Kirstin Ringelberg, professor of art history, presented a paper Oct. 29, 2016, at the 19th century French Studies Conference hosted by Brown University.
Kirstin Ringelberg, professor of art history, presented a paper on Oct. 29, 2016, at the 19th century French Studies Conference hosted by Brown University.
Ringelberg’s paper, “The Court of Lilacs, The Studio of Roses, The Garden of Réveillon: Madeleine Lemaire’s Empire of Flowers,” was presented as part of the panel “Proustian Landscapes” under the Colloquium’s larger theme of La Terre.
In the paper, Ringelberg sought to open up the flower paintings and flower-filled studio and home settings of Belle Époque artist Madeleine Lemaire to queer interpretation. Simultaneously criticized and lauded for being the period’s most successful and admired painter of flowers, Lemaire created heterotopic environments (both physical and psychic) in which a wide variety of non-normative people were able to explore their difference.
Wreathing books, magazines, her château, her Paris studio/salon, and the Salon with flowers known to represent transformation, mutability, femininity, and sexuality, Lemaire provided overt encouragement for members of her entourage such as Marcel Proust to explore these themes personally and artistically in a way that challenged the gender and sexual norms of the time.
This paper is part of a larger project Ringelberg is developing during their one-year sabbatical awarded by Elon, and the bulk of the presentation was written while in residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois.