School of Arts and Humanities News

Professor to Share Impressionism Expertise Abroad

Dr. Richard R. Brettell, professor of art and aesthetic studies, has been awarded the 2011 Humanitas Visiting Professorship in the History of Art at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Brettell, who holds the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair in Art and Aesthetic Studies at UT Dallas, will give a lecture series at Cambridge titled, Is There Anything Left to Say About Impressionism? The series will include three lectures and one symposium between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

Brettell’s first lecture, Impressionism and Anarcho-Syndicalism: The Suppressed Politics of an Apolitical Movement, will consider Impressionist exhibitions in political terms.

The Impressionist Surface: ‘Style’, Identity, and the Character of Gesture, the second lecture, will consider the painted and graphic marks of the Impressionists in post-Commune French society.

In the third lecture, Moving Through Space: Relativity and Impressionism, Brettell will discuss how the Impressionists took the idea of “a picture as a temporary stage” to new levels. This lecture will consider the work of Manet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, Monet and others.

Brettell founded the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums at UT Dallas in 1998. His expertise encompasses impressionism and French painting from 1830 to 1930. He earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University, and his museum experience includes serving as the Eugene McDermott Director at the Dallas Museum of Art and Searle Curator of European Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This summer, Brettell curated the exhibition Pissarro’s People at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. The Impressionist exhibit displayed 92 works, including portraits of artist’s family members alongside pictures of artists, neighbors, domestic help and rural workers. The exhibition was reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Brettell published Pissaro’s People,an archival study that that includes interviews with surviving family members of the artist and research from newly discovered letters. The book also examines the artist’s relationship with fellow artists, writers, neighbors, merchants and domestic servants.

Full story available from the UT Dallas News Center.