Stephen E. Ostrow Distinguished Visitors
Richard Shiff "Loss of Subject (Cézanne)"
February 7, 2012, 7 p.m., Vollum Lecture Hall
Art historians usually classify images like Cézanne's Card Players as genre pictures: views of daily life that may reveal attitudes toward a class of society or a set of cultural practices. Can such pictures be abstractions? Abstractions of what? This lecture investigates the fact that Cézanne's earliest viewers evaluated his Card Players as if they were abstractions, and by this interpretive route, the paintings gained a special social significance.
Professor Richard Shiff received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He holds the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and directs the Center for the Study of Modernism. His scholarly interests range broadly across the field of modern art from the early nineteenth century to the present, with emphasis on French painting and post-war and contemporary American and European art. He has been particularly involved with theory and criticism. His publications include Cézanne and the End of Impressionism (University of Chicago Press, 1984), Critical Terms for Art History (University of Chicago Press, 1996, 2003), Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (Yale University Press, 2004), Doubt (Routledge, 2008), Between Sense and de Kooning (Reaktion, 2011), and numerous studies of critical and methodological issues. Recent essays have focused on Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, Bridget Riley, Georg Baselitz, Peter Doig, and Julie Mehretu, among others. In addition to his ongoing contributions of interpretive essays to exhibition catalogues and artists’ books, his current projects include a collection of his earlier essays (University of Chicago Press).