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HA331 Course Outline


Course Tutor: Dr. Francesca Berry

Seminars: Thursdays 2.00 – 5.00pm, History of Art Student Common Room


1 x 3 hour photograph exam paper (50%)

1 x 3 hour question exam paper (50%)

Week 11: Introduction: Boundaries of the Interior

Thursday 8th January

The construction of public and private space and spheres. The boundaries of gender and class: the ideology of separate spheres. Bourgeois identity and the private interior. The int?rieur and the foyer domestique.


  • MacMillan, J. F., Chapters 1 & 2 of Housewife or Harlot: The Place of Women in French Society 1870-1940, London, 1981, pp. 9-45.
  • W. Benjamin: ‘Louis-Philippe or the Interior’, Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, (1955), trans. Harry Zohn, London & New York, (1973), 4th ed. 1992, pp. 167-6.

Further Reading:

  • Habermas, J. ‘Social Structures of the Public Sphere’, Chapter 2 of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, (1962), trans. Thomas Burger, with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989, pp. 27-56.

Week 12: The Interior in Aesthetic Theory and Practice

Thursday 15th January

Phenomenological and psychological theories of architectural space. Viewer empathy and embodiment. Art theory’s adoption of theatrical approaches to the animated significance of space. Theories of the body-object-space encounter. The end of narrative and the emergence of the interior as an active agent of meaning. Private exhibitions spaces and the illusion of domesticity. Producing, marketing and experiencing art as domestic objects.


  • Sidlauskas, S., ‘Body into Space: Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Rhetoric of Embodiment’, Chapter 1 of Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century France, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 6-19.
  • Ward, M., ‘Impressionist Installations and Private Exhibitions’, The Art Bulletin, vol. 73, no. 4 (December 1991), pp. 599-622.

Further Reading:

  • Selected sections from Duranty, E., ‘La Nouvelle peinture’, (1876), trans. & repr. in C. Moffett (ed.), The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886, exh. cat., Oxford, 1986, pp. 37-47 & pp. 477-84.

Week 13: Sexuality, Gender and the Bourgeois Interior

Thursday 22nd January

Domestic genre painting and the bourgeois interior: Henri de Fantin-Latour and Jean-Louis Forain. Degas, Bonnard and the sexuality of the interior. Alienation and boredom in the bourgeois interior: Caillebotte, Pissarro and Signac. The ideology of separate spheres and Impressionist iconography. Art and domesticity: Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. Extending modern domesticity to the suburban landscape and domestic garden.


  • Sidlauskas, S., ‘Degas and the Sexuality of the Interior’, Chapter 2 of Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 20-60.
  • Nochlin, L., ‘The House is not a Home: Degas and the Subversion of the Family’, R. Kendall & G. Pollock (eds.), Dealing with Degas: Perspectives of Women and the Politics of Vision, London, 1992, pp. 43-65.
  • Adler, K., ‘The Suburban, the Modern and “Une Dame de Passy”’, The Oxford Art Journal, vol. 12, no. 1 (1989), pp. 3-13.

Further Reading:

  • Emile Zola, Pot-Bouille, 1884

Week 14: The Mother and Child Inside

Thursday 29th January

Children as metaphors of subjective interiority. Childhood subjectivity represented in the manipulated interior: Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent. Caillebotte, Cassatt and Vuillard’s paintings of their mothers. The interior and maternal subjectivity. The maternal body in relation to domestic space and its objects: cupboards, chairs and mattresses. Psychoanalytical theories of the maternal metaphor.


  • Sidlauskas, S., ‘John Singer Sargent’s Interior Abysses: The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit’, Chapter Three in Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 61-90.
  • Pollock, G. ‘The Child of Modernity’, Chapter 6 of Mary Cassatt: Painter of Modern Women, Thames & Hudson, 1998, pp. 184-213.
  • Berry, F. ‘Maman is my Muse: The Maternal Body as Motif and Metaphor in Edouard Vuillard’s Intimisme’ unpublished manuscript.

Week 15: The Psychologised Interior

Thursday 5th February

The Goncourt brothers and the retreat into the interior: the Maison de l’Artiste. Neuro-psychological and Symbolist conceptions of the interior. Art Nouveau and the psychologised interior. The psychologised interior as refuge or place of anxiety . The int?rieur as a conceptual space for male retreat. Effeminacy and the sexual politics of masculine retreat. Femininity and the psychologised interior.


  • Silverman, S., ‘The Brothers de Goncourt between History and the Psyche’ and ‘Psychologie Nouvelle’, Art Nouveau in Fin-de-Si?cle France: Politics, Psychology and Style, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1989.
  • Sidlauskas, S., ‘The “Surface of Existence”: Edouard Vuillard’s Mother and Sister of the Artist’ Chapter 4 of Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 91-123.

Further Reading:

  • J.-K. Huysmans, A Rebours (Against Nature), 1884

Week 16: Reading Week

Week 17: Women and Interior Decoration

Thursday 19th February

Decoration and the gendering of consumer practices. Women, luxury and the French crafts tradition. Creative consumption: women’s decorating as modern artistic practice. An extension to the toilette: the sexual politics of interior decoration. Making the private public: the interior produced by specialist and consumer magazines. Domestic consumption and the role of women’s magazines. Women’s magazines and feminine subjectivity in relation to the interior. The female reader and the emergent discourses of interior design.


  • Tiersten, L., ‘The Chic Interior and the Feminine Modern: Home Decorating as High Art in Turn-of-the-Century Paris’, in C. Reed, Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture, Thames & Hudson, 1996, pp. 18-32.
  • Berry, F., ‘Designing the Reader’s Interior: Subjectivity and the Interior in the French Magazine’, unpublished manuscript.

