Milena Gallipoli: The Louvre in America: Plaster Cast Purchases and Consumption at the Atelier de Moulage during the end of the nineteenth century

Ever since its creation in 1794, the Atelier de Moulage du Musée du Louvre took part in an active commerce of plaster copies of a wide range of sculptural artworks from various periods and regions. The main aim of this project is to analyze the transregional circulation of copies by examining the orders and purchases carried out by American nations, with a special focus  on South America, between the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first ones of the twentieth. During this time frame, many American nations underwent a process of state modernization, which implied, in the artistic sphere, the creation of institutions such as fine art museums, art academies and university museums that housed plaster casts to enrich artistic and pedagogical collections. Having a Compared Sculpture Museum implied acquiring, through accessible and cheap means, a corpus that represented the most important artistic periods from the past from across the world and thus accounting for a ‘complete’ history of art. Hence, a constant displacement and translation of artworks occurred: its reproducibility enabled its existence in simultaneous, overlapping spaces and, in this sense, their transits via the Louvre provided an extra layer of significance. As a working hypothesis, it could be stated that a complex ‘global imaginary’ was activated by these consumptions that entailed a cultural hegemony in dispute, from which the copies –and the Louvre as their producer–held an active role.

Milena Gallipoli has a Master’s degree in Argentinean and Latin-American Art History from the Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). She also holds a degree in Art History (Licenciatura) and a Teacher training degree in Art History (Profesorado) from Buenos Aires University (UBA) with a honorary diploma in both. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in History at the UNSAM. In 2017, she was awarded a doctoral grant from the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research in Argentina (CONICET) based in TAREA – Instituto de Investigaciones sobre el Patrimonio Cultural, UNSAM. Her dissertation topic and research interests focus on the creation and functions of plaster cast collection in South America and the establishment of a commercial network of these objects by the end of the long nineteenth century. She is a member of the Centro Argentino de Investigadores en Arte (CAIA) and editorial assistant of Caiana. Revista de Historia del Arte y Cultura Visual del CAIA and Anuario TAREA. She has published in multiple specialized academic journals, among them Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos (2017), Anuario TAREA (2016) and Caiana (2016). She has had fellowships from the Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile (2018), the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and Universität zu Köln (2018) and the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte (DFK Paris) (2019).


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