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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Alison McQueen


Office: Chester New Hall 601

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24154


Office Hours: Office Hours: Mondays 9:30-10 am, Tuesdays and Fridays 11:30 am-12pm, and by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course examines the visual arts in France during the Second Empire (1852-70) including: photography, painting, sculpture, printmaking, city planning, architecture, and interior decoration. The class examines the changing modes of exhibiting art, connections between the visual arts and the rise of democracy in nineteenth-century France, debates around Realism, and the development of the Impressionist movement.  Lectures also evaluate the role(s) of art within French national and international politics, specifically the Salon des Refusés, the Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867, and international relations between France and Italy, Mexico, Algeria, and Egypt.  The powerful and complex subject positions of Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie as patrons of art and architecture figure prominently in this course.   Required readings introduce students to a range of methodological approaches current in the study of art history. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Alsdorf, Bridget. Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Method of Assessment:

Class Participation    10%

Students must commit to attending class and being prepared to contribute to group and class discussions on the required readings throughout the semester.  Discussions of readings will generally take place during class on Fridays, however these times may be adjusted to other class meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays as needed in order to accommodate the course material and lectures throughout the semester.  Failure to attend classes or failure to demonstrate completion of the required readings by engaging and contributing to discussion in an analytic manner will result in a failing grade for the participation portion of the course.

Lecture report, January 17th    10%

Students are required to attend and write a report on Dr. Bridget Alsdorf’s lecture Fantin-Latour’s Elegy to the Avant-Garde that she will present at McMaster on Tuesday January 14th, 7:30 p.m in Gilmour Hall Room 111 (Council Chambers).  This two-to-three page report (500-750 words) will outline the content of Professor Alsdorf’s lecture and will provide an analysis of her approach to the material.  Reports are due at the beginning of class on January 17th.

Midterm Test, February 12th    25%

The midterm test will cover material up to and including the lecture immediately before the test.  The test will include 5 short answers and will be graded out of a total of 50 points.  Students will be shown a total of 5 works or sets of works; students will identify the work(s) of art/architecture fully (title, name of artist/architect, date, media/materials) and will write a short answer analyzing the work and its historical context and significance.  Students will include material from lectures and the assigned reading and must write in complete sentences.  There will be 10 minutes for each work; total time 50 minutes.  Each short answer will be worth 10 points (total 50 points).

Review slides will be available through ARTstor.  Please consult the instructions on Avenue to Learn to set up your ARTstor account.

Bibliography Assignment, February 3rd  10%   & Research Paper, March 17th  20%

Students will be assigned a topic for the semester that will focus individual research on either a nineteenth-century artist or a subject of historical significance during the Second Empire. 

To complete the first part of the assignment, you will produce a bibliography (single spaced, typed) on your topic that will include books, essays, and journal articles (web sources should only be included when they are significant sources).  Students must search databases (such as Jstor, Art Index and BHA, Bibliography of the History of Art) which can be accessed through the library’s Electronic Resources.  At the beginning of the first page of this bibliography, students must provide a brief description of the topic (one paragraph, no more than half of a page).  The information for this paragraph should give a basic outline of the paper topic; the paragraph descriptions can draw from entries in encyclopedias but the bibliography must exhaust all available resources, including those in foreign languages.  Students should include a few sentences outlining the sources they consulted and their experience(s) completing this assignment.  There is no required length for this assignment and some bibliographies will be longer than others; it is the quality of the work that matters.  Bibliographies should not be longer than 5 pages and are due at the beginning of class on February 3rd.

For the second part of the assignment students will write a ten to twelve page research paper (2,500-3,000 word, double-spaced, typed) on their assigned topic.  Students must develop a thesis and the essay must include both analysis of works of art and their historical context.  Biographical information should be included only when it is important in connection with a paper’s thesis.  In addition to the ten to twelve pages of text, papers must be accompanied by a title page, bibliography, and footnotes or endnotesIllustrations must be submitted on a CD and the captions for illustrations must include complete information on the work and citations for the source of the image.  Sources of any ideas must be cited in footnotes or endnotes; it is not sufficient to cite sources solely in a bibliography.  Be sure to cite the date and time any on-line resources were consulted, and use these sparingly as many are not reliable.  Numerous journal articles are now available electronically and certainly these are acceptable (the url information for journal articles should not be included in your bibliography).  Papers are due at the beginning of class on March 17th.

