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Faculty Research Forums Spring 2014

Faculty Research Forums Spring 2014

 A Bloomsbury Family

William Orpen, A Bloomsbury Family, 1907-9, Oil on canvas, 86.50 x 91.50 cm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.


Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, Fine Arts 

"Picturing Paterfamilias Fatigue: The Nicholsons at Home"

Friday, February 28 @ 3:30 p.m.

Room 300, Humanities Building


What happens when an Edwardian patriarch finds himself disconnected from his home, regarding the persistent trappings of the Victorian paterfamilias with weariness? This is unexpected as patriarchal agency has been seen as the cause of the home’s alienating effect, but two paintings portraying William Nicholson’s family – William Orpen’s A Bloomsbury Family, 1907-9, and Mabel Nicholson’s Family Group, 1911 – present domestic images in which nobody was at home, including the father. This paper examines the paradox of patriarchal alienation from the Edwardian home, and explores the nuanced images of a man, a woman, and their children, who occupied a liminal space between the heteronormative and the subversive. The paper reads A Bloomsbury Family as an Edwardian pastiche of Velázquez’s Las Meninas to show the trouble in phallic power; it also treats taxidermic birds in Walter Sickert’s c.1914 painting Ennui as a metaphor for patriarchal alienation, and relies on the vision of childhood and patriarchal domesticity in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to explain the grim picture of home made by Mabel Nicholson. Overall, this paper argues that A Bloomsbury Family and Family Group register fatigue with ideals of masculinity, marriage, and domesticity.


Engaging in queer and post-colonial studies, Professor Kim reexamines European modernism and develops new ways of understanding its history and objects.

His first book, Painted Men in Britain, 1868-1918: Royal Academicians and Masculinities (Ashgate, 2012), reassesses portrayals of male bodies in their narrative context, and analyzes transgressions of gender and sexuality in paintings by Frederic Leighton, John Singer Sargent, and their contemporary Academicians.

Professor Kim's next book project, Masculinity in Portraiture: Whistler, Degas, and Sickert, treats the construction, distortion, and destabilization of masculinity as shown in the portraits painted by three closely connected artists, James McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, and Walter Sickert. Problematizing dandyism, psychoanalysis, and sexology, Professor Kim delves into the three artists’ interwoven web of gendered anxiety and influence.


William Orpen, A Bloomsbury Family, 1907-9, Oil on canvas, 86.50 x 91.50 cm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

Faculty Research Forum 2013-14

Friday, September 20 - Debra Journet, English
Friday, October 25 - Benjamin Hufbauer, Art History
Friday, November 22 - Suzette Henke, English
Friday, January 24 - Tatjana Soldat-Jaffe, Humanities - CANCELLED
Friday, February 28 - Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, Fine Arts



Faculty Research Forum is a venue where colleagues try out or report on their scholarly or creative work to interdisciplinary audiences. Commonly FRF meets once a month on Friday at 3:30, following the Arts and Sciences Faculty Assembly, almost always in Bingham Humanities Room 300. It includes a presentation followed by a lively Q&A, fueled by various sorts of refreshments.

Faculty Research Forum, an ongoing project of the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS), offers research-based talks for an interdisciplinary audience by UofL faculty and occasional guests. 

Faculty Research Forums are open to all: faculty, students, staff, and the public.

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