Dr Madeline Haddon: Loal Color: Race, Gender, and Spanishness in European Painting, 1855-1927


  • 1.30pm

  • Online

Chair: Dr Tamara Trodd

Dr Madeleine Haddon specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art of Europe and the Americas and is finishing her doctorate at Princeton University. Her interests include nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Caribbean, African American, and Latin American art, feminist theory, history of sexuality, critical race theory, visual and literary cultures of travel, and 19th-century histories of race, empire, and transatlantic visual culture. Madeleine has held curatorial positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, the Sarah-Ann and Werner H. Kramarsky Collection, and Princeton University Art Museum. From 2018 to 2019, Madeleine was a Fulbright Fellow in Madrid based at the Prado, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC). Madeleine received her M.A. from Princeton in 2017 and her B.A. in art history from Yale University in 2012.

To describe what those in the nineteenth century referred to as Spain’s “local color,” writers and artists turned to the words espagnolisme in French and españolismo in Spanish, or “Spanishness” in English.Spanishness was a term that began to be widely used in Spain and France during this period. It is still frequently used today in art history without much clarification of what it means.

This talk untangles the meanings, interpretations, and imagery of Spanishness in mid-nineteenth- to early twentieth-century French and Spanish painting, and argues that Spanishness was seen as a racial identity during this period. Examining paintings by Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Francisco Iturrino (1864-1924), and José Gutiérrez Solana (1886-1945), I trace nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century painters’ preoccupation with Spanishness through the lens of color as a marker of race. This talk illustrates how significant Spanishness was – the idea and its representation – for the development of French and Spanish art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.