With 36,500 visits, the 9e The Art History Festival has met with great success with a varied audience. Conferences, exhibitions, screenings, concerts, readings, round tables, were sold out. Visitors were able to enjoy nearly 300 free events on the theme of the People and the Nordic countries -Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden- invited to the Festival.

National operation of the Ministry of Culture implemented by the National Institute of Art History and the Fontainebleau Castle, the Festival of Art History promotes the meeting of the public with the actors of art history.

The principle of opening the field of art history to invited countries ensures the awareness of the Festival beyond our borders and promotes exchanges. Many French and foreign personalities participated and supported this edition. The exceptional involvement of the Nordic countries must be underlined: the generous contribution of the largest institutions, including the Nordisk Kulturfond, the exceptional presence of 40 speakers and the participation of contemporary artists, such as Danh Võ. This mobilization is combined with that of eminent art historians and renowned artists who animated the 200 or so conferences and round tables, all of which were well attended; those also of institutions such as the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l'image, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, universities and many other partners contributing to the Festival’s influence.

Invited countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

By showcasing five countries, the Festival takes on its openness to the world and claims a history of globalized and plural art, striving to showcase the richness of Nordic cultural heritage. From the Vikings to the treatment of ecological issues in contemporary art, the place of Sami artists through the actuality of architecture and design, the (female) guardian figures or the role of museums, representations of Nordic identity were at the centre of the debate. The Festival was also marked by the exhibition «Wild nudities», visible at the castle of Fontainebleau until July 8, which brings together the works of artists Peder Balke, Anna Eva Bergman and François Auguste Biard.

The people, the theme of this 9e publishing

In resonance with current events on the sovereignty of the people, the speakers questioned the images and artistic objects in a historical perspective by relying on the four axes people and power, people and communities, the cultures of the people, people and spaces.

A News Forum

For this new edition, the will was to refocus the topics of the interventions around the theme and the countries invited through the news of the exhibitions and other significant events. Several interventions also raised the question of collaboration between artists and citizens. The program of the Forum also gave the floor to several specialists who were able to react to the debates raised by the news such as the fire of Notre-Dame cathedral.

The Cinema section

The cinema section, marked by the presence of the famous documentary filmmaker Wang Bing, benefited this year from a new dynamic. With 60 screenings, this edition returned to great filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, Ingmar Bergman, and Lars von Trier. Unpublished films have been revealed as The Money of Judas by Victor Sjöström, a silent film recently restored by the CNC and presented as a film-concert. The involvement of film students in presenting the sessions made it possible to create greater proximity with the public.

Young researchers who demonstrate the vitality of the discipline

The International Student Meetings welcomed young art historians from all over Europe, but also from the Nordic countries. The Festival gave voice to these students by successfully renewing the competition "My research in art history in 180 seconds" as well as the sessions young researchers. Mediation operations were entrusted to the students of the École du Louvre and Sorbonne-Université.

Programming dedicated to young people and families

The programming also included many activities dedicated to families and children. The mini-conferences on art history combining knowledge and games, the show of the members of the Comédie-Française revisiting a play by Octave Mirbeau, La Vox Populi, the various concerts have particularly excited the public. The result of a year of work by 250 students from kindergarten to second grade, an original arts and cultural education project, called “The Alcove Found: From Shadow to Light”, was also presented to the public.

The Salon du livre et de la revue d'art, a unifying event for art publishing and bookshops

Linking the presentation of editorial news and that of the art history fund, the Salon du livre et de la revue d'art has proposed a diversified offer at the crossroads of the Festival’s challenges. More than 100 publishers and three booksellers presented their publications: from illustrated books to scholarly publications, magazines and youth. New to this edition, the Salon du livre hosted presentations of heritage collections from major institutions including the library of the National Institute of Art History, the Sainte Geneviève library and the Kandinsky-Centre Pompidou library.

Awards presented at the Festival

Olga Fradiss Award awarded to Déborah Laks for her book Waste for memory. The use of recovery materials by the new realists (1955-1975) published by Les Presses du Réel in 2017.

The Vitale and Arnold Blokh Prize was awarded to Charlotte Guichard for The Painter’s Claw: the value of art (1730-1820) published by Le Seuil in 2018.

The Salon du livre et de la revue d'art, with the help of the National Heritage Institute, distinguished the translations of Norma editions for the work of Jacques Barsac, Charlotte Perriand, the complete work, volume 4 (1968-1999), to be published by Scheidegger & Spiess in October 2019 as well as Christianséditions for Oskar Kokoschka, Vorträge, Aufsätze, Essays zur Kunst, published in 1973 and to be published by L'Atelier contemporain in autumn 2020.

The Spring University: training teachers to meet the work of art

Many primary and secondary school teachers participated in the Spring University organized as part of the national training plan by the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the National Institute of Art History and with the collaboration of the Fontainebleau Castle. This edition, whose theme was «popular art», was marked by the exceptional participation of the artist Hervé di Rosa. It was also the venue for the presentation of the vade-mecum on the local heritage for primary school teachers drafted by INHA at the request of the Ministry of National Education.

Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, who visited the Festival on Saturday, is delighted with this success which confirms the growing interest of the public for this unique event in Europe. For him, to raise awareness of the history of art is to allow an appropriation of the artistic heritage by appreciating the crossing of influences.

The Minister of Culture, would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of this 9th edition.

In 2020 the Festival will celebrate its 10 years with Japan as a guest country and for the theme of pleasure.