undergraduate and Graduate Students (


Portraits, especially those outside the medium of oil-on-canvas, have been a neglected and often disparaged subject in nineteenth-century French art history, despite their overwhelming prevalence during the time period. This paper contributes to our understanding of the modern manifestation of the portrait by examining a suite of lithographic portraits of cultural celebrities that appeared in the newly established art journal L’Artiste during the July Monarchy (1830-1848), the constitutional regime long associated with both the social and political rise of the bourgeoisie as well as the development of an extensive commercial and celebrity culture. Executed in the sketchy and lively medium of lithography that recalls the tradition of private portrait drawings, the portraits in L’Artiste achieved similar effects but, ironically, were disseminated en masse to a growing market of anonymous consumers with no direct connection to the sitters. This paper reexamines the modern nineteenth-century concept of the self (an aspect central to portraiture studies) as one that is a product of an increasingly complex network of perceptions and representations. The portraits in L’Artiste prompted diverse cultural consumers to project their fantasies onto the celebrities, who, then as now, served as discursive touchstones for an array of private and public concerns.


Arts and Humanities | European History | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology