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Nineteenth-century Frames

The Reversed Canvas: A Topos of Conflict Between Commercial and Aesthetic Values in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London

La toile retournée : Un topos du conflit entre valeurs commerciales et esthétiques à Paris et à Londres au XIXe siècle
Richard Read

Résumés

Ce chapitre traite de la double valence des valeurs commerciales et esthétiques dans les tableaux retournés représentés dans les peintures et les caricatures françaises et britanniques des jurys académiques du dix-neuvième siècle. Ce n’est pas l’arrière des toiles à proprement parler qui m’intéresse, mais leur représentation sur des tableaux réels, dont l'exemple le plus connu est probablement l'immense dos de toile de Las Meninas (1656) de Diego Velázquez. De même, ce n’est pas le cadre lui-même, mais les cadres intra-compositionnels des tableaux (que j'appelle parfois versos ou « dos ») représentés dans l'image qui sont l’objet de cette étude. Bien que le topos du tableau retourné invite à prendre conscience que la toile que nous regardons possède un cadre (que nous pouvons voir) et un verso (que nous ne pouvons pas voir), je montrerai comment, en particulier lorsque le tableau est représenté en mouvement dans un cadre extérieur, la toile retournée intégrée dans l'illusion peut nous alerter sur des « cadres étendus » ou « secondaires » bien en dehors de son cadre propre, tels que l'atelier où le tableau a été réalisé, la galerie où il sera exposé ou la salle du jury d'où il a été exclu. À cet égard, les significations commerciales et esthétiques associées au motif fusionnent, s'entremêlent et se définissent mutuellement d'une manière qui éclaire les affrontements polémiques de valeur dans et entre les lieux d’exposition à Londres et à Paris au dix-neuvième siècle.

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  • 1 For broader discussions of the historical background and theoretical meaning of the topos, see Read (...)

1Several decades ago, I was asked to carry a framed lithograph by Paul Cézanne wrapped only in clear plastic on public transport from London to Reading in the United Kingdom. On the train I could not resist the temptation to reverse the painting and show its hidden front to the rest of the carriage, but of course no one paid the slightest attention. Nevertheless, this changed my sense of what a painting is. Thenceforth, it became a portable commodity with two very different faces, the recto or frontal side where the religious or aesthetic value of the painting is “switched on,” and the verso where the recto is “switched off” during periods of manufacture, transit, or storage when paintings cease their customary role of exposure within special places of display (Kryzysztof 1990, 9, 25, 26). But if paintings can be “switched off” in one sense then they can be “switched on” in another, as commodities on adventurous commercial journeys out from studios into and out of collections. This chapter concerns the double valency of commercial and aesthetic values in reversed paintings depicted in nineteenth-century French and British paintings and cartoons of academic juries. My concern is not with actual backs of paintings, but with representations of them on the rectos of actual paintings, of which the best-known example is probably the huge canvas back in Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656). Likewise, my concern is not with the frame itself, but with intra-compositional frames of paintings (which I sometimes call versos or “backs”) depicted on the picture plane. Though the topos makes us aware that the painting we are looking at has a frame (which we can see) and a verso (which we cannot), I shall show how, especially when depicted on the move in outdoor settings, the reversed canvas embedded in the illusion may alert us to “extended” or “secondary frames” well outside its enframed setting, such as the studio where the painting was made or the gallery it will hang in or the jury room from which it has been rejected. In this respect the commercial and aesthetic meanings richly associated with the topos merge, intermingle and define each other in ways that illuminate polemical clashes of value in and between places of display in nineteenth-century London and Paris.1

1

  • 2 See Henri Rousseau. Liberty Inviting Artists to Take Part in the 22nd Exhibition of the Société des (...)

2Henri Rousseau’s Liberty Inviting Artists to Take Part in the 22nd Exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants (1905–06) contains more backs of paintings than any other painting I know.2 Why are they necessary for Rousseau to celebrate the democratic principles of the juryless Société des Artistes Indépendants following on from the Group des Artistes Indépendants in 1884 as an alternative to the conservative official Salon that lost its government sponsorship in 1881? In what follows, I shall explore the potent traditions from which Rousseau’s superfluity of versos draws its meaning and importance.

