Historians of Netherlandish Art Sponsored Session
111th CAA Annual Conference
New York, NY, February 15—18, 2023
Organizers: Stephanie Porras (Tulane University) and Aaron M. Hyman (Johns Hopkins University)
Porcelain, lacquerware, carved ivory, fantastical sea shells, aromatic spices: even just a list of goods portered from the East to the Dutch Republic evokes a multi-faceted and multi-sensorial history. Indeed, the last thirty years have seen a staggering amount of work on the material culture and artistic production enabled by the long-distance trade of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). With only a few notable exceptions, far less art historical attention has been paid to the activities of the Dutch West Indian Company, the WIC. Yet with footholds in North America, the Caribbean, South America, and the west coast of Africa, the company played a vital role in the shaping of the Americas and in the transatlantic traffic of raw materials (tobacco, pearls, sugar, gold), refined artistic products, and people (both willing settlers and enslaved laborers).
This session aims to begin the process of assembling and reassessing the visual and material corpus related to Dutch trading companies in the Americas and is part of a larger, multi-year project that aims to redress this historiographic imbalance between east and west. Papers are welcome that treat any facet of Dutch artistic culture as it was inspired by the Americas or took shape in these geographies. Potential topics include: botanical expeditions and illustrations, plantation architecture, the material culture of slavery, mapping and navigation (particularly of complex waterways), engineering projects, inter-imperial artistic influence (critical to zones of contact and piracy like the Caribbean), the collection of Americana in the Netherlands, the mobilization of artistic resources (pearls, shells, pigment, etc.).
All participants are required to be members of the College Art Association at the time of final submission of accepted papers and during the conference period.