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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


8 May 2019
17:00 - 18:00
Marnixzaal, Utrechts Centrum voor de Kunsten (UCK), Dom Square 4, Utrecht

TECHNICAL ART HISTORY COLLOQUIUM: The Politics and Materiality of Expertise, 8 May, Utrecht

Presentation: Prof. dr. Noémie Étienne, University of Bern
Chair: Dr. Jenny Boulboullé, Utrecht University
Registration: Through an email to
j.briggeman@uu.nl before 4 May
Download the full invitation HERE

This public lecture is part of the international conference ‘The Making of Art Expertise: Changing Practices of Art History & Conservation, 1850–1950’, to be held May 8-10 in Utrecht and Amsterdam. More information: https://artechne.wp.hum.uu.nl/artechne-conference-2019-the-making-of-art-expertise-changing-practices-of-art-history-conservation-1850-1950/

Conservation, Connoisseurship, and Conflict:  The Politics and Materiality of Expertise
Prof. dr. Noémie Étienne, University of Bern

Art historical knowledge, institutional agendas, economics, and politics intersect with art conservation practices. Such entanglements are most often visible when conflicts arise, inviting the different actors to explicitly formulate positions that otherwise would remain tacit. Taking into account different historical cases, this talk aims to unpack the way expertise is produced during conservation treatment. First and foremost, Étienne will discuss how the boundaries of different disciplines such as connoisseurship, sales, and restoration were negotiated in a particular context: the opening of the Louvre museum in Paris in 1793. Indeed, the inauguration of one of the first European museums created conflicts, and generated discussions about claims of expertise and authority among all the involved actors. As Étienne will show, artists and connoisseurs advocated at this particular moment to distinguish themselves from restorers and art dealers and claimed their own positions in the new institution.

Noémie Étienne is SNSF Professor at the University of Bern and a specialist in early modern art and material culture. She is currently leading a research project on the exotic in Europe between 1600 and 1800. She is a specialist in conservation history and theory. Her first book, entitled “The Restoration of Paintings in Paris (1750-1815)“ was published in 2012 by the Presses Universitaires de Rennes, and was translated into English by Getty Publications in 2017. She also studied dioramas as a transcultural and transhistorical media. Her forthcoming book is entitled: “Others and Ancestors. The Dioramas by Franz Boas and Arthur Parker in New York, 1900,” Getty Research Institute/Presses du réel (2020). Recently, she has been awarded a Guest Fellowship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (2019), a Guest Professorship at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2018), and a Guest Lectureship at the University of Bielefeld (2018-2019).



The Technical Art History Colloquia are organised by Sven Dupré (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, PI ERC ARTECHNE), Arjan de Koomen (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History), Abbie Vandivere (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History & Paintings Conservator, Mauritshuis, The Hague), Erma Hermens (University of Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum) and Ann-Sophie Lehmann (University of Groningen). The Technical Art History Colloquia are a cooperation of the ARTECHNE Project (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam), the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS), the University of Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis. The ARTECHNE project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 648718).