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October 5, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 8:30 pm UTC Timezone
The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Library Company of Philadelphia

William Birch and the Complexities of American Visual Culture: A Symposium Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Visual Culture Program

Friday, October 5

8:00am – 4:30pm

Sponsored by the Visual Culture Program 

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Visual Culture Program, William Birch and the Complexities of American Visual Cultureexplores the visual, cultural, and social themes elicited from the work of Philadelphia artist William Birch (1755-1834). The one-day symposium in collaboration with William Birch, Ingenious Artist: His Life, His Philadelphia Views, and His Legacy aims to promote broad discussions on the continual resonance in American visual culture of the work of this premier enamel miniaturist, aspiring gentleman, and artist of the first American viewbooks.

This is not surprising. The Akin-Kneass invoice provides an informative glimpse into the collaborative nature of the “mechanical arts” in the first decade of the 1800s when artistic evidence is often rare.  This talk will use this important document as a means to explore the engravers active in in early 19th- century Philadelphia and how they were trained, their working practices, and the artistic networks they forged.


Keynote Address

Wendy Bellion, University of Delaware

The Birch Network and Diaspora

William Birch, Painter-Architect
William L. Coleman, Newark Museum

Rendering the American Landscape: William Birch, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and the British Watercolor Diaspora
Julia A. Sienkewicz, Roanoke College

The Urban Aesthetic in Popular Art

What William Birch Left Out: The Visual Culture of Disability in Early America
Nicole Belolan, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

James Kidder’s Market: Urban Views and the Art of Commerce
Whitney Martinko, Villanova University

Nicolino Calyo’s Wider View: Landscapes of Innovation
Rebecca Szantyr, Brown University

Novelty in Graphic Art: Horizontoriums, Miniature Photos, and Grangerizing

Distorting Views of Philadelphia: Shifting Perspectives in “A Curious Horizontorium”
Laura Turner Igoe, Barnes Foundation

Tiny Mysteries: Decoding 19th-Century Microscopic Photographs from Philadelphia’s Langenheim Brothers
Daniel Seth Kraus and Byron Wolfe, Tyler School of Art, Temple University

Taking a Page from Tuckerman’s Book of the Artists: Nineteenth-Century Print Media and the Grangerization of American Art History
Erin Pauwels, Tyler School of Art, Temple University

Final Remarks

Elizabeth Milroy, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University

Learn More About the Symposium and Panelists

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