Midwest Art History Society


The Midwest Art History Society brings together academic, museum-based, and independent art historians in the common goal of scholarly inquiry and the exchange of ideas.

MAHS Session at CAA Annual Conference

Sep 21, 2016 Speakers on the MAHS-sponsored panel at the 2017 CAA conference in New York will discuss a Japanese portrait.

MAHS Session at CAA Annual Conference Details

Sep 21, 2016

Icons of the Midwest
February 15–18, 2017, New York

The College Art Association's 2017 Annual Conference will be held in New York on February 15–18. A session sponsored by MAHS as part of its Icons of the Midwest series will feature papers on Watanabe Kazan's Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon (1827), a hanging scroll in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The session will be chaired by Rhiannon Paget of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Buzaemon was a celebrity in early 19th-century Edo (Tokyo), renowned for his seven-foot-tall height. Kazan, in this sensitive work that portrayed the sad discomfort of its subject, used recently imported Western pictorial methods such as perspective, shading, and cast shadow, and employed a camera obscura-like device to capture his sitter’s physical likeness. Three panelists offer different perspectives on the portrait. Sinéad Vilbar (Cleveland Museum of Art) considers the portrait's iconic status and situates the CMA's Japanese portraits within the narrative of portraiture in Japan as a whole. Rhiannon Paget explores the artwork as a product of a new, scientific spirit of Dutch Learning in 18th- and 19th-century Japanese art. Michael Toole (University of Wisconsin-Madison) advances dialogue on representation through application of Tobin Seibers’s theory of disability; his paper explores the culture of spectacle in early modern Japan framed through the lens of disability studies. For information on the CAA conference, click here.

Photo: Watanabe Kazan, Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon (detail), 1827, Cleveland Museum of Art. Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund, 1980.177

Midwest College and University News

Feb 3, 2016 Karen L. Carter, Associate Professor, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, and Susan Waller, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Midwest College and University News Details

Feb 3, 2016

Karen L. Carter, Associate Professor, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, and Susan Waller, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis have published a collection essays, Foreign Artists and Communities in Paris, 1870-1914: Strangers in Paradise (London: Routledge, 2015). It includes sixteen essays examining Paris as a center of international culture that attracted artists from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Americas during a period of burgeoning global immigration. In addition, each presented a paper at the College Art Association annual conference in New York in February 2015: Carter's was entitled "The Transatlantic Influence of the Académie Julian on American Illustration, 1890–1914," and Waller's was entitled "To Pose (V., intransitive, middle voice