Laura A Kalba

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kalba009@umn.edu
612-624-4500

.Art History .
338 Heller Hall
271 19th Ave S
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Affiliations

Laura Anne Kalba’s research examines the history of the fine, decorative, and commercial arts in a range of national and colonial contexts from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

Her publications reflect her interdisciplinary training and wide-ranging interests in the history of technology, media studies, and the social life of visual and material forms.

Her first book, Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art, received the 2018 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award of the College Art Association and the 2016–17 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies. Published in 2017 by the Pennsylvania State University Press, it examines the impact of new color technologies on French visual and material culture, from the early commercialization of synthetic dyes to the Lumière brothers' perfection of the autochrome color photography process. Some of her research on this topic has appeared in Representations, Modernism/Modernity, History and Technology, as well as several exhibition catalogs.

Her current book project is a study of the ways that images, objects, and places encoded and enacted shifting notions of economic value from the railway mania of the 1840s to the First World War. Tentatively titled Signification, Style, and Society in the Golden Age of Finance Capital, this project has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies, enabling Kalba to spend the 2018-19 academic year as a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. A related article is forthcoming in The Art Bulletin (March 2020).

Kalba primarily teaches courses on the history of modern art and visual culture. In addition to the standard surveys of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European art, she also teaches courses on the history of the graphic arts, technology and vision, and the built environment. She also enjoys teaching general introductions to the discipline designed for those new to the study art history.

Kalba welcomes inquiries from prospective PhD students whose interests intersect with her areas of specialty, especially those wanting to pursue research that involves artistic practices and/or objects that have traditionally been overlooked in the discipline.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, University of Southern California, 2008.

Specialties

  • Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art, architecture, and visual/material culture
  • Art in France, Britain, and their empires
  • Art, technology, and vision
  • Graphic, decorative, and other commercial arts
Courses Taught
  • ARTH 1001 - Introduction to Art History
  • ARTH 3422 - History of Graphic Arts
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Co-organizer of an AALAC-funded two-day symposium on the theme Visual Studies in the Liberal Arts at Smith College, 2014:

Research

  • Principal Investigator, Victorian Valentines: Intimacy in the Industrial Age, an online exhibition developed in collaboration with the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA) and Smith College students, published July 25, 2017, http://americanantiquarian.org/valentinesephemera/. :
  • Curatorial consultant, Smith College Museum of Art, 2012: research and organization of exhibition Debussy's Paris: Art, Music, and Sounds of the City. :
Publications
  • Color in the Age of Impressionism: Technology, Commerce, and Art. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017.

    Received the 2016-17 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies
    Received the 2018 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association
    Selected as a “Public Pick” in Art History by Public Books, 2017
  • “Beautiful Money: Looking at La Semeuse in Fin-de-Siècle Paris,”Art Bulletin (forthcoming, March 2020)
  • “Fireworks and Other Profane Illuminations: Color and the Experience of Wonder in Modern Visual Culture,”Modernism/Modernity, vol. 19, Issue 4 (November 2012): 657-676.
  • “Blue Roses and Yellow Violets: Flowers and the Cultivation of Color in Nineteenth-Century France,”Representations, vol. 120, Issue 1 (September 2012): 83-114.
  • “How Media Were Made: Chromolithography in Belle Époque France,”History and Technology, vol. 24, Issue 4 (December 2011): 441-453.
  • “Hearing Voices: A Study of the Soundscape and Visual Culture of Debussy's Paris,” in Debussy's Paris: Art, Music, and Sounds of the City (Northampton: Smith College Museum of Art, 2012), 14-31.
  • “Color in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: The History of Chromolithography from Godefroy Engelmann to Jules Chéret,”Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints (Chicago: University of Chicago Smart Museum of Art, 2012), 133-146.
  • “Is Impressionism History?,”H-France Salon: The Social History of Impressionism Vol 8, Issue 14 (2017), https://h-france.net/Salon/Salon9no14Questionnaire.pdf.
  • Review of The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay, caa.reviews, February 27, 2017, http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/2768.
  • Review of Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity by Gloria Groom, caa.reviews, June 26, 2014, http://caareviews.org/reviews/2174.
  • Review of The Color Revolution, by Regina Lee Blaszczyk. Technology and Culture 55 (January 2014), 261-3.
  • Signification, Style, and Society in the Golden Age of Finance Capital, writing in progress.
  • “Color, Trade, and Technology,” to be published in a multivolume series focusing on the Cultural History of Color by Bloomsbury Publishing, currently under review.
Awards
  • Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, American Council of Learned Societies, for Signification, Style, and Society in the Golden Age of Finance Capital, 2018-19
  • Millard Meiss Publication Grant, awarded by the College Art Association, for Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art, 2015
  • Mellon Foundation Art History Publication Initiative (AHPI) grant, covering the cost of high-quality images and permission fees for both print and digital editions of Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art, 2015
  • Edelstein Fellow (residential fellowship), Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 2012