Academic Session 24: Edinburgh 2016

AAH2016 Annual Conference and Bookfair
University of Edinburgh
7 - 9 April 2016

Sculpture and the Decorative


Claire Jones, University of Birmingham,
Imogen Hart, University of California, Berkeley,

The history of sculpture has largely been written with an emphasis on free-standing, monumental, figurative, single-authored works created by named sculptors, primarily in bronze, marble and plaster. Decorative arts scholarship has been predominantly concerned with works created by named manufacturers, and with the impact of industrialisation on craft and related issues around mass production, taste, labour and commerce. Yet cross-fertilisations between sculpture and the decorative have played a vital role in the formal practices and aesthetics of art production, bringing sculptors into contact with diverse makers, materials, techniques, forms, colours, ornament, scales, styles, patrons, audiences and subject matter, to produce composite, multi-material, quasi-functional and multi-authored objects.

This session will explore the decorative as a historically fertile, parallel and contested field of sculptural production. We invite proposals that address affinities between sculpture and the decorative in any culture or period from the Middle Ages to the present day, and which explore the cross-disciplinary connections between the institutional, biographical, conceptual, visual, material and professional histories of the two fields. Topics might include artistic autonomy and creativity; the fragment and the composite work; figuration and relief; the hierarchy of the arts; copyright and authorship; originality and reproduction; and the languages and histories of making and materials. We also welcome papers that examine sculpture and the decorative in relation to the racialization, nationalisation and gendering of the practices of art, craft and manufacturing.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Martina Droth (Yale Center for British Art) Common Grounds of Making: Modelling for sculpture and decorative art in 19th-century Britain

Amy F Ogata
(University of Southern California) Aluminium Orfèvrerie and Second Empire France

Margit Thøfner
(University of East Anglia) Resonant Tendrils and Furtive Grimaces: The role of ornament in Abel Schrøder’s altarpiece for the church of Skt Morten, Næstved

Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen (Metropolitan Museum of Art) Beethoven’s Farewell: Klinger’s Beethoven-Denkmal ’in the claws of the Secession’

Conor Lucey (Trinity College Dublin) 18th-Century Property Speculation and the Sculptural Interior

Anna Ferrari (Victoria and Albert Museum) Beyond the Studio in Interwar Paris: Henri Laurens with Robert Mallet-Stevens, Le Corbusier and Jean-Michel Frank

Nina Lübbren (Anglia Ruskin University) Renée Sintenis, Milly Steger and German Sculpture, 1910–33

Angela Hesson (University of Melbourne/National Gallery of Victoria) Sirens on the Sideboard: Fantasy and function in Art Nouveau