If Wallpaper Could Talk

September 23, 2016

Rob Emlen, University Curator & Senior Lecturer in the Department of American Studies, Brown University, discusses the French scenic wallpaper maker Zuber et Cie’s 1834 “Vues d’Amerique du Nord” installed in the Nightingale-Brown House

In partnership with “Flocked, Blocked, and Stenciled”: A Providence Wallpaper Event

This scenic block-printed paper is noteworthy for its idealized egalitarian depiction of Jacksonian America, interpreting images of Native American and African American figures as a distinguished part of the American landscape. Join us as Professor Emlen explores these idealized French notions of democracy in the United States of the 1830s. Exhibit on view will feature contemporary wallpaper designs by local artists.


Rob Emlen is a Visiting Scholar in American Studies at Brown University and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He recently retired as university curator and senior lecturer in American Studies at Brown, and as a part-time faculty member in the Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. During his 34 years at Brown he conducted much of the research for his book Imagining the Shakers in the collections of the John Hay Library.

This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: Art History, Art, and Design, History