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Abstract

Looking outside canonical late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modernist images of the French Atlantic coast, this essay examines usually discrete fields of landscape painting, botanical visual culture and nascent intertidal natural history to articulate an ecological realism of the ecotone. In a survey of peasant gleaning practices, popular natural science of the shore as well as amateur marine botany, the ecological visual literacy of viewers of this era is speculatively assembled. Works by artists such as Elodie La Villete, Charles Cottet, André Dauchez and Mathurin Méheut who lived long term on the coast are put into dialogue with the pressed images made by seaweed collectors and the industrial harvesting of geological and botanical resources of the shoreline.

Author Biography

Maura Coughlin is Associate Professor of Visual Studies in the department of English and Cultural Studies at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA. Trained as an historian of nineteenth-century European art, she is currently working on the visual culture of coastal ecology and the rise of marine sciences in Atlantic France, and other intersections of ecology, material and visual culture.

 

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