Seminar session: “Artistic entrepreneurship and self-promotion strategies in the regional advertising press (1750-1790)”, 23 March 2021 (online) 

Jacob Schwartzenbach, Portraitist with silhouette and model, 1798, private collection.

23 March 2021, online, 18:30-20:00
Speaker: Professor Sophie Raux (Lyon 2)
Artistic entrepreneurship and self-promotion strategies in the regional advertising press (1750-1790)

The end of the 1750s saw the take-off of the advertisement press in some towns in France. In art history, interest in this source has most often been limited to information about the dominant artistic figures in a city as well as local art institutions, drawing schools, academies and salons. On the other hand, announcements of unknown or poorly documented actors, although the most abundant, have hardly attracted any attention, although paradoxically the purpose of these announcements was to offer them visibility.

In an economic context characterised by increased competition, the search for new outlets and new markets was crucial to maintain the activity of many artists. This has led them to adopt a high degree of mobility, both professionally and geographically. This new configuration has led to the development of a form of direct exchange from the producer to the consumer as well as the expansion of an enlarged offer made accessible to a new public. Accelerating the transfer of know-how, these travelling artists acted as self-entrepreneurs, independently of official institutions. They found in the advertising press a new weapon of communication playing on self-promotion, essential to ensure their visibility in their time, as in ours.

The aim of this paper is therefore, on the basis of a selection of advertisements published in several provincial households, to highlight some of the salient features of artistic exchanges and circulations that are ignored or misunderstood, by making a threefold shift: starting from a popular and not a scholarly source, taking an interest in the provinces and not in the capital, and taking into account practices and customs that are little considered in the hierarchy of the Beaux-Arts.

Sophie Raux is an art historian of early modernity, professor at the Université Lumière Lyon 2 and director of the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA UMR 5190). Her research focuses on the economic and social history of art and visual culture in the former Netherlands and France. She co-edited the books Moving Pictures. Intra European Trade in Images XVIth-XVIIIth c. (Turnhout, Brepols 2014) and A perte de vue, les nouveaux Paradigmes du visuel (Dijon, Presses du réel, 2015). She has recently published Lotteries, Art Markets, and Visual Culture in the Low Countries, XVth-XVIIth c., Leiden, Brill, 2018, in the collection Studies in the History of Collecting & Art Markets.

The conference will be in French and is free of charge and will take place on Zoom. Please register in advance to receive the necessary information at:

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