Call for Papers

New Directions in Neo-Impressionism

Richmond, the American International University in London, UK

Saturday 20 November 2010

Proposals of approx. 250 words due by 1 July to:

2010 marks the centenary of the death of Neo-Impressionist Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910) as well as the release of a new book of collected essays which re-evaluate the work of Georges Seurat (1859-1891), ‘Seurat Re-Viewed’ (edited by Paul Smith; published by Penn State Press, 2010). It is therefore a fitting time to reconsider the artistic production and contextual themes around Neo-Impressionism, a much maligned movement that has often been described as a series of artistic, political and scientific failures. Its new direction after the death of Seurat in 1891, under the self-declared leadership of Paul Signac (1863-1935), has been posited less as a renewal towards alternative but equally radical luminous experiments than a progressive degeneration from its original conception.

Specifically, the works of Cross, Signac and Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) produced along the Côte d’Azur during the 1890s and early 1900s deserve new academic attention as more than merely utopic or escapist visions set in ‘holiday’ landscapes. This conference proposes to bring together emerging and established scholars of Neo-Impressionism for an exciting reappraisal of its history within the heart of London at an international, bilingual conference at Richmond, the American International University in London.

Proposed themes and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The work of individual artists or colleagues, such as: Paul Signac, Georges Seurat, Henri-Edmond Cross, Théo van Rysselberghe, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Camille Pissarro, Lucien Pissarro, Maximilien Luce, Charles Angrand, Félix Fénéon, etc.
  • Neo-Impressionism and Anarcho-Communism, in the North and the South of France, including the ideas of Peter Kropotkin, Elisée Reclus, Elie Reclus, Paul Reclus, Elie Faure, and Jean Grave.
  • Art and Science, colour theory and ‘optical painting’.
  • Utopias and anti-utopias, countryside and cityscape.
  • Exhibition practices, strategies and marketing of the Société des Artistes Indépendants and the Neo-Impressionist Boutique, as well as through private commissions (e.g. Count Harry Kessler).
  • The ‘end’ of Neo-Impressionism?

Conference organisers: Professor Robert Wallis (Richmond), Professor
Anthea Callen (University of Nottingham) and Dr Tania Woloshyn (McGill)