Paoletti Travel Research Fellowships Announced!

The Art History Program is pleased to announce four Art History majors will be receiving the John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship, which is awarded yearly to members of the junior class.

Olivia Andrews, Bailey Chapin, Emma Flaherty and Sabrina Tian

The purpose of the fellowship is to fund research related to an honors thesis during the summer before or winter of the senior year. It is intended for advanced students who have demonstrated a commitment to art historical study and a strong aptitude for writing and research. In addition to a solid background in art history, knowledge of relevant foreign languages, and the support of an art history faculty senior thesis advisor, recipients must have formulated an original, coherent, and methodologically informed research project related to the study of art objects, material culture, cultural sites, and/or architecture. Funds are primarily intended to be used for travel to archives and specific collections and/or sites; in select cases they may also be used to defray the cost of research materials, such as scans from archives and hard-to-find books. 

Congratulations to Olivia, Bailey, Emma and Sabrina! Read on to hear more details of their intended travel research.

Olivia Andrews ’24

“The Emergence of Cape Verdean Visual Culture Post-Independence”

The conception of Cape Verde is marked by the alleged discovery of the archipelago by the Portuguese during the mid-fifteenth century, bringing enslaved West African people along with them to the desolate islands and creating a nation of mixed-race people. With social and religious freedom under attack throughout the five centuries leading up to independence, artistic expression was also stifled during this time, barring opportunities for Cape Verdeans to formulate  a robust art culture indigenous to the archipelago and, in turn, pushing many artists to explore their craft in Portugal and other European countries. Cape Verdean independence on July 5, 1975, however, marks the re-conception of Cape Verde. During this time, artists began to flock home and join together in revitalizing Cape Verdean national identity via. artmaking.​​ With hints of West African and Portuguese artistic traditions, a musicality akin to local music and dance, and glimpses of Cape Verdean artisanal craftsmanship peaking through works from this time, this thesis dissects mainly paintings, sculptures, photographs, and films – teasing out the various influences that played a role in the birth of a uniquely Cape Verdean visual culture.

Bailey Chapin ’24

“Joan Mitchell in Paris and Vétheuil” 

As a John T. Paoletti research fellow, I will be traveling to France this summer to research Joan Mitchell (1925-1992). I will be conducting archival research in Paris, as well as visiting the painter’s former home and studio in the French countryside of Vétheuil. My project centers on the artist’s later career in France after 1959, examining a shift in Mitchell’s work from the aesthetics of New York action-painting to a more lyrical, color-focused approach to composition in France. I will be tracing critical reception of Mitchell’s work throughout her time in Paris and Vétheuil, working to uncover new artistics dialogues between the United States and France in the twentieth century. Revisiting and responding to Linda Nochlin’s “A Rage to Paint: Joan Mitchell and the Issue of Femininity” (2002), my work will take on the critical lens of feminist theory. My project will reframe gender dynamics of the dialogue between Mitchell and a nineteenth-century French landscape tradition, particularly looking at Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. I am excited to immerse myself this summer in the abstract world of Mitchell’s large-scale compositions, delving into the incredible life and work of one of the most groundbreaking and influential female artists of the twentieth century. 

Emma Flaherty ’24

“The Artist as Cultural and Religious Pilgrim: Dutch Artists in Renaissance Italy”

While the influx of Northern Artists working in Italy during the Renaissance has been widely studied, not as much attention is paid specifically to the study of Dutch Renaissance artists in Italy and Rome. My thesis will examine the advent of Northern artists adopting a Southern style through a specifically Dutch lens, and, more narrowly, the experience of the traveling Dutch artist-pilgrim as opposed to the expatriate. I am interested in how mobility affects not only subject matter and style, but also medium and support. I will primarily be exploring the artwork of Jan van Scorel and his pupil Maerten van Heemskerck, with their respective “pilgrimages”. While van Scorel traveled to the Holy Land in Jerusalem via Italy, what is a more traditional pilgrimage, van Heemskerck treated his travel to Rome in very similar ways, becoming a sort of “cultural” pilgrim enthralled in the vestiges of Roman antiquity. Supported by the John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship, I will conduct research in the Netherlands at museums and cultural institutions to explore the Italianate legacy of these artists, re-shaping the way we think about pilgrimage and artistic creation.

Sabrina Tian ’24

“Between Japan and America: On Kawara’s Personal Conceptualism”

Art historian Reiko Tomii writes that “linking diasporas to a mother country remains a task for historians of postwar Japanese art.” Japanese emigrant artists have been understudied despite the fact that their contributions to art history may expand our understanding of theories such as conceptualism. As a member of the Japanese diaspora, Kawara benefitted from access to both American and Japanese artistic circles, producing a rich synthesis of resonances between these two countries. His use of systems, language, and data collection situate him in the American post-minimalist dialogue while the intimate, existential tones of his work are closely related to trends in Japanese conceptualism. What Kawara chooses to retain from practices in his mother country and what he chooses to adopt from American modernism combine into a meticulous documentation of the every day that can be interpreted as an effort to remember every detail of a fleeting life. My thesis aims to bridge the literature between Japanese and American art criticism and theory through a study of Kawara’s work and personal form of conceptualism.

Click here for more information on the Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship