“American Art in the 1940s: Global Currents, Local Tides. A Study Day in Memory of Professor François Brunet” at Institut national d’histoire de l’art & Université Paris Diderot

April 16 & 17, 2019
Institut national d’histoire de l’art & Université Paris Diderot, Paris

This study day addressed the notion of the transactional both as a historically specific term, grounded in the particular cultural and intellectual context of the 1940s United States, and as a method of inquiry that focuses on reciprocal and mutually co-constitutive aspects of cultural production. The 1940s, which saw the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, has been the focus of numerous scholarly publications in the fields of US history, political science, globalization studies, and literary and cultural studies. Yet the scholarship on American art and visual culture still tends to fraction the decade along the pre- and post-1945 divide. However, a number of recent publications, primarily focused on individual artists working at the time, challenge this situation and propose fresh perspectives on the period. This event aimed to contribute to the process of re-conceptualizing the 1940s by bringing together scholars and curators who offer alternative approaches to thinking about the decade.

The embedded video features welcome remarks by Clarisse Berthezène, Université Paris Diderot. View all of the presentations on YouTube.

This event was organized by Tatsiana Zhurauliova, Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Université Paris Nanterre and Université Paris Diderot, in collaboration with these affiliated institutions.


  • Agathe Cancellieri, Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Eliane de Larminat, Université Paris Diderot
  • Carolin Görgen, Université Paris Diderot
  • Isadora A. Helfgott, University of Wyoming
  • Angela Miller, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Clément Pont, Université Paris Diderot
  • Christa Noel Robbins, University of Virginia
  • Gary Van Zante, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cécile Whiting, University of California, Irvine
  • Andrew Witt, Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte Humboldt Universität

View and download the full program in English or in French.