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Art History & Visual Material Culture webinar - JULIET BELLOW (American University, Washington DC): "Chez le cabaretier: Auguste Rodin and Loïe Fuller at the 1900 Exposition Universelle"

When:We 17-02-2021 17:15 - 18:30

Dr. Juliet Bellow, American University, Washington D.C.
‘Chez le cabaretier: Auguste Rodin and Loïe Fuller at the 1900 Exposition Universelle’


In 1900, the sculptor Auguste Rodin made a risky career move, installing a retrospective exhibition just outside the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition held that year. This talk will explore parallels between the Exposition Rodin and the nearby Théâtre Loïe Fuller, opening up questions about the famous dancer’s influence on the “scenography” of Rodin’s sculpture: its presentation in photographs and in exhibitions. Fuller’s innovative dance technique showed Rodin how a vanguard form of abstract art could achieve both critical esteem and commercial success. By tracing Rodin’s concerted efforts to align his art with Fuller’s, we can both unveil the sculptor’s relationship to the Symbolist movement and illuminate Symbolism’s uneasy relationship to mass culture. The case of Rodin’s retrospective reveals that the Symbolist cult of masculine creativity derived from the same forms of publicity that helped this female music-hall star skyrocket to fame.

About the speaker

Juliet Bellow is Associate Professor of Art History at American University. Her book Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde was published by Ashgate Press in 2013, and she served as a Consulting Scholar for the 2013 exhibition “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929: When Art Danced With Music.” Her other publications include articles in Art Bulletin, Art Journal, American Art, and Modernism/modernity; and contributions to exhibition catalogues on Sonia Delaunay (Tate Modern/Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), Merce Cunningham (Walker Art Center), and Auguste Rodin (Courtauld Institute of Art/Musée Rodin, Paris). She is currently researching a new book, entitled Rodin’s Dancers: Sculpture in the Age of Spectacle.