Process Work: Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and the Mass Image Industry
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Mirseyedi, Sarah Ann
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CitationMirseyedi, Sarah Ann. 2022. Process Work: Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and the Mass Image Industry. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractMy dissertation proposes a study of the phenomenon of “process work”—an industry term used in the mid- to late-nineteenth century to designate newly invented processes of mechanical reproduction—as it relates specifically to the work of French painter Édouard Manet. Process work was used primarily for newspaper, magazine, and book illustration, and was often the most viable method for the widespread dissemination of artists’ works through the mass press. In this project, I trace the various and sometimes contradictory ways that Manet engaged with this growing field of commercial image reproduction, in the process transforming his own individual artistic practice in response to the changing needs—both material and ideological—of the nascent mass image industry. For Manet, I argue, periodic exposure over the course of his career to the new forms of labor developed within this industry provided unforeseen opportunities to expand the repertoire of avant-garde artistic labor beyond the aesthetic innovations typically associated with modernism. Process work, in other words, offered Manet tools to develop a practice of visual representation engaged with the mass-media landscape of the late-nineteenth century not only at the level of subject matter or iconography but at the level of making and production as well. For an artist intent on generating publicity, garnering critical support, and seeing his works distributed throughout the pages of the mass press, witnessing the evolution of these new methods of reproduction had the potential to shape the means and ends of a number of Manet’s major artistic projects, including the portfolio Huit gravures à l'eau forte (1862), the illustrated book Le Corbeau (1875), and the paintings Olympia (1863), Jeanne (Spring) (1881), and Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882).
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37371147
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