Further Reading:

  • Auslander, L., ‘The Gendering of Consumer Practices in Nineteenth-Century France’, in de Grazia, V. [ed.], The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective, California, 1996, pp. 79-112.
  • Lisa Tiersten, Chapters 4 & 5 of Marianne in the Market: Envisaging Consumer Society in Fin-de-Si?cle France, University of California Press, 2001

Week 18: Decoration, the Decorative and the Avant-Garde Interior

Thursday 26th February

The interior as psychological and decorative space in and for Matisse’s paintings. Decoration as Modernism’s ‘Other’. The odalisque and the sexuality of the ‘exotic’ interior. The Maison Cubiste. Cubism and interior decoration. Cubist painting and the fabric of the interior. Towards a theory of Cubist architecture.


  • B. Fer, ‘Luxury, Utility and the Decorative’, pp. 149-153 and ‘Matisse’, pp. 158-162 in Realism, Rationalism, Surrealism: Art Between the Wars, Yale/Open University Press, 1993
  • Troy, N., ‘Domesticity, Decoration and Consumer Culture: Selling Art and Design in Pre-World War I France’, Chapter 8 in C. Reed [ed.], Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture, Thames & Hudson, 1996, pp. 113-129.

Further Reading:

  • Board, M. L., ‘Constructing Myths and Ideologies in Matisse’s Odalisques’, Genders, no. 5, Summer 1989, pp. 21-49.
  • Robinson, J. H., ‘”Hi Honey, I’m Home”: Weary (Neurasthenic) Businessmen and the Formulation of a Serenely Modern Aesthetic’, Chapter 7 in C. Reed [ed.], Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture, Thames & Hudson, 1996, pp. 98-112.

Week 19: The Photographic Interior

Thursday 4th March

Documents or Art?: Atget’s album of Parisian interiors. Social documentation and the class of the interior. Photographic reproductions of exhibition interiors. Conventions of corporeal absence and presence in the photographic interior. The Maison Mallet-Stevens and the ‘photogenic’ interior. Photography and the cinematic interior.


  • Nesbit, M., ‘The Artists’, ‘The Building Industry’ and ‘The Second and Third Albums’, Atget’s Seven Albums, Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Becherer, R., ‘Picturing Architecture Otherwise: the Voguing of the Maison Mallet-Stevens’, Art History, vol. 23, no. 4, November 2000, pp. 559-598.

Further Reading:

  • Vaillant, O., ‘Robert Mallet-Stevens: Architecture, Cinema and Poetics’, in F. Penz & M. Thomas, Cinema and Architecture, British Film Institute, 1997, pp. 28-33

Week 20: Fashioning and Exhibiting the Modern Interior

Thursday 11th March

The 1925 ‘Exposition des Arts D?coratifs’ in Paris: Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau, Ruhlmann’s Pavilion of a Rich Collector and the department store pavilions. Le Corbusier’s critique of the exhibition. Clothes as metaphors of modernity. Male and female clothing and the construction of a Modernist design ideal. Dress reform and the theorising of Modernist design in relation to the body.


  • Troy, N., ‘Reconstructing Art Deco: Purism, the Department Store and the Exposition of 1925’, Chapter 4 of Modernism and the Decorative Arts in France, Yale University Press, 1992, pp. 159-226
  • Wigley, M., ‘White Out: Fashioning the Modern [Part 2],’ Assemblage: A Critical Journal of Architecture and Design Culture, vol. 22, 1993/1994, pp. 6-49

Further Reading:

  • Le Corbusier, ‘Iconology’ and ‘Type Needs/Type Furniture’, from The Decorative Art of Today’, MIT Press/Architectural Press, 1987
  • Loos, A., ‘Men’s Fashion’, ‘Men’s Hats’, ‘Footwear’, ‘Shoemakers’, ‘Underclothes’ from Spoken into the Void: Collected Essays 1897-1900, Opposition Books, 1987

Week 21: Performing the Modernist Interior

Thursday 22nd April

Mondrian’s Paris studio, Adolf Loos’ model for Josephine Baker’s house in Paris, Le Corbusier’s house projects and Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre. The inhabitant as artist. Putting the public on view in the private interior. Voyeurism and the celebrity interior. Race and sexuality performed in the interior. Corporeal performances in the Modernist interior.


  • Colomina, B., ‘The Split Wall: Domestic Voyeurism’, in B. Colomina (ed.), Sexuality and Space, Princeton Architectural Press, 1992, pp. 73-128
  • Wigglewsorth, S., ‘Maison de Verre: Sections through an in-vitro conception’, The Journal of Architecture, 1998, pp. 263-85.

Further Reading:

  • Troy, N., Section on Mondrian’s Paris studio [pp. 135-42] in ‘Total Abstraction: Color in Space’ Chapter 4 of The De Stijl Environment, MIT, 1983.

Week 22: Surreal Interiors

Thursday 29th April

The critique of bourgeois domesticity and its representational forms: Max Ernst’s collages. Surrealist journals and the critique of Modernist design. The interior and the unconscious. Writing private life into the city streets: The Arcades Project, Paris Peasant and Nadja. Surrealist living spaces: Andr? Breton’s Paris studio and Adolf Loos’ house for Tristan Tzara.


  • H. Foster, ‘Outmoded Spaces’, Chapter 6 of Compulsive Beauty, MIT, 1993, pp. 156-91.
  • Vidler, ‘Homes for Cyborgs’, in C. Reed (ed.), Not at Home, Thames & Hudson, 1996, pp. 161-78

Further Reading:

  • S. Freud, ‘The Uncanny’, 1919, translated and reproduced in Penguin Freud Library, vol. 14, Art and Literature, pp. 335-76

Week 23: Revision Class

Thursday 6th May