Art history grad students receive prestigious fellowships
Lynley Ann Herbert
Melody Barnett Deusner
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8:48 a.m., May 11, 2009----It has been a banner year for fellowships for doctoral students in the University of Delaware's Department of Art History. Three doctoral students have received prestigious and highly competitive fellowships, and several other graduate students have won predoctoral and summer fellowships, as well.

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Lynley Anne Herbert will be Carol Bates Curatorial Fellow at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and Melody Barnett Deusner and Catherine Reed Holochwost will be Douglass Foundation Fellows at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

“In today's tough culture and art market, the success of our students in prominent institutions once more confirms what has always been the case: that our department stands firmly visible in our discipline through true and tried excellence,” said Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmeyer, chairperson of the Department of Art History.

Herbert's main focus is medieval art, and she also is interested in Latin American colonial art. Her master's thesis at UD was on an influential, 13th century artist, Duccio di Buoninsegna and his role as a medieval rather than Renaissance artist.

“I have always loved medieval art. The term Dark Ages gives a negative perception to art that is rich, complex and sophisticated,” Herbert said.

Her research has focused on an eighth century Carolingian manuscript from Charlemagne's court. Herbert spent a summer in Poitiers, France, examining the parchment manuscript which is decorated in gold and silver with a painting of Christ surrounded by evangelical symbols, human bodies with animal heads -- a lion representing Mark, an eagle for John, a bull for Luke and a man representing Matthew. There are many double images and layers of meanings with a composition representing the cross and also Christ enthroned, she said.

Herbert, a graduate of the University of Maryland with a master's degree from UD, said she will feel at home at the Walters Museum. Previously, she has worked there in membership sales and as an education assistant. She is looking forward to working with William Noel, the curator of medieval manuscripts, where she will be carrying out research and helping to digitize the collection to make it more widely available.

A graduate of Rhodes College with a master's degree from UD, Deusner was assistant curator of education and then interim curator at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art before coming to UD. She is interested in the Aesthetic Movement with its emphasis on beauty and the collectors who gave their works of art to museums.

Her dissertation topic, “A Network of Association: Aesthetic Painting and its Patrons, 1870-1914” examines the development and dissemination of Aesthetic ideas through patronage and artistic networks in England and the United States. Some of the collectors she is studying were founders and patrons of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She is currently in England on a Kress Foundation Travel Fellowship and is conducting research at the British Library, the National Archives of Scotland, the University of Glasgow and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. She will present a paper at a symposium on artistic exchange between Britain and the U.S., and will discuss paintings and decorative objects in England whose final destination was a New York mansion.

She also received UD's Robert R. Davis Graduate Fellowship in Art History for 2009-10. In the past, she has received the Robert T. and Anne R. Silver Award for teaching art history at UD, the Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) dissertation fellowship and a Terra Foundation fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Holochwost is a graduate of Yale University and has a master's degree from Rutgers University, where she taught courses in art history and African-American art, as well as teaching at UD. She has been a fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, coordinated outreach at the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Museum in New Jersey and was an intern at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York and at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Her research focuses on American 19th century landscapes. Her dissertation topic is “Landscape as Machine: Vision and Imagination in 19th Century American Painting.”

“I am looking at the paintings of the Hudson River School artists, such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church, but am approaching their paintings differently as reflections of reverie and enchantment. Many of the paintings I will be researching are in the Metropolitan Museum in their collection of American paintings and sculpture, where I will be working,” she said.

Other art history graduate students receiving fellowships are:

Nenette Luarca-Shoaf, Smithsonian American Art Museum predoctoral fellowship and American Antiquarian Society short-term fellowship;

Catherine Walsh, Smithsonian American Art Museum predoctoral fellowship;

Tanya Pohrt, Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS predoctoral fellowship in American art and Winterthur Museum research fellowship; and

Katie Wood and Julie McGinnis, summer fellowships in American art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Article by Sue Moncure