A Lack of a Name, of Artistic Value, and of a Positive Perception: Overlooking Amateur Artists in Scholarly Research

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Abstract

For a long time, amateur artists were not regarded as a serious subject in art-historical research. Commonly cited reasons for this late interest were their relatively obscure names or even total anonymity, the low expectations regarding the artistic quality of their work and the negative perception of these nonprofessional artists. Yet the late interest in amateur artists is striking considering the wealth of nonacademic literature on the amateur as a figure: From how-to manuals, journalism, biographies, diaries, letters, and other archival materials. Through an analysis of the historiography of amateur artists I study how societal changes influenced the evolution of research on amateur artists. Aristocratic amateur artists in Belgium during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries serve as a case study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-129
Number of pages18
JournalHistory of Humanities
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

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