Rococo echo

art, history and historiography from Cochin to Coppola

Volume: 2014:12

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment

Volume Editors: Melissa Lee Hyde, Katie Scott

Series Collaborators: Rebecca Arnold, The Courtauld Institute of Art; Colin B. Bailey, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Department of Art, Queen’s University, Ontario; Kevin Chua, School of Art, Texas Tech University; Carol Duncan, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Anne Higonnet, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Barnard College; Melissa Hyde, School of Art and Art History, University of Florida; Marika T. Knowles, Department of Art, Grinell College; Elizabeth Mansfield, National Humanities Center, North Carolina; Meredith Martin, Department of Art History, New York University; Andrew McClellan, Department of Art and Art History, Tufts University; Satish Padiyar, The Courtauld Institute of Art; Katie Scott, The Courtauld Institute of Art; Tom Stammers, Department of History, Durham University; Allison Unruh, Princeton University Art Museum; Brigid Von Preussen, Columbia University; Sarah Wilson, The Courtauld Institute of Art; Michael Yonan, Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Missouri.

Publication Date: 2014

Pages: 488

ISBN: 978-0-7294-1158-5

Price: £65


Intermittently in and out of fashion, the persistence of the Rococo from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first is clear. From painting, print and photography, to furniture, fashion and film, the Rococo’s diverse manifestations appear to defy temporal and geographic definition.

In Rococo echo, a team of international contributors adopts a wide lens to explore the relationship of the Rococo with time. Through chapters organised around broad temporal moments – the French Revolution, the First World War and the turn of the twenty-first century – contributors show that the Rococo has been viewed variously as modern, late, ruined, revived, preserved and anticipated. Taking into account the temporality of the Rococo as form, some contributors consider its function as both a visual language and a cultural marker engaged in different ways with the politics of nationalism, gender and race. The Rococo is examined, too, as a mode of expression that encompassed and assimilated styles, and which functioned as a surprisingly effective means of resisting both authority – whether political, religious or artistic – and cultural norms of gender and class. Contributors also show how the Rococo, from its birth in France, reverberated through England, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the South American colonies to become a pan-European, even global movement.

The Rococo emerges from these contributions as a discourse defined but not confined by its original historical moment, and whose adaptability to the styles and preoccupations of later periods gives it a value and significance that take it beyond the vagaries of fashion.

Foreword. Rococo echo: style and temporality, Katie Scott
I. Rococo revivals: the nineteenth century
1. The uncomfortable Frenchness of the German Rococo, Michael Yonan
2. Rococo republicanism, elizabeth mansfield
3. Scavenging Rococo: trouvailles, bibelots and counter-revolution, Tom Stammers
4. Vive l’amateur! The Goncourt house revisited, Andrew McClellan
5. Pierrot’s periodicity: Watteau, Nadar and the circulation of the Rococo, Marika T. Knowles
6. Remembrance of things past: Robert de Montesquiou, Emile Gallé and Rococo revival during the fin de siècle, Meredith Martin
7. Irregular rococo Impressionism, Anne Higonnet
II. Rococo: the eighteenth century
8. Was there such a thing as rococo painting in eighteenth-century France?, Colin B. Bailey
9. ‘A wild kind of imagination’: eclecticism and excess in the English rococo designs of Thomas Johnson, Brigid von Preussen
10. Out of time: Fragonard, with David, Satish Padiyar
11. Rococo and spirituality from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, Gauvin Alexander Bailey
III. New Rococo: the twentieth century and beyond
12. Sedlmayr’s Rococo, Kevin Chua
13. Warhol’s Rococo: style and subversion in the 1950s, Allison Unruh
14. The new Rococo: Sofia Coppola and fashions in contemporary femininity, Rebecca Arnold
15. Post-colonial Rococo: Yinka Shonibare MBE plays Fragonard, Sarah Wilson
16. The Rococo revival and the old art history, Carol Duncan
Afterword. The Rococo dream of happiness as ‘a delicate kind of revolt’, Melissa Lee Hyde
List of illustrations
Select bibliography


Ceræ: an Australian journal of medieval and early modern studies

‘an impressive and authoritative volume addressing the complex and various ways in which the eighteenth-century style persists as an alluring echo long after it was deemed redundant.’

French Studies

‘Uprootedness, global dislocations, and eccentric visions of time are at the centre of this edited collection, which seeks to reframe the rococo as a discursive style perennially reactivated and reformulated from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries […] Ranging in scope beyond painting and interior decoration, the subjects discussed are refreshingly diverse’.

Dix-huitième siècle

‘Le lecteur est invité à s’interroger tout d’abord au niveau méthodologique, sur les limites et les potentialités propres à certaines catégories historiographiques, puis au niveau philosophique, à remettre en question la notion d’art elle même, notamment dans ses liens avec la politique et la société’.

Voltaire Foundation

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