3Though Rousseau’s Liberty is positioned “exclusively in the secular realm,” Götz Adriani explains that it nevertheless celebrated the arts as a substitute religion under the Gloria in Excelsis on the pattern of an “outdoor altarpiece.” The exhibition building decorated with flags and the lines of approaching artists form an appropriate framework for a representation with exceedingly ceremonial, indeed liturgical features. A row of expectant figures flanks the Via Triumphalis leading to the remote inner sanctum, the radiantly lit hall of fame of the arts. The Palais de Horticulture is wide open, and all the hopeful – prominent and less prominent – are streaming in (Adriani 2001, 192). Quite apart from the uniformity of the artists’ clothing, the sheer number of reversed paintings force upon the Indépendants “an equality of status” (25) that “may be taken as an expression of the democratic structure of an assembly of geniuses” (26). Rousseau’s backs are fungible, because like bank notes or coins they are mutually interchangeable, whereas the highly differentiated imagery on rectos prevents them from being homogenized in the same way.

4Meanwhile the carts stacked with paintings are harbingers of wealth that emphatically reverse the economic misfortune represented in a well-established eighteenth- and nineteenth-century genre of processional painting plaintively illustrated by Julien-Léopold Boilly and Étienne Jeaurat, where truly worthless backs of paintings are switched off on their journeys with other meagre household chattels on Moving Days when the poor absconded from their old lodgings to avoid quarterly rent. Boilly’s The Movings (1822) includes the anomalous relocation of the Roman pilgrim church of Santa Maria del Popolo to Paris.3 By reminding the rentier class that anyone may fall on hard times and that everyone is on a pilgrimage ending in a funeral, the church is a memento mori designed to worry bourgeois viewers about their own financial security while soothing their concerns about the poor whose ultimate fate is the same as theirs (Siegfried 1995, 9).

  • 4 See, respectively, Henri Daumier. Marche triomphale!.....,lithograph, Le Charivari, Daumier Registe (...)
  • 5 Alex Djorjevic et al. (DR 2664 n.d.) partially identify the divided trademark beard of the figure w (...)

5Backs of paintings depicted in streets evoke the economic drawing power of the seemingly disinterested institutions of display that set them in motion. The frame within the frame activates the viewer’s awareness of an extended institutional frame outside the frame whose existence is both literal and metaphorical. In 1853 Honoré Daumier chose the streets as the best setting to dramatize the opposite to Rousseau’s celebration, namely, the dire financial consequences of failing the jury examination at the Official French Salon that the Salon des Indépendants would replace. His Marche triomphale!... and Marche Funèbre!!.. are companion pieces published in Le Charivari a few days apart from each other in a series devoted to “L’Exposition Universelle,”4 a Super Salon at the Paris World Exhibition of 1855, which took the place of the usual Salon. The life of painting is being switched on in one scene then off in the next. Together they chart the ritual journey of an Amateur to and from his Calvary at the Official Salon, where “once an artist was rejected […] by a conservative jury, he had most likely no chance to succeed commercially” (Noack n.d.). The juxtaposition involves military as much as religious ritual. The first engraving shows the artist leading his servants towards the viewer. They toil under the weight of paintings hauled like ammunition to the battlefield. The General’s elated expression, phallically erect, waxed moustache ends, buoyant gait and the wing-like smaller pictures beneath his arms identify him as “a comical would-be Icarus inspired by the victory goddess Victoria (Nike)” and indicate his expectation of transcendent military glory,5 while the crowds bearing witness to the impending triumph of reversed canvases carried through the harrowingly empty street (or perhaps, rather, across a path in a public park) exist only in his mind, for the only witnesses to this procession apart from us are a few wintery trees that signify the state of nature from which wooden stretcher backs are fashioned and which art is supposed to transcend.

  • 6 Respectively, 14 and 11 April 1855. Despite its earlier publication date, I call Marche Funèbre the (...)
  • 7 They differ only partially. Alex Djorjevic et al. (DR 2665 n.d.) point out that: “Many an artist wa (...)

