Over the past years, studies have begun not only to identify the factors that impeded the full participation of women artists in French cultural life, such as women's limited access to professional art education, but also to bring to light the considerable artistic accomplishments of women occluded by historians for over a century. A similar effort at historical revision has been under way for French women writers. Works of fiction that enjoyed many editions in the nineteenth-century receded from our field of vision for almost a century before being rediscovered and reissued during the last decades of the twentieth century. Such efforts have resulted in scholarship that has helped revise the history of both artistic and literary expression in nineteenth-century France. Similarly, many women in nineteenth-century France had their art criticism published both in journal reviews and in book form, often for decades, in a number of the most influential venues of their day. However, it is perplexing that they remain almost totally invisible in histories of French culture. Women Art Critics in Nineteenth-Century France: Vanishing Acts is the first sustained effort to bring these prolific and influential critics out from the shadows. Although each of the chapters in this volume results from an interdisciplinary approach, the fact that they are written by scholars in art history and in literature means that there will be inevitable differences in approach and methodology. Thus, we study the women's reception of specific artworks and aesthetic movements, discuss intersections of aesthetics and politics in their essays and the literary styles and rhetorical strategies of individual critics, explore the social conditions that allowed or impeded their successes, and suggest reasons for their all but disappearance in the twentieth century. In bringing to light for twenty-first-century readers the "vanished" writings of heretofore unrecognized or underrecognized women art critics, the authors hope to contribute to the ongoing revision of women's role in cultural history. The multifaceted approaches to word/image studies modeled in this book, and the many avenues for further research it identifies, will inspire scholars in a number of disciplines to continue the work of reinscribing women in the history of cultural life.
List of Illustrations Preface - Wendelin Guentner Women Writing Art Reappearing Acts Introduction - Wendelin Guentner The Ideology of the Two Spheres The Education of Girls The Menace of the Bas-Bleus The Salon and Its Art Critics The Golden Age of Art Criticism: Society, Economics, and Culture Art Criticism as a Literary Genre: Denis Diderot The Literary Craft of Art Criticism Chapter 1 - Heather Belnap Jensen "'C.W. . . . academicienne': Caroline Wuiet and the Emergence of the Woman Art Critic in Postrevolutionary France" Wuiet and Authorial Voice What a Woman Wants: Female Spectatorship Chapter 2 - Heather Belnap Jensen Amelie-Julie Candeille's Critical Enterprise and the Creation of "Girodet" Epistolary Art Criticism in Women's Writings Candeille as Corresponding Critic Managing Girodet Fashioning Girodet en publique Chapter 3 - Veronique Chagnon-Burke Women Art Critics during the July Monarchy (1830-1848) Art Criticism and the Paris Salon Women Art Critics and the Parisian Cultural World Women as Spectators Beyond Gender: Issues of Class and Education Further Questions Chapter 4 - Veronique Chagnon-Burke "A Career True to Woman's Nature": Constructing the Woman Artist in France's Midcentury Feminine Press Women Artists: Class and Education The Mission of Women Art Critics The British Connection Gender or Class? The Gender of Genius and the Artistic Genres Women Art Critics and the (Limited) Contours of an Artistic Vision Chapter 5 - Wendelin Guentner Claude Vignon's Salon de 1850-51: Dialogues of Art and Ideology The Art Critic and Her Readers Historical Context and Political Ideologies Spiritual Ideologies The Author behind the Critic Chapter 6 - Wendelin Guentner "Dieu! une plume de femme!": Mathilde Stevens's Impressions d'une femme au Salon de 1859 A Rhetoric of Sincerity To Feel or to Think: That Is the Question Playing Favorites: Critics, and Artists at the 1859 Salon A Voice of Her Own Chapter 7 - Wendelin Guentner "Marc" de Montifaud: The "esprit critique" of an esprit fort Envisioning History Painting Genre Painting: History Writ Small Portraits of Degeneration The Subjective Landscape Corot, Pagan Poet Chapter 8 - Veronique Chagnon-Burke "Tel pere, telle fille": Judith Gautier, Artist, Writer, and Art Critic Judith Gautier, Artist, and the French Art World Judith Gautier, Author, and the Far East Judith Gautier, Art Critic Conclusion - Wendelin Guentner The Ideology of the Two Spheres, Revisited Vanishing Genre? Vanishing Gender? Final Act Encores Appendices:Biographical Sketches Appendix 1 - Amelie-Julie Candeille - Heather Belnap Jensen Appendix 2 - Judith Gautier - Veronique Chagnon-Burke Appendix 3 - Marc de Montifaud - Wendelin Guentner Appendix 4 - Mathilde Stevens - Wendelin Guentner Appendix 5 - Claude Vignon - Wendelin Guentner Appendix 6 - Caroline Wuiet - Heather Belnap Jensen Appendix 7 - Biographical Intersections - Wendelin Guentner