Never Black and White: Representing Black Women in Revolutionary France
AbstractMy research focused on Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait d’une Femme Noire, exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1800. This remarkable picture of a free woman of African descent was painted in the decade between the first abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 1794 and Napoleon Bonaparte’s reinstatement of it in 1804. I addressed the question of what we can make of the existing visual and literary representations of black women in this period, and how these representations can be used to understand something of the kind of roles or experiences the women had in French society. In the absence of firsthand accounts of art and writing by black women, I have analyzed the conditions of their existence, ideologies that shaped their experiences, and a varying range of representations of them made by white artists and writers.
Bindman, David. “The Black Figure in the European Imaginary: An Introduction by David Bindman.” The Black Figure in the European Imaginary. Winter Park: Trustees of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA, (2017), 11-16.
Childs, Adrienne L. and Susan H. Libby. “European Art and the Possibilities of Blackness.” The Black Figure in the European Imaginary. Winter Park: Trustees of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA, (2017), 11-43.
---. “Introduction: figuring blackness in Europe.” Blacks and Blackness in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, (2014), 1-18.
Charrière, Isabelle de. “Constance’s Story.” The Nobleman and Other Romances, (New York: Penguin Group, 2012).
Duras, Claire de. Ourika. France, (1824). English translation: University of Georgia, http://slavery.uga.edu/texts/literary_works/ourikaenglish.pdf
Fend, Mechtild. “Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait d’une Négresse and the Visibility of Skin Colour.” Probing the Skin: Cultural Representations of Our Contact Zone, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 192-210.
Grigsby, Darcy Grimaldo. “Food Chains: French abolitionism and human consumption (1787-1819).” An economy of color: Visual culture and the Atlantic world, 1660-1830. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, (2003), 153-175.
Libby, Susan H. “The color of Frenchness; racial identity and visuality in French anti-slavery imagery, 1788-94. Blacks and Blackness in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, (2014), 20-46.
Schmidt-Linsenhoff, Viktoria. “Who is the Subject? Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait d’une Négresse.” Slave Portraiture in the Atlantic World. New York: Cambridge University Press, (2013), 315-343.
Sharpley-Whiting, T. Denean. “Black Blood, White Masks, and Négresse Sexuality in de Pons’s Ourika, l’Africaine.” Black Venus: Sexualized Savages, Primal Fears, and Primitive Narratives in French. Durham: Duke University Press, (1999), 52-61.
Smalls, James. “Slavery is a Woman: Race, Gender, and Visuality in Marie Benoist’s Portrait of a Négresse (1800).” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Vol. 3 No. 1 (Spring 2004): 1-35, http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/spring04/70-spring04/spring04article/286-slavery-is-a-woman-race-gender-and-visuality-in-marie-benoists-portrait-dune-negresse-1800.
Copyright (c) 2019 Danielle Garcia
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Some journals stipulate that submitted articles cannot be under consideration for publication or published in another journal. The student-author and mentor have the option of determining which journal the paper will be submitted to first. UF JUR accepts papers that have been published in other journals or might be published in the future. It is the responsibility of the student-author and mentor to determine whether another journal will accept a paper that has been published in UF JUR.