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R. Tripp Evans in Conversation with Suzanne Scanlan

June 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, June 18th at 6:00 p.m. for R. Tripp Evans, author of The Importance of Being Furnished, with Suzanne Scanlan, author of Esther Pressoir: A Modern Woman’s Painter.

The Importance of Being Furnished: Four Bachelors at Home by R. Tripp Evans

“R. Tripp Evans’ The Importance of Being Furnished offers a fresh, important perspective on the interest in the past at the turn of the 20th century. In contrast to the female-oriented “cult of domesticity” of the mid-19th century, Evans explores the male-driven “cult of curating” that prized the individual expressiveness of personal taste in the bachelor house.–Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Charles F. Montgomery Professor of the History of Art, Yale University

Exploring the lives of four bachelor designers, The Importance of Being Furnished: Four Bachelors at Home invites readers into the private worlds they created. Spanning the Gilded to the Jazz Age, these fascinating interiors not only reflect the intimate lives of their owners – men whose personal stories have, until now, remained in the shadows – but they serve as monuments to the Queer shaping of the American home as we know it today.

Fully illustrated with color plates and period photographs, this book pays tribute to Oscar Wilde’s “gospel of beauty,” a cause these men promoted in a dazzling range of styles. By turns poignant, outrageous, and inspiring, the stories of these “surprisingly domestic bachelors” (as the press dubbed them) reveal the complicated depths beneath their homes’ brilliant surfaces.

R. Tripp Evans is an award-winning historian of American art and design. He is a frequent public lecturer, professor of the history of art at Wheaton College, and serves as a collections consultant to historic house museums. In his more recent work, Evans has focused on the contributions gay men have made to the development of American style. His biography of the American painter Grant Wood considers the roles that Wood’s sexuality and family life played in his art, and the complicated way his work–particularly, his iconic painting American Gothic (1930)–became a powerful vehicle for nationalist expression. Grant Wood: A Life won the National Award for Arts Writing.

Esther Pressoir: A Modern Woman’s Painter by Suzanne M. Scanlan

Coming of age in the 1920s, Stella, as she was known to her friends, cast off societal expectations of a working-class immigrant family in New England and moved through the studios, galleries, and nightclubs of New York. Following an unprecedented 18,000 km bicycle trip across Europe in 1927, where she kept a daily journal and made hundreds of sketches, Pressoir developed an expressionistic style that straddled figuration and abstraction. She made provocative renderings of the female nude that challenged historical models, including unabashed self-portraits and intimate depictions of her longtime muse, a dancer from Harlem named Florita. Pressoir’ s work is illuminated here in an examination of her private travel journal, letters, and numerous paintings, prints and drawings, some of which were recovered from the veritable time capsule of her art studio after she died. Placing Pressoir’ s work in relation to trailblazing contemporaries such as Alice Neel, Florine Stettheimer and Suzanne Valadon, this book establishes Pressoir as a force to be reckoned with in the decades of emergent feminism and modern art in America and restores her to her rightful place in the expanding canon of art.

Suzanne M. Scanlan is Assistant Professor of Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her research centers on women as artists, patrons and collectors from the Renaissance through the modern period. Previous works include Divine and Demonic Imagery at Tor de’ Specchi, 1400-1500: Religious Women and Art in 15th -Century Rome (2018).


June 18
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Books on the Square
471 Angell Street
Providence, RI 02906 United States
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