6In the second picture rejection has disarmed the canvases’ explosive life. They are transformed into worthless corpses, each inscribed with the adjective “refusé,” and borne away from the battlefield by stretcher-bearers who join their master’s mourning because their livelihoods are dashed too. Granted, the cartoons were published on different days,6 but slight differences, including the now detumescent moustache, underline the sense that although victims may differ,7 the ritual never changes. Crucially, our eye-line has risen above the figures, formerly seen from below. This makes us complicit with the negative verdict, but since even trees no longer witness the scene, it is more likely that the lowered angle dramatizes the mourners’ own sense of going down in the world. The pairing is a permutation of an earlier topos of French cartoons and popular theatre in which “the inglorious artist as a member of the labouring and dangerous classes […] is constructed against the image of the artist as genius” (Desplanque 2018, 205‑06).

  • 8 See Rembrandt van Rijn. The Artist in his Studio, oil on canvas, 1628, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ar (...)
  • 9 See Henri Daumier. The Artist in his Studio, drawing on paper, Daumier Register, no. 10367, 1863-67 (...)

7In perpetuating the Platonic inspiration of the solitary artist evoked by Rembrandt in his Artist in his Studio,8 Daumier’s drawing of the same title of 1878 seems to stand at the furthest extreme from the gutter humiliations of the official Salon.9 Freed from all distraction by the austerity of his setting in a kind of prison cell barred against the world, and as yet untrammelled by the practical instruments of palette and brush as he births his pictorial idea ex nihilo, this lonely colossus seems to dwarf the creative autonomy of Rembrandt’s daunted and diminutive artist figure, but the contemplative artist subtly responds to the exigencies of market pressures as he works on an academy painting that, as we see from the size of its verso, has commercially viable proportions smaller than the history painting whose recto is exposed behind him. Patricia Mainardi explains the general point:

Seeing the reformed Salon as encouraging small marketable easel pictures, hastily produced for a growing bourgeois market, Academicians complained incessantly about a deterioration in quality and lobbied constantly for a return to a small, infrequent show with a “severe” choice of works of unquestioned value. (Mainardi 1993, 17)

8In the grip of creative genius, Daumier’s artist is nevertheless aiming for a sale. Even in the most isolated studio the reversed painting carries subtle clues as to its likely destiny and destination in the outside world beyond its immediate setting and actual frame.

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9In paintings of both commercial and academic settings, the reversed canvas powerfully illuminates the necessity of concealing the economic objectives of supposedly disinterested cultural institutions that professed “a theoretical disdain for monetary considerations” (Siegel and Mattick 2004, 18) or what Pierre Bourdieu has called an “interest in disinterestedness” (Bourdieu 1993, 39) even as it draws attention to its own material status as on object painted on another object with the same function and capacity for transportation, because in a visual representation the physical properties of paintings could always be emphasized in a way that questions the human values communicated by or projected onto them.

10By the mid-nineteenth century the newly professionalized art markets began to wrest both cultural authority and financial power away from public institutions such as the Royal Academy in London, though in Paris it “was artists, not dealers, who proved to be the true entrepreneurs of an emerging Salons system” alternative to the official Salon (Galenson and Jensen 2002, 26) since dealers “played their role only after talented painters had created the new art, and sophisticated critics had analyzed it” (44). Despite these differences of institutional organization, it was during this period that an exchange of pictorial ideas about the commercialization of art took place in satirical or celebratory cartoons published in the popular presses of both countries according to a gradient of value enshrined in the word “cartoon” itself.

11In England the contest culminated in the Grosvenor Gallery’s policy of capitalizing, in all senses of the word, upon the triumphant success of artists rejected by the Royal Academy. Originally a force for social change under the editorship of the dramatist and journalist Mark Lemon, Punch, or the London Charivari was responsible in the early 1840s for changing the meaning of the term “cartoon” from a high art designation for a preparatory sketch of a mural painting to a political satire (Allingham, n.d.). A welter of cartoons in Punch, or the London Charivari took their lead from Daumier in the Parisian namesake Le Charivari by using backs of paintings to develop a veritable obsession with the politics of what Bourdieu called secondary consecration, the process by which works of art acquire new life and meaning as commodities “consecrated” by “secondary creators” such as dealers, auctioneers, curators and jurors at secondary points of distribution and consumption – sometimes called “‘extended frames” in the context of contemporary art (Geraghty 2008, 225–63) – beyond the studio where art first gains its meaning (Bourdieu 1993, 77–78).

