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Celebrating Scholar of Impressionism

S. Hollis Clayson to be honored at Art Institute of Chicago for her groundbreaking work

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September 29, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A symposium at The Art Institute of Chicago exploring new scholarship on French, British and American art of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries will take place Oct. 23 in honor of Northwestern University art historian S. Hollis Clayson.

Art Institute of Chicago president and director James Cuno called the internationally renowned Northwestern professor “an anchor in the field of art history.” The symposium from 10:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in Fullerton Hall in The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, is free with admission to the museum. It was organized by some of Clayson’s former Northwestern students and will feature their work.

Clayson, Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities and director of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University, is author of “Painted Love: Prostitution in the French Art of the Impressionist Era” (Yale University Press and Getty Publications). The groundbreaking book explores the tensions that often are an overlooked theme of Impressionist painting.

Clayson also is author of “Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71)” (University of Chicago Press), which focuses on the Prussian siege of Paris and its influence on Edouard Manet, Rosa Bonheur, Edgar Degas and other artists. Clayson, professor of art history, teaches in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

“The Oct. 23 presenters are all former students of Clayson and beneficiaries of Holly’s unflagging mentorship throughout their careers in art history,” said symposium co-organizer Sarah Betzer. “An extraordinary mentor, Holly held the bar very high and rewarded student efforts with a deep investment in their development as writers, thinkers and citizens of the discipline of art history,” added Betzer, assistant professor of art history at the University of Virginia.

With its extraordinary collection of Impressionist art, The Art Institute of Chicago seemed a particularly fitting locale for “Honoring S. Hollis Clayson: Transatlantic Illuminations,” according to co-organizer Hector Reyes. Reyes teaches art history at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For more about the symposium, contact The Art Institute at (312) 857-7138 or go to http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/arthistory/SymposiuminHonorofS.HollisClayson.htm or http://www.artic.edu/aic/calendar/event?EventID=7913&Month=10_2010&Day=23.

Topics: Campus Life