Technical Art History Colloquium

The Politics and Materiality of Expertise

On 8 May the next Technical Art History Colloquium titled The Politics and Materiality of Expertise will take place. The speaker will be Prof Dr Noémie Étienne (University of Bern). 

Art historical knowledge, institutional agendas, economics, and politics intersect with art conservation practices. Such entanglements are most often visible when conflicts arise, inviting the different actors to explicitly formulate positions that otherwise would remain tacit.

Conservation treatment

Taking into account different historical cases, this talk aims to unpack the way expertise is produced during conservation treatment. First and foremost, Étienne will discuss how the boundaries of different disciplines such as connoisseurship, sales, and restoration were negotiated in a particular context: the opening of the Louvre museum in Paris in 1793.


Indeed, the inauguration of one of the first European museums created conflicts, and generated discussions about claims of expertise and authority among all the involved actors. As Étienne will show, artists and connoisseurs advocated at this particular moment to distinguish themselves from restorers and art dealers and claimed their own positions in the new institution.

This public lecture is part of the international conference The Making of Art Expertise: Changing Practices of Art History & Conservation, 1850–1950, to be held May 8-10 in Utrecht and Amsterdam. 

Noémie Étienne

Noémie Étienne
Noémie Étienne

Noémie Étienne is SNSF Professor at the University of Bern and a specialist in early modern art and material culture. She is currently leading a research project on the exotic in Europe between 1600 and 1800. She is a specialist in conservation history and theory. Recently, she has been awarded a Guest Fellowship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (2019), a Guest Professorship at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2018), and a Guest Lectureship at the University of Bielefeld (2018-2019).

Start date and time
End date and time
Utrechts Centrum voor de Kunsten (UCK), Marnixzaal, Dom Square 4, Utrecht
Entrance fee
Free entrance

Through an email to before 4 May