  • 10 See Linley Sambourne. In the Art-Lists in Punch, or the London Charivari, engraving, Punch 1841-199 (...)

12Linley Sambourne’s cartoon In the Art-Lists of 1878 aims at the incursion of the Grosvenor Gallery on the wealth and authority of the Royal Academy.10 The caption In the Art-lists puns on medieval jousting contests and exhibition catalogues. The cartoon shows reversed canvases by named artists miniaturized as flanchards protecting the flanks of horses whose riders personify the larger institutional battle. Marking the establishment of the Grosvenor Gallery as a serious rival to the Royal Academy in the previous year, the knight on our side of the fence is the Royal Academy president of the day, Sir Francis Grant. His opponent on the other side is Sir Lindsay Coutts “of Balcarres” (as his pennant proclaims) who founded the Grosvenor Gallery with his wife Blanche, a Rothschild of enormous wealth. Answering to the Royal Academy motto of “Ingenium et Labor” (“Reason and Hard Work”) on a label hanging from the bridle of the President’s horse is “Rescue Oppressed Art” on Sir Lindsay’s shield. It attests to his policy of supporting artists snubbed by the Academy, an endeavour in which the symbol of a hand releasing a handkerchief above the motto on the shield may signify his wife’s financial patronage. The token of his baronetcy on the pennant, the cigar stuffed through his visor and the revelation punched on his helmet that his suit of armour – presumably the gallery cost him one hundred and thirty thousand pounds, mark him out as a privileged arriviste, whose championship of the oppressed lacks credibility. That Sir Francis’s lance doubles as a maulstick, an active instrument of art, and that his reversed canvases are signed by revered artists, when Sir Lindsay’s cannot be seen, suggests the cartoonist’s partiality towards the President in responding to the gauntlet thrown down before his horse. A painting of cackling geese that hangs on the partition fence, however – unless it stands for the press – deflates the gallantry and courage attributable to either party.

  • 11 See Charles West Cope. The Council of the Royal Academy Selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875(...)
  • 12 E.g., Mary Emily Osborne. Nameless and Friendless. Oil on canvas, Tate, 1857, www.tate.org.uk/art/a (...)

13One of the signatures on the reversed canvases attached to Sir Lindsay’s horse is C. W. Cope, who had painted The Council of the Royal Academy Selecting Pictures for the Exhibition two years earlier.11 The painting takes its place in what appears to be a dialectic progression between several English paintings all featuring backs of paintings and all sounding different attitudes towards the commercialization of art.12 Cope’s painting appears to defend the Royal Academy from the accusation that it was either a covert business enterprise or a monopoly in the hands of a reactionary elite whose power undermined reputations more reliably secured by the competitive open market (Trodd 1992). Cope enhances the dignity of the Council by extending the appreciation of paintings to porters who carry them before its sovereign gaze. This was at a time when “Industrial workers […] were often referred to as “hands,” a metonymy which […] erased all but the most essential working parts of the body” (Barringer 1999, 151). Cope includes himself, standing with a bald head at the back of the group behind another standing juror, while before him Sir Francis Grant, holding a gavel, sits in the President’s chair (Hutchinson 1986, 146; Lambourne 1999, 33). Certainly, the porters in the far-left background use their brawn to shuttle paintings in and out of storage and in the middle distance to “switch” them on and off, so to speak, before the jury, but the jury’s unstinting labour grants porters enough leisure at centre right to chat about paintings in transit that we the viewers as yet see only from behind. Meanwhile, other labourers crowded behind the pious Madonna and Child presently under consideration take the opportunity of listening to the deliberations of their superiors while awaiting the command to replace it with the next painting. Their opportunity to look and listen, it is implied, constitutes an exciting privilege compared to the burden of conscientious duty that falls on the jurors who are qualified, through training, achievement, and independence of mind, to reach an impartial decision on the non-commercial value of what has been carried before them. We are asked to witness a symbiotically cooperative and mutually respectful microcosm of British art lovers from whom the total eradication of social tension is a bit too good to be true, though the painting also furnishes a symbolic preview of the trickle-down effect of cultural value to the nation at large whose interests the Academy claimed to represent.

