Studying Art in Paris Museums – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Studying Art in Paris Museums

While more people are likely to think of study abroad programs running semester-long, Hobart and William Smith Colleges professors have been running much shorter summer programs, in a variety of academic disciplines, for several years. Earlier this summer, HWS Professor of Art Michael Bogin ran a short art course in Paris, France, for credit.

From May 17 through June 9, participants in the Paris program examined the history of modern painting from the mid-19th century realism of Gustave Courbet to the development of Fauvism and Cubism in the early 20th century.

“This period produced some of the most radical developments in art since the Renaissance and many of the most powerful and enduring art works in Western culture,” Bogin notes. “Paris is the ideal place to study this period because many, if not most, of the most influential artists of the period were French and the collections of art from this period in the museums of Paris is unsurpassed.”

The course was primarily taught in front of the great works of art that students were studying: The Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, the Orangerie, the Musee Picasso, the Musee Marmatton, the Musee de L’homme, the Petit Palais, the Musee d’Art Moderne as well as Monet’s house, studio and gardens at Giverny. Each week also featured visits that allowed students to delve deeper into the Parisian art world. These included meeting with art gallery owners, visiting local artists’ studios, meeting with art students and instructors at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts and discussions with a museum curator.

Lectures were supplemented by student writing/comparison projects, done individually or in small groups. Ungraded drawing session were also included as a way to help students focus on and understand modernist pictorial structures.