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Director's Lecture Series 2014–2015, Lecture 2—“The Birth of the Avant-Garde, 1815–1860”

By Dr. Joe Lin-Hill, Deputy Director

Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 7–8:30 pm

Cathleen Chaffee, Janne Sirén, and Joe Lin-Hill with Clyfford Still’s 1951-E, 1951 (Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of the artist, 1964).

(Complete series: Tuesdays, September 16, 2014; October 14, 2014; November 11, 2014; February 10, 2015; March 10, 2015; and April 14, 2015, 7–8:30 pm)

7–8 pm, Lecture
8–8:30 pm, Conversation with Participants

Series Price:
$500 general admission
$375 for Members
$200 for students (with valid student ID)
More about Tickets and Scholarships


This second lecture begins with a political event—the end of the first Napoleonic Empire in France—and ends with the ascendancy of Realism, a new artistic movement that culminated in the Salon des Refusés of 1863. The years in between 1815 and 1860 were among the most tumultuous in French history. They saw the emergence of a politically empowered French middle class, the rise of Romanticism, and the emergence of an avant-garde from the artistic and political actions of the Realists. Topics explored will include the Realist artists’ rejection of historical and allegorical painting, the political role of the avant-garde artist, and the evolving definition of the “modern” artist as capturing that which is both beautiful and fleeting in his or her own time.


Following the overwhelming success of the 2013–2014 inaugural Director’s Lecture Series, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is pleased to introduce the 2014–2015 Director’s Lecture Series, entitled “The Birth, Rise, and Evolution of Avant-Garde Art.” Six lectures will provide a unique opportunity to learn about the eighteenth-century origins and nineteenth- and twentieth-century development of the modern definition of the artist: a figure who rejects dominant cultural mores and leads the vanguard of creative and even societal transformation. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, as well as Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill and Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More