Reconstructing Empress Eugénie's position as a private collector and a public patron of a broad range of media, this study is the first to examine Eugénie (1826-1920), whose patronage of the arts has been overlooked even by her many biographers. The empress's patronage and collecting is considered within the context of her political roles in the development of France's institutions and international relations. Empress Eugénie and the Arts: Politics and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century also examines representations of the empress, and the artistic transformation of a Hispanic woman into a leading figure in French politics. Based on extensive research at architectural sites and in archives, museums, and libraries throughout Europe, and in Britain and the United States, this book offers in-depth analysis of many works that have never before received scholarly attention - including reconstruction and analysis of Eugénie's apartment at the Tuileries. From her self-definition as empress through her collections, to her later days in exile in England, art was integral to Eugénie's social and political position.
Contents: Introduction; Shaping a nation-state: the politics of piety, charity and education; Imperial identities: the 'ornament of the throne'; Collecting an imperial persona: collecting practices and intimate spaces; International diplomacy and transnationalism; Family, memory and dynastic nostalgia; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.
Alison McQueen is Professor of Art History at McMaster University. She is author of The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France (2003).
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