Current Events

Upcoming Events

The are no upcoming events currently scheduled. Please check back for future events.

Past Events

Presentation, “Jewish Travel Writing in the 1930s”

The New York Public Library’s extensive collection of travel books offers a perspective on what travel meant to Jews in the increasingly hostile world of the 1930s. The view from ca. 1930 sets the stage: travel accounts of the United States published in London, Riga, and elsewhere speak to curiosity about America. Descriptions of the Soviet Union underline the attractiveness of the Communist experiment and ignorance of policies Stalin had set in motion.  Confidence about a wider world of possibilities is evident in accounts of Europe, the Middle East, and Palestine. Underlying anxieties are discernible, too. This presentation explores the scope of Jewish travel writing during a most challenging decade, and analyzes its audiences and goals.

Session Chair, “The Chinese Material Text in Intercultural and Historiographic Perspective”

Sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of America, this session investigates the special significance of Chinese textual objects in intercultural and historiographic perspective. Books include a Song dynasty catalogue of inscribed ritual artifacts from the ancient past that served to promote political legitimacy in the present, and a Japanese travel guide to China that adapted Chinese illustrations to create the appearance of authentic experience at a time when China was closed off from Japan. Other textual objects include ink rubbings of calligraphy inscribed in stone, and ceramic pillows ornamented with lines from popular drama and lyric song that are often the only surviving traces of works once enjoyed by the masses. Both the ink rubbings and the ceramic pillows are considered in relation to the twentieth-century Euro-American collecting practices that brought many of these textual objects out of China. The interplay between intellectual history and aesthetic appreciation thus provides a focus for analyzing subsequent adaptations and interpretations of the Chinese material text.

Presentation, “Frustrated Austrians and Their Italian Art Bibliographies: Leopoldo Cicognara and Julius von Schlosser”

Analysis of two art bibliographies written a century apart – both composed in Italy by frustrated Austrians — underlines the constitutive role of bibliography.

Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte, published in 1821 by Leopolodo Cicognara, conveys his overriding concern with reclaiming Italy’s past glory. An enthusiast of the French Revolution, Cicognara was appointed President of the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts under Napoleon. He composed his bibliography during the Restoration period, in Habsburg Venice.

Julius von Schlosser composed “Über die ältere Kunsthistoriographie der Italiener” in an Italian resort in 1925, while chair of the “second” art history department at the University of Vienna. A citizen of the First Austrian Republic, Schlosser advocated Anschluss with Germany.

Comparing these works underlines divergent relationships to an Italian nation and to the discipline of art history – neither of which were fully formulated in Cicognara’s day, and both of which were sites of conflict in Schlosser’s.

Session Chair, “The Print in the Codex ca. 1500 to 1900”

Bibliographical Society of America sponsored session,

College Art Association Annual Conference:

  • prerecorded presentations (accessible during conference);
  • live, online discussion (10 February, noon-12:30 pm).

This session considers books transformed through the incorporation of independently printed images. The session focuses on the production and reception of such books between the late fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. These books are investigated both as unique items and as exemplars of continually evolving creative and curatorial practices.

A theme running through the session is the challenge these works have posed when they have entered institutional collections: their intermedial nature has placed them at odds with the increasingly standardized and discrete organizational systems developed by public museums and libraries. A second theme is the opportunity these volumes have provided to those wishing to interpret the intimate interface between book, image and audience, whether for intellectual or practical purposes.


Larisa Grollemond, The J. Paul Getty Museum: “Reading Between the Lines: Passion Prints in a Hybrid Book of Hours, ca. 1480-1490”

Sarah C. Schaefer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: “Bibles Unbound: The Material Semantics of Nineteenth-Century Scriptural Illustration”

Silvia Massa, SMB-Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin: “Crossed Gazes: Prints in Books in Parma and Berlin”

Julie Park, New York University: “Making Paper Windows to the Past: Extra-Illustration as the Art of Writing”


Madeleine Viljoen, The New York Public Library