  • 13 See Anon. “The Parliament of Art.” Punch, column with lithograph, Punch 1841-1992, 28 April 1860, a (...)
  • 14 See S. C. Swain. Doubtful. In Punch, or the London Charivari, lithograph, Punch 1841-1992, 5 May 18 (...)

14Already in 1860, a column in Punch called “The Parliament of Art” featuring an artist with frazzled hair behind a canvas prepares a theme in which backs of paintings before juries stand in for legislation before Parliament.13 It culminates in Doubtful. by S. C. Swain (1883), which refers to the slim chances of success for the Municipality Reform bill of that year. The caption reads: “President of Council: ‘“MUNICIPALITY REFORM” – AH! GOOD SUBJECT! YES – WE’LL PLACE IT – IF WE CAN FIND ROOM FOR IT!!!’”14 Once again porters represent the people, in this case the gentle giant who is patiently holding up the painting before a panel of jurors also, by symbolic implication, upholds the democratic process run by his superiors to flout legislation he would stand to gain by if it passed.

3

  • 15 See Alfred le Petit. On n’entre pas in Le Grelot, lithograph, Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Pa (...)

15If British images of academic juries highlight the aristocratic privilege corrupting supposedly democratic parliaments, we should not be surprised that their French equivalents satirize fear of revolutionary anarchy. By 1872 the radical Republican caricaturist Alfred le Petit represents the Realist artist Gustave Courbet in the popular press under the caption “On n’entre pas!” (“You can’t come in!”)15 As Courbet himself had written in a letter of 1847 after the refusal of all his paintings to the Salon of that year:

It is bias on the part of the gentlemen of the jury: they refuse all those who do not belong to their school, except for one or two, against whom they can no longer fight, such as MM. Delacroix, Decamps, Diaz, but all those who are not as well known by the public are sent away without a word. That does not bother me in the least, from the point of view of their judgment, but to make a name for oneself one must exhibit, and, unfortunately, that is the only exhibition there is. (Courbet 1992, 70)

16Here he is depicted as a socialist force of nature battering on the closed doors of the establishment art world with an inconceivable future beneath his arm. On the wall inside hangs a painting of a donkey being beaten suggesting the obstinacy of the reactionaries who resist him.

17Henri Gervex, by contrast, paints the collapse of the dysfunctional jury system from within. With its reversed canvas in the bottom right hand corner, the chief subject of A Session of the Painting Jury (1885) dramatizes a different version of the social tensions that Cope had elided in his painting of the Royal Academy jury six years earlier.16 Successfully presented to the official Salon in 1885, A Painting Jury represents a meeting of the painting jury of the Académie des Beaux-Arts to decide on entries for the official Salon of 1883 and crystallized dissatisfaction with the jury system of the Official Salon a year after the Société des Artistes Indépendants had ditched it for its own exhibitions under the rubric of “Sans jury ni récompense” (“No jury nor awards”) in 1884. As in Britain, the controversy was long standing. Once the French Academy had lost its monopoly over the Salon, French conservatives complained that the capitalist and democratic tendencies of the independent artists whose work was now included had turned its public exhibition spaces into a “bazaar” or “picture shop” (Mainardi 1993, 23, 27), while progressives, on the other hand, much as in Britain, saw the jury system as a bastion of repressive academic bias.

18The huge, reversed canvas in the right-hand corner of Gervex’s painting conveys something of both oppositional stances. The white-coated porter leaning on it is seen only from behind and is cropped by the edge of the actual painting. Nevertheless, his tedium and fatigue are palpable. He is waiting for a passage to haul the next painting through the bristling phallic canes and umbrellas thrust aloft by the indecorously quarrelling jurors whose focus on the portrait of an academic female nude is hardly coincidental, especially if we recall the Madonna and Child piously appraised by Cope’s jurors. Contemporaries observed that no fair verdict could be reached in these cacophonous circumstances. Since Gervex represents himself as a jury member aloof from his colleagues through an archway at the bottom of the room facing back towards the spectator absorbed in attending to what looks like a list, the painting would have held a mirror to the actual jurors who accepted it for the Salon. Gervex was in the difficult position of critiquing a situation in which he was complicit both as a former jury member and an artist who had been rejected from the Salon, but the painting’s complicity in the partiality it seeks to critique is mitigated, firstly, by the distance at which he represents himself at the bottom of the hall as mere bystander to the riotous deliberations of his colleagues, then, secondly, by the way in which the mannerist imbalance of his composition accentuates the accidental conjunction of the incongruously prominent scarlet chair back at the centre and the fawn stretcher back on the right. These inanimate objects not only ignite the painting’s ravishing colour chords but also act as repoussoirs that establish perspectival stability for the empty existential space that sidelines the human interest of the quarrelling jurors. But to displace conflict into disinterested aesthetic effects hardly abolishes it. We feel that Gervex would have been unfazed by Bourdieu’s dictum that “Nothing better conceals the objective collusion which is the matrix of specifically artistic value than the conflicts through which it operates” (Bourdieu 1993, 80). Teetering on the brink of the transformation to which Rousseau felt he owed his salvation in Liberty Inviting Artists twenty years later, Gervex, like most of the artists I have discussed, is a secondary creator of his own complex position in the system he is questioning, eloquently exhibiting a state of reflexive awareness of which the fictional reversed canvas within the actual frame had become a habitually useful marker of broader social ambivalence between commercial and aesthetic values.

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Adriani, Götz. Henri Rousseau. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001.

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Read, Richard. “‘I must take this’: reason, madness and reversal in Goya’s works.” Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum. Ed. Petra Kayser. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria; Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2021. 282–295.

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Notes

1 For broader discussions of the historical background and theoretical meaning of the topos, see Read 2009, and 2021. See also my forthcoming book The Reversed Painting in Western Culture.

2 See Henri Rousseau. Liberty Inviting Artists to Take Part in the 22nd Exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, oil on canvas. 1905-06. wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Henri_Rousseau_Liberty_Inviting_Artists_to_Take_Part_in_the_22nd_Exhibition_of_the_Societe_des_Artistes_Independants.jpg. All weblinks in this article were last accessed 18 Septembre 2023.

3 See Lous-Léopold Boilly. The Movings, oil on canvas. Art Institute Chicago, 1822 (https://www.artic.edu/artworks/97681/the-movings). For Étienne Jeaurat’s painting on the same theme, see The painter moving out: a street, with a painter sitting in a cart loaded with artist’s materials and drawn by three young men, engraved by Claude Augustin Duflos. British Museum, 1757 (www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1895-0718-4). For commentary, see Levitine 1978, 11.

4 See, respectively, Henri Daumier. Marche triomphale!.....,lithograph, Le Charivari, Daumier Register, no. 2664, 14 April 1855, www.daumier-register.org/werkview.php?key=2664 ; Marche Funébre!!.., Le Charivari, Daumier Register, no. 2665, 4 April 1855, www.daumier-register.org/werkview.php?key=2665.

5 Alex Djorjevic et al. (DR 2664 n.d.) partially identify the divided trademark beard of the figure with the painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, though at the time of publication no one assumed he would be successful.

6 Respectively, 14 and 11 April 1855. Despite its earlier publication date, I call Marche Funèbre the second image because Alex Djorjevic et al. (DR 2665 n.d.) point out that the actual order is “illogical,” explaining that one “might assume that Daumier had received the two lithographic stones in advance, probably at the same time.”

7 They differ only partially. Alex Djorjevic et al. (DR 2665 n.d.) point out that: “Many an artist was, like in this image, rejected. It is clear that Daumier shows both in DR 2664 and DR 2665 the same artist. This was his method to establish a thematic link between the two lithographs. A hint to the successful painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (1815 - 1891) makes sense only in the Triumphal March (DR 2664). It would have been absurd to make him the leading character for the Funeral March. For this reason, he represented the disappointed, conceited artist in DR 2664 from behind, showing only his drooping moustache.”

8 See Rembrandt van Rijn. The Artist in his Studio, oil on canvas, 1628, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Artist_in_his_Studio.

9 See Henri Daumier. The Artist in his Studio, drawing on paper, Daumier Register, no. 10367, 1863-67, www.daumier-register.org/werkview.php?key=10367.

10 See Linley Sambourne. In the Art-Lists in Punch, or the London Charivari, engraving, Punch 1841-1992, 11 May 1878, archive.org/details/sim_punch_1878_74/page/206/mode/2up?view=theater.

11 See Charles West Cope. The Council of the Royal Academy Selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875, oil on canvas, Royal Academy Collection, 1876, www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/the-council-of-the-royal-academy-selecting-pictures-for-the-exhibition-1875/.

12 E.g., Mary Emily Osborne. Nameless and Friendless. Oil on canvas, Tate, 1857, www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/emily-mary-osborn-12441; Thomas P. Hall. One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin, oil on canvas, Sotheby’s, 1867, www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2021/european-british-art-2/one-touch-of-nature-makes-the-whole-world-kin; Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. A Picture Gallery in Rome, oil on canvas, Cutler & Miles Fine Art Gallery, 1874, www.cutlermiles.com/a-picture-gallery-in-rome-by-sir-lawrence-alma-tadema/. I intend to elaborate on this pictorial dialectic in a forthcoming book Intra-Extra-Recto-Verso: The Reversed Canvas in Western Art / The Reversed Painting in Western Culture.

13 See Anon. “The Parliament of Art.” Punch, column with lithograph, Punch 1841-1992, 28 April 1860, archive.org/details/punch186000lemouoft/page/n191/mode/2up.

14 See S. C. Swain. Doubtful. In Punch, or the London Charivari, lithograph, Punch 1841-1992, 5 May 1883, archive.org/details/sim_punch_1883_84/page/211/mode/1up?view=theater.

15 See Alfred le Petit. On n’entre pas in Le Grelot, lithograph, Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, 22 April 1872, www.photo.rmn.fr/archive/12-565781-2C6NU022IPXK.html.

16 See Henri Gervex. A Session of the Painting Jury, oil on canvas, 1885, upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Henri_Gervex_-_A_Session_of_the_Painting_Jury_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg. The following discussion draws on J. C. Pralong-Gourvennec (1992, 141-143).

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Richard Read, « The Reversed Canvas: A Topos of Conflict Between Commercial and Aesthetic Values in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London »Sillages critiques [En ligne], 35 | 2023, mis en ligne le 14 novembre 2023, consulté le 25 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/sillagescritiques/15019 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/sillagescritiques.15019

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Auteur

Richard Read

University of Western Australia

Richard Read is Emeritus Professor and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Perth. He wrote the first book on the British art critic Adrian Stokes and has published extensively on the relationship between literature and the visual arts, the history of art criticism and theory, nineteenth and twentieth-century visual arts, and complex images in global contexts. His anthology of essays on Colonization, Wilderness and Other Spaces: Nineteenth-Century American and Australian Landscape Painting, co-edited with Kenneth Haltman was published in 2020 by the Terra Foundation for American Art and his Sensory Perception, History and Geology: The Aftermath of Molyneux's Question was published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. He has lectured extensively in Australia and internationally, particularly on his book project, Intra-Extra-Recto Verso: the Reversed Canvas in Western Art, which was funded by a national grant.

Richard Read est professeur émérite et Senior Honorary Research Fellow à l’Université d’Australie occidentale, à Perth. Il a écrit le premier livre consacré au critique d'art britannique Adrian Stokes et a publié de nombreux ouvrages sur la relation entre la littérature et les arts visuels, l’histoire de la critique et de la théorie de l'art, les arts visuels du dix-neuvième et du vingtième siècle et les images complexes dans un contexte mondialisé. Son anthologie d’essais intitulée Colonization, Wilderness and Other Spaces: Nineteenth-Century American and Australian Landscape Painting, co-éditée avec Kenneth Haltman, a été publiée en 2020 par la Terra Foundation for American Art. Son ouvrage Sensory Perception, History and Geology: The Aftermath of Molyneux's Question a été publié par Cambridge University Press en 2022. Il a donné de nombreuses conférences en Australie et à l'étranger, en particulier sur son projet de livre intitulé « Intra-Extra-Recto Verso : the Reversed Canvas in Western Art », qui a été financé par une subvention nationale.

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