Théophile Gautier, Orator to the Artists
Art Journalism of the Second Republic

James Kearns

Legenda (General Series)


14 November 2007  •  216pp

ISBN: 978-1-904350-88-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95


'Théophile Gautier a envoyé avec un feuilleton plus de trois mille personnes dans l'atelier de M. Ingres', wrote Champfleury in 1848. For artists, critics and readers alike, Gautier was the essential figure in French art journalism in the mid-nineteenth century. During the short-lived but pivotal period of the Second Republic, when the new administration was committed to reforming all the institutions of the fine arts, Gautier deployed the full resources of his brilliant, flexible and authoritative writing to support and direct these developments in ways compatible with his comitment to an idealist aesthetic, itself under growing pressure from alternative trends in an increasingly competitive art market. This first study of all Gautier's art journalism written during the Second Republic provides a long overdue reassessment of Gautier's importance in French nineteenth-century visual culture.


  • ‘In this first ever study of all of Théophile Gautier’s art criticism produced during the Second Republic, James Kearns brings us a much-needed reassessment of the art critic’s role in the history of French art... this is a highly accomplished study, which should be essential reading both for the scholar researching the Salon during this period and for the Gautier specialist. The material is well structured and the writing style engaging, making it equally accessible to the student or more seasoned researcher.’ — Catherine Hewitt, French Studies 64.2, April 2010
  • ‘This highly informed and informative study exposes a breadth of sources that should serve to prompt new enquiries in Gautier scholarship... Analyses [in this book] suggest the role this fine study may play in releasing Gautier’s art journalism ‘from the simplistic art-for-art’s-sake commonplaces to which it has been for so long reduced’ and in reasserting Gautier’s importance in the visual culture of nineteenth-century France.’ — Greg Kerr, Modern Language Review 105.2, 2010, 567-68 (full text online)
  • ‘Focusing on the period of the Second Republic which spans the 1848 Revolution and the 1851 coup d’état, this meticulously researched and engaging study follows Gautier’s reactions to developments in the organisation of the salon and to the artists themselves through a series of 49 articles published in La Presse... Gautier emerges in Kearns’s study not only as a prolific and idiosyncratic critic but also as one who challenges the label of 'art for art’s sake', embracing an overtly Republican artistic agenda.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 46.2, 2010, 247

Bibliography entry:

Kearns, James, Théophile Gautier, Orator to the Artists: Art Journalism of the Second Republic (Legenda, 2007)

First footnote reference: 35 James Kearns, Théophile Gautier, Orator to the Artists: Art Journalism of the Second Republic (Legenda, 2007), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Kearns, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Kearns, James. 2007. Théophile Gautier, Orator to the Artists: Art Journalism of the Second Republic (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Kearns 2007: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Kearns 2007: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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