18 September, 2014
Musée Paul-Dupuy, Toulouse, France Join us

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International interdisciplinary conference

Organized by Université de Toulouse II – Le Mirail (CAS 801) and SAIT

18-19 September 2014

Musée Paul-Dupuy, Toulouse, France

Call for papers:

In the wake of the 2009 conference on “the eloquence of colour” organized by the French Society for Word and Image Studies (SAIT), this 2014 interdisciplinary symposium wishes to examine the unique position of gold across literature and the arts. Indeed gold is a pigment like no other. Its materiality inevitably conjures up a complex and paradoxical symbolism which typically negotiates tensions between the mythical and the political, the beautiful and the commercial, the sacred and the profane, the invisible and the tangible, the untarnishable and the ephemeral, virtue and lucre, the collective and the singular, the social and the private. “Gold in/and Art” therefore purports to continue the exploration of the dialogue between the arts inaugurated by previous SAIT conferences, while confronting such issues of artistic cross-fertilization with an analysis of the processes of valuing/devaluing/revaluing at work in literature and the arts. Gold will be envisaged under all its forms, as mineral, colour, light and/or value—whether it be financial, ethical, mystical, philosophical, or aesthetic value. The conference theme therefore lends itself to a multiplicity of approaches which may be economic, historical, political, cultural, artistic, philosophical, literary and/or linguistic.

Taking as a point of departure Gérard-Georges Lemaire’s observation about gold’s omnipresence in the history of art and its renewed fascination among contemporary artists (see G.G. Lemaire, L’or dans l’art contemporain, Paris: Flammarion 2011; and exhibitions such as “Gold” in 2012 at the Belvedere in Vienna or “Going for Gold” in 2013 at the Seattle Art Museum), researchers are encouraged to examine works of art/literature or writings on art/literature which give gold pride of place, either because they foreground gold as their primary material or because they capitalize on myths and legends about gold.

We are also interested in receiving proposals for papers studying the intersection between art and economics, building on the work of critics such as Jean-Joseph Goux (L’art et l’argent: la rupture moderniste 1860-1920; Frivolité de la valeur; Symbolic Economies; The Coiners of Language), Marc Shell (The Economy of Literature, Money; Language and Thought; Art & Money), Catherine Gallagher (The Body Economic), Mary Poovey (Genres of the Credit Economy) or Regenia Gagnier (Individualism, Decadence and Globalization; The Insatiability of Human Wants: Economics and Aesthetics in Market Society; Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public).

Finally, from a political, philosophical, epistemological, moral, religious or spiritual point of view, it may be helpful to keep in mind Zarathustra’s comments on gold : “Tell me, pray: how came gold to the highest value? Because it is uncommon, and unprofiting, and beaming, and soft in lustre; it always bestoweth itself. Only as image of the highest virtue came gold to the highest value. Goldlike, beameth the glance of the bestower. Gold-lustre maketh peace between moon and sun” (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, chapter XXII). Indeed, gold has traditionally been used as a standard—of purity, value, soundness or excellence. But how has this notion been either consolidated or challenged in art and literature? Do we post-moderns still believe in the universal and eternal prestige of gold understood as a benchmark of value? Or has the possibility for such a consensus disappeared with the emergence of more diversified centres of power?


Thursday 18 September 2014

8.45-9.15am Welcome by museum curator and conference organizer

9.15-10am Keynote speaker Aileen Tsui
Associate Professor of Art History, Washington College, MD, USA
“Gold in Whistler’s Art: Color, Word, Material, Metaphor”

10-10.30am coffee break

  • 10.30-11am Claire-Akiko Brisset (University of Paris Diderot)
    “Gold and copy in classical Japan: the empowerment of the sacred texts”
  • 11-11.30am Armelle Sabatier (University of Paris II)
    “Glittering gold in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII
  •  11.30-12am Véronique Adam (University of Toulouse)
    “Gold and alchemy in the late-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”
  • 12-12.30pm Timothy Alborn (Lehman College, City University of New York)
    “King Solomon’s Gold: Rediscovering Ophir in an Age of Empire”

12.30-2.30pm Lunch at the Moai Restaurant 35, allée Jules Guesde, Toulouse

  • 2.30-3 pm Françoise Dupeyron-Lafay (University of Paris Est Créteil)
    “Gold as an ambivalent mythical, Biblical and poetic palimpsest in nineteenth-century British literature”
  • 3-3.30 pm Marie-Laure Massei-Chamayou (University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    “‘How the guineas shone’: gold in Eliot’s Silas Marner (1861)”
  • 3.30-4 pm Caroline Dakers (Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts, London)
    “Excessive behaviour and extraordinary collections: William Beckford and Alfred Morrison, two nineteenth-century millionaire collectors”

4pm-4.30pm coffee break

  • 4.30-5pm Lene Østermark-Johansen (University of Cophenhagen, Denmark)
    “‘The primary colour of delight’: Walter Pater and gold”
  • 5-5.30pm Bénédicte Coste (University of Burgundy, Dijon, France)
    “Gold in the city? Symons’s London, a Book of Aspects (1909)”
  • 5.30-6pm Magda Dragu (Indiana University Bloomington, USA)
    “Gold and Pictorial Contrast in Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze”

Dinner at the Ksar Restaurant 7, rue Perchepinte – Toulouse

Friday 19 September 2014

9.15-10 am Keynote speaker Pamela Gerrish Nunn
Independent scholar and curator, former Professor of Art History, University of Canterbury, NZ
“All is not gold that glitters: reaffirming value in a time of change”

10-10.30am coffee break

  • 10.30-11am Muriel Adrien (University of Toulouse)
    “Wright of Derby’s uses of gold”
  • 11-11.30am Laurence Constanty (University of Toulouse)
    “Golden heads or gilded beauties? Gold in Rossetti’s painting and poetry”
  • 11.30-12pm Charlotte Ribeyrol (University of Paris-Sorbonne)
    “‘Gleaming with gold and blue and cinnabar’: W. Morris’s colourful revision of the myth of the Golden Fleece”
  • 12-12.30pm Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada (University of Rouen)
    “Myths of gold in late-Victorian representations of Antiquity”

12.30-2.30pm Lunch at the Moai

  • 2.30-3 pm Marie Bouchet (University of Toulouse)
    “Pearls, gold, stuivers and guilders: financial aspects of two intermedial works, Girl with a Pearl Earring, novel and film”
  • 3-3.30 pm Nathalie Vincent-Arnaud (University of Toulouse)
    “‘Who are they that shine in gold?’: a few portraits of the dancer as alchemist in literature, painting and choreography”
  • 3.30-4 pm Valérie Morisson (University of Burgundy, Dijon)
    “Patrick Scott’s gold paintings, an art of reconciliation”

4-4.30pm Coffee break

  • 4.30-5 pm Marion Duquerroy (National Art History Institute, INHA, Paris)
    “A glimpse of gold in Martin Creed’s blank operation”
  • 5-5.30 pm Sophie Cras (University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    “The value of art and the price of gold in an era of monetary anxiety: Broodthaers’s Contract for the sale of gold ingots”

5.30-6pm Closing remarks