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2018-2019 : Women in the Globalization of Art

This session is an exceptional opportunity to welcome our partners from the University of Tokyo to Paris, thanks to the visit of Professor Torahiko Terada, and to the UTokyo Strategic Partnership Project of the University of Tokyo.  Come in large numbers! We will hear several communications:

“Figurative diversity in Japanese catalogues” – Prof. Torahiko TERADA (Univ. of Tokyo)

According to Anne-Marie Christin (Histoire de l’écriture. De l’idéogramme au multimedia, 2012), the particularity of the alphabet consists in “breaking the links that then retained all the writings to their support as to their essential complement […] by freeing itself from the visible and manipulable space that had always governed writing, it had become an

instrument of almost abstract classification, and therefore more reliable”. In doing so, according to Christin, “the writing betrays the visible while pretending to pay homage to it”. Writing was born, in fact, from a “crossbreeding” of two modes of communication that every human society had used since prehistoric times: speech and image. The first allows the community to maintain its structures and heritage, while the second, which gives access to an invisible universe belonging to the gods, guarantees communication between man and divine existence. Japanese writing, which mixes 3 writing systems – the Chinese character of the ideogram and the hiragana and katakana, two syllabaries developed from it – or even 4 writing systems – the Western alphabet, in addition – influences the making of the Japanese “catalogue”, a space par excellence mixing writing and image. This paper is a reflection on the figurative diversity in Japanese catalogues that reveals a happy relationship between text and image.

Professor at the University of Tokyo (Graduate school of Arts and Sciences, Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature and Culture Course), Torahiko TERADA is co-author of various publications (Text and image, tribute to Anne-Marie Christin, Suiseisha, 2018, Paris, une des capitales du XIXe siècle, Chikurinsha, 2016, etc.) in Japanese, French, and English, on the question of the relationship between text and image.

Statistical analysis of Vincent van Gogh’s correspondence – A perspective on the artist’s romantic taste. Miharu SHIBA (University of Tokyo)

Vincent van Gogh, Le Jardin du poète, 1888. Oil on canvas, 73 cm x 92 cm Art Institute of Chicago

Reading the many letters left by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), one realizes that he deepened his artistic thinking not only through practice but also by assimilating many contemporary books or publications. The artist’s letters mention 588 names of painters and 121 of writers, ranging from the most famous to the least known. To highlight Van Gogh’s artistic taste, it is therefore useful to analyse these names statistically. The website of the van Gogh Museum, “Vincent van Gogh The Letters”, which makes the painter’s letters available in all letters, with a beautiful critical apparatus, allows to apply a statistical method to the research on van Gogh.

This analysis indicates new perspectives on the artist. In particular, van Gogh mentions many names of romantic writers such as Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, or Thomas Carlyle, which is little studied by previous research. As for the artists mentioned by van Gogh in his correspondence, the romantics are not so remarkable, but we find the names of Eugène Delacroix and Adolphe Monticelli. Van Gogh often mentioned Jozef Israels, an artist from the Hague School, who is relatively romantic. This statistical analysis encourages us to reconsider van Gogh’s romantic taste.

The presentation will include examples from the artist’s letters and paintings – in particular the Portrait of Eugene Boch, Le Jardin du Poète – but also publications and art catalogues published during van Gogh’s time. Starting with the keyword “romanticism”, we will discover new aspects that renew our understanding of van Gogh.


IHMC room, 45 rue d’Ulm (staircase D, 3rd floor), 13h30-15h30.

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