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Paper in the Artist's Workshop

Posted By Caroline Fowler, Monday, May 2, 2016

This panel seeks to consider paper across the early modern world and how artists utilized paper not only as a support for drawing and printmaking but also as a material that already had embedded meaning in its production. Paper defined early-modern mobility from the innovations in paper making in the Arabic World to the import of paper in the New World for the first printing presses; from the Japanese paper used by the VOC to wrap goods to its mobilization in artistic production by artists such as Rembrandt. Frequently paper carried in it the traces of the season in which it was made, minute hairs from felt fibers, and the waste running through the watermill used to process the paper. With the invention of watermarks, paper began to carry the impression of local places and customs. Paper was also frequently made from the debris of the shipping industry: sailors’ uniforms; rigging; ropes and sails. In turn, this brown or blue paper was then utilized for the packaging and shipment of goods. Paper was a made product already stamped with an artisan’s mark and carrying with it traces of its local environmental conditions. This panel suggests that artists were well aware of the multiple qualities of paper and sought to examine and exploit these particularities of paper in the workshop.

Topics of particular interest are transregional studies of paper; paper in the New World; Arabic paper in Italy; theoretical studies of watermarks; paper as a device for wrapping; paper as a substance created through local environmental waste and reused by artists.

Please submit abstracts of` 150 words and a short CV to Caroline Fowler, Postdoctoral Associate in the Physical History of Art, Yale University:

Deadline: June 1.

Tags:  drawing  environment  mobility  paper  postal service  printmaking  shipping  support  water  wrapping 

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