All bibliography assignments and papers must be submitted in both hard copy AND electronic .doc format submitted to on the days they are due.  Students are also requested to submit their research papers to Students who do not wish to submit their work to must submit at least one draft and their preparatory research notes along with their final paper.

Any assignment or paper that is submitted late will be deducted one half letter grade per day.

Final Exam, date TBA, 25%

The final examination will be cumulative; students will be required to study material from lectures and readings throughout the semester.  There will be 6 short answers on individual works (10 minutes each) and 4 sets of comparisons of works (15 minutes each).  Answers must incorporate material from lectures and assigned readings.  Images will be available for review on line before the final exam.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Lecture Topics

Urban transformation in Paris during the Second Empire

The Roles of Art in the early years of the Second Empire; The Universal Exposition of 1855

Debates around Realism

Imperial Bodies: Official Portraiture and Constructions of Public Identities

Art, National Politics and International Diplomacy in the late 1850s and early 1860s

Painting Contemporary Life – The Development of Impressionism

Art and Politics in the mid to late 1860s; the Universal Exposition of 1867

Art and Diplomacy in the late 1860s

Commemoration and the Dispersal of Second Empire Visual Culture

Schedule of Readings

n.b. Many of the readings are articles available through Mills; see ATL for links.

January 10         Bridget Alsdorf Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, pages 1-104.

January 17         Bridget Alsdorf Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, pages 105-155.

January 24         Bridget Alsdorf Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, pages 156-202.

January 31         Bridget Alsdorf Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, pages 203-242.

February 7         Susan Waller “Realist Quandries: Posing Professional and Proprietary Models in the 1860s,” The Art Bulletin vol.89 n.2 (June 2007): 239-265.

February 14         Barbara Larson “The artist as ethnographer: Charles Cordier and race in mid-nineteenth-century France,” The Art Bulletin vol.87 n.4 (2005): 714-722.

February 28         Shao-Chien Tseng “Contested Terrain: Gustave Courbet’s Hunting Scenes,” The Art Bulletin vol.90 n.2 (June 2008): 218-234.

March 7         Charles Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life,” in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays Trans. and ed. Jonathan Mayne London: Phaidon Press, 1964, pages 1-40.

March 14         Lauren S. Weingarden “The Mirror as a Metaphor of Baudelairean Modernity,” in Claus Clüver et al (Eds.), Orientations: Space/Time/Image/Word, Word & Image Interactions 5. Amsterdam/New York: Editions Rodopi, 2005, 16-36.

March 21         Eduardo Cadava “Nadar’s Photographopolis,” Grey Room vol.48 (Summer 2012): 56-77.

March 28         Martha Lucy “Reading the Animal in Degas’s Young Spartans,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide vol.2 n.2 (Spring 2003):

April 4         Anne Higonnet “Manet and the Multiple,” Grey Room vol.48 (Summer 2012): 102-116.

Other Course Information:

Reserve List

Alsdorf, Bridget. Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Argencourt, Louise d’ et al. Heaven and Earth Unveiled: European Treasures from the Tanenbaum Collection. Hamilton: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2005.

Bergdoll, Barry. European Architecture 1750-1890. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Cachin, Françoise. Arts of the 19th Century, 1850-1905. vol.2 New York: Abrams, 1999.

Chu, Petra ten-Doesschate. Nineteenth-Century European Art. 3rd ed. New York: Abrams, 2011.

Frascina, Francis et al. Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Mainardi, Patricia. Art and Politics of the Second Empire: the Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

McQueen, Alison. Empress Eugénie and the Arts: Politics and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2011.

Moulin, Jean-Marie et al. The Second Empire, 1852-1870: art in France under Napoleon III. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1978.