Dr. Petra Chu to Lecture on Visual Memory and the Creative Process

March 26, 2009

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. Petra Chu, professor of art history at Seton Hall University, will discuss "Visual Memory and the Creative Process: A Nineteenth Century Conundrum" at the Allbritton Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, in room 149 of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Building on the Baylor campus.

Chu has received two doctoral degrees in art history from Columbia Universityand Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She is the recipient of several research and publication grants, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Humanities Centre at Australian National University and the Netherland Institute for Advanced Research at Wasenaar.

Chu is the author of numerous books and articles, many of which focus on the central painter of 19th century French Realism, Gustave Courbet. Her books include French Realism and the Dutch Masters, Courbet in Perspective, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, The Popularization of Images: Visual Culture under the July Monarchy and, her most recent book, Twenty First Century Perspectives on Nineteenth Century Art.

Additionally, Chu is the managing editor of the online journal, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and has served for 10 years as the president of the Association of Historians of Nineteenth Century Art.

In her lecture, Chu will discuss a debate that was widespread among artists in the 19th century: whether the painter should paint something while he was looking at it--a portrait, a still life, a landscape--or whether the painter should invent his picture from memories of the things he has seen and involve his imagination. This topic was under much discussion between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin while they spent eight weeks together in Arles in 1888 and ended with van Gogh cutting his ear.

"Dr. Chu is a major, active scholar in the study of 19th century European art," said Dr. Karen Pope, Baylor professor of American and 19th century art. "She is dedicated to undergraduate education and will make an important aspect of 19th century art accessible and interesting to her audience."

The Allbritton Lecture began in 1999 and is held each spring. It is designed to bring prominent scholars to Baylor to interact with art history students and to spotlight art history for the broader Baylor community.

For more information the lecture, contact Pope at (254) 710-6385 or Dodi Holland, the assistant director of the Allbritton Institute at (254) 710-1826. More information is also available at www.baylor.edu/art.

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