I’m so grateful to have been awarded an Émilie du Châtalet Award from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to work on my Collage before Modernism research project. The award will allow me to conduct research for an article based on this work, titled ‘Collage before Modernism? Periodization, Gender and Eighteenth-Century Women’s Collage,” which focuses on the one hand on mapping out a history of collage as practiced and consumed by 18th century British women and at the same time challenges the notion of collage as a modern art form “invented” by the likes of Picasso and Braque within Synthetic Cubism circa 1912. In it, I argue that art history’s traditional focus on periodization and on the boundary between before and after Cubism are broken down when one invokes a more fluid timeframe, looking at collage as a continuous medium stretching from the 18th century forward. Asking how a long-standing women’s amateur art form, a craft involving scraps and cuttings, came to be completely detached from male high art practice of early 20th-century modernism is part of the project’s historiographical aims. This project on collage as a genre and medium explores the discursive tensions between art and craft, professional and amateur, high art and material culture, male and female producer.
The Award will support primary research in London to be undertaken in support of this project.