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The exhibition American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World offers an unprecedented opportunity for leading scholars of American and European art to consider the seminal role that Benjamin West (1738–1820) and John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) played in changing the way in which history was painted and displayed in the public spaces of 18th-century London and also in the context of the work of other artists of the period, including William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds, J.M.W. Turner, and, in the new United States, Charles Willson Peale. Leading painting conservators examine the techniques employed in 18th-century artistic practice.Symposium Schedule10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Morning Presentations, Followed by a Q&A “Painting and Exhibition Culture in Late 18th-Century London,” Mark Hallett, director of studies, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art “Showcasing History: Benjamin West and his House at 14 Newman Street,” Kaylin Weber, assistant curator, American painting and sculpture, MFAH “Benjamin West's Self-Portrait: Refining Iconography through Artist's Changes,” Soni Bomford, senior paintings conservator, MFAH “West and Copley in the Footsteps of the Old Masters,” Lance Mayer & Gay Myers, independent conservators, New London, Connecticut12:30 to 2 p.m. | Break for Lunch
2 to 5 p.m. | Afternoon Presentations, Followed by a Q&A “Newsmakers: West, Copley, and the Reception of Contemporary History Painting in 18th-Century London,” Emily Ballew Neff, curator, American painting and sculpture, MFAH “’A time of much professional jealousy’: Rivalry and Competition at the Royal Academy,” Leo Costello, associate professor and director of graduate studies, department of art history, Rice University “Secrets about Recipes,” Mark Aronson, chief conservator, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University “West on the Walls: Exhibiting Art in the Early United States,” Wendy Bellion, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, department of art history, University of Delaware5 p.m. | Reception & Catalogue Signing (Beck Building Lobby)
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About the Annual Ruth K. Shartle Symposium
Inaugurated in 1975 by Alice Pratt Brown, a major benefactor who served 26 terms as a Museum trustee, this annual symposium was established in memory of Ruth K. Shartle, a longtime Museum benefactor. The Ruth K. Shartle Symposiums have celebrated important exhibitions such as Hispanic Art in the United States; Basquiat; and The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890–1950. These events have explored key areas of the Museum’s collections and probed issues of connoisseurship, patronage, conservation, and architecture.