Fall 2014-Spring 2015

André Dombrowski

“The Image Affair: Dreyfus in the Media, 1894-1906” is an exhibition that grew out of the curatorial seminar on the Dreyfus Affair taught by Professor André Dombrowski in Fall 2014. This exhibition will run from April 13th to August 7th, 2015, at the Kamin Gallery on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. Co-curated by Lindsay Grant, Gloria Huangpu, Glynnis Stevenson, Jamie Vaught, Hilary Whitham and Prof. Dombrowski, it examines the infamous wrongful conviction for treason, and eventual exoneration, of Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus as it played out in the media. The seminar and the exhibition trace the greatest scandal of fin-de-siècle France through the diverse body of images that proliferated in a country divided by anti-Semitism, nationalistic fervor, juridical malpractice, and military misconduct. Encompassing the full range of media including the illustrated press, broadsheets, photography, postcards, films and even board games, the exhibition draws entirely from the Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the largest such collections in the world. The images and objects assembled represent a range of opposing viewpoints from the Dreyfusard and Anti-Dreyfusard camps—at turns documentary and satirical, hateful and humorous. “The Image Affair” encourages a critical examination of an event that engaged and galvanized French and international publics alike, emphasizing the key role that new media technologies played in its unfolding.

The exhibition, seminar, catalogue, and related events are sponsored by the Penn Art History Curatorial Seminar Fund, the Lorraine Beitler Lecture Fund, and the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at The University of Pennsylvania.