Alden R. Gordon will be coming to speak in the Françoise and Georges Selz Lectures on 18th- and 19th-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture, Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 on: “Public and Private in the Art Patronage of Madame Pompadour.”

Dr. Gordon is currently the Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Art History at Trinity College, a position he has held since 1995. He is also a Professor of Fine Arts, since 1991, at the same institution. He received his B.A. from Trinity College and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. From 1983 to 1990 he was the Chargé de Mission au Département des Peintures at the Musee du Louvre.

Professor Gordon is the author of many publications including: The Houses and Collections of the Marquis de Marigny et de Menars, Getty Research Institute Press, 2003; “The System Governing Appraised Value in Ancien Régime France,” in Adriana Turpin and Laura Bolick eds., Agents, Auctions and Dealers: The European Art Market 1660-1860, Oxford and London, 2007; and “Subverting the ‘Secret’ of Herculaneum: Archaeological Espionage in the Kingdom of Naples,” in Antiquity Recovered: The Legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum, eds. Jon Seydl and Victoria Coates, Getty Research Institute Press, 2007. Dr. Gordon has received numerous awards and fellowships. Most recently, he was on the Comité d’études at the Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles from 2005 to 2008 and the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery in 2005.

The precise and differentiated use of works of art in “public” settings at the French court versus in “private” settings in intimate houses is very little understood and is owing to a lack of primary research into the actual locations where works of art were displayed. In particular, Madame de Pompadour’s role as an art patron and as maîtresse en tître – officially recognized mistress of Louis XV – has been gravely distorted by uninformed assumptions that all of the works of art she owned and all of the portraits of her were well known during her lifetime. This lecture describes how, where and why Madame de Pompadour used works of art differently at her court apartments and in her private houses, notably the château de Bellevue.

Please join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a light reception before the talk.

The Françoise and Georges Selz Lectures in 18th- and 19th-Century French Decorative Arts and Culture are made possible through a generous endowment from Bernard and Lisa Selz.