History of Art and Architecture

Matthew Lincoln Colloquium

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 12:00pm

Frick Fine Arts Building, Room 202

“The most un-British painters of the nineteenth century: Auction, Text, Rhetoric, and the Art Market”

What makes a painting “British”? What makes an artist an “Old Master”? As part of a larger project in the history of the art market, we examine rhetoric and word choice in a large corpus of public sales catalogs, comparing auctioneers’ language to the kinds of categories like nationality or period that today structure so much of our art historical work. What simulation and statistical modeling gets right when trying to predict these categories, as well as what it gets wrong, give crucial insights into what we talk about when we talk about art, and shows that studying the art market can be about much more than prices.

Matthew Lincoln is a Digital Humanities Developer at Carnegie Mellon University.

Image: Pall Mall, A Frosty Morning, Etching, Alfred Bowditch Collection