Although he was born and possibly taught in Dijon, Alphonse Legros spent most of his life in Britain where he was appointed professor at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1876. Legros held the position until 1893, introducing etching and, later, sculpture to the syllabus. In 1880, he was one of the six founding members of the Society of Painter-Etchers which was to play an influential role in the late Victorian revival of printing. He was also instrumental in the modern revival of the cast portrait medal. When he died in 1911, Legros was a British citizen and a distinguished artist. The Tate Gallery organized the largest-ever retrospective of his works. However Legros did not forget France, nor did France forget him: a one-man show was held at Samuel Bing’s L’Art Nouveau gallery in 1898, and a large retrospective exhibition was curated by Léonce Bénédite at the Musée du Luxembourg in 1900. In Dijon, the Musée des Beaux-Arts set up an exhibition in 1987 and recent smaller events in France testify to an enduring interest for this transnational and transmedia artist.
The conference organized at the University of Burgundy (Dijon) in May 2017 by the Centre Interlangues (Texte-Image-Langage) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts will revisit Legros’s work and role as well as his legacy and reception in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will welcome Elizabeth Prettejohn (York University) and Stephen Bann (University of Bristol) as guest speakers.
We invite art historians, specialists of Victorian visual culture and aesthetics, curators, collectors and art school teachers to send proposals that explore the following themes in this non exhaustive list:
• Legros and the visual culture of his time in relation to Aestheticism, pre-Modernist aesthetics and the revival of the graphic arts;
• Legros, a multi-media artist with an experimental legacy: techniques (etching, lithography, painting, drawing, medal making) and transmediality;
• Legros in France: the ‘Société des Trois’; the creation of the Société des Aquafortistes, and its first portfolio in 1862; Legros’s later career in France;
• Legros and illustration: his own illustrations (to Edgar Poe’s stories for instance); his influence on contemporary illustrators;
• Legros and British artists: acquaintanceships, avant-garde, networks of sociability and influence (D. G. Rossetti and F. Watts for instance);
• Art school teaching: Legros’s teaching method and influence as professor of etching at the South Kensington School of Art and as Slade Professor; changes to the curriculum, Legros in the history of the teaching of fine arts and draughtsmanship;
• Legros’s influence on younger artists (H. S. Tuke, Charles Furse, and William Strang, Philip Rothenstein, Charles Shannon, Augustus John);
• France and England: cross-fertilisation and artistic transfers, recognition and/or neglect;
• The history of the reception of his work: connoisseurship, tradition and transmission; building up collections in the UK and in the US; Legros on the contemporary market both in Britain and in France.
Please send a 300-word abstract and a short biography before 1st January 2017 to:
Bénédicte Coste: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bertrand Tillier: email@example.com