Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226593869 Published May 2019
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Illuminated Paris

Essays on Art and Lighting in the Belle Époque

Hollis Clayson

Illuminated Paris

Hollis Clayson

320 pages | 75 color plates, 32 halftones | 8 1/2 x 10 | © 2019
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226593869 Published May 2019
E-book $10.00 to $55.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226594057 Will Publish May 2019
The City of Light. For many, these four words instantly conjure late nineteenth-century Paris and the garish colors of Toulouse-Lautrec’s iconic posters. More recently, the Eiffel Tower’s nightly show of sparkling electric lights has come to exemplify our fantasies of Parisian nightlife. Though we reflect longingly on such scenes, in Illuminated Paris, Hollis Clayson shows that there’s more to these clichés than meets the eye. In this richly illustrated book, she traces the dramatic evolution of lighting in Paris and how artists responded to the shifting visual and cultural scenes that resulted from these technologies. While older gas lighting produced a haze of orange, new electric lighting was hardly an improvement: the glare of experimental arc lights—themselves dangerous—left figures looking pale and ghoulish. As Clayson shows, artists’ representations of these new colors and shapes reveal turn-of-the-century concerns about modernization as electric lighting came to represent the harsh glare of rapidly accelerating social change. At the same time, in part thanks to American artists visiting the city, these works of art also produced our enduring romantic view of Parisian glamour and its Belle Époque.
 
Contents
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Paris, City of Éclairage

1          Cherchez la lampe: Charles Marville, Gustave Caillebotte, and the Gas Lamppost
2          Losing the Moon: John Singer Sargent in the Jardin du Luxembourg
3          Bright Lights, Brilliant Wit: Electric Light Caricatured
4          Night Lights on Paper: Illumination in the Prints of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas
5          Outsider Nocturnes: Americans in Paris
6          Man at the Window: Edvard Munch in Saint-Cloud

Conclusion: Art Fueled by Lights

Notes
Index
 
Review Quotes
Martha Ward, University of Chicago
“In this ground-breaking book, Clayson persuasively reads a series of paintings and prints at the intersection of new lighting technologies, urban life and modernist sensibilities.  Along the way she explores a wide range of reactions to the electrification of Paris and to the qualities of illumination provided by various fixtures.  Beautifully written, the book makes a compelling case for regarding the nocturne as one of the premier subjects for late nineteenth century artistic innovation.”
Marc Gotlieb, Williams College
“A wide-ranging, original, and elegant demonstration of the proposition that in the City of Light experience was not found but made—made, in this case, across a complex intertwining of agents, technologies, and infrastructural developments that fundamentally shaped the art and visual culture of the metropolis. Indeed, we must credit Clayson with an intellectual feat that for the history of art seems at once unexpected but utterly necessary—namely, to have precisely de-naturalized light, with powerful consequences for our understanding of late-nineteenth century art not only in Paris but across the globe.”
André Dombrowski, University of Pennsylvania
“A novel kind of glow emanated from late 19th-century depictions. New gas and electric lighting not only brightened cityscapes and interiors alike, but, after centuries of muddy, tenebrist drama, now clearly illuminated the entire realm of representation. What the enlightenment had promised largely metaphorically--a world without shadows and darkness--new technologies of lighting had, by the year 1900, actually realized. In her newest book, Illuminated Paris, Hollis Clayson draws our attention to the manifold consequences of an industrially illuminated world, putting pressure on modern representation. Stunningly argued, beautifully written, and sumptuously illustrated, Illuminated Paris introduces us to the full array of lovers and haters of bright light in the period, and the art they created: from avant-garde paintings by the likes of Caillebotte and Munch, photographs by Marville, caricatures by Cham and Robida, intaglio prints by Cassatt and Degas, to American paintings of nocturnal Paris. After reading this study, you will never not call Paris the ‘City of Light,’ and you will finally fully understand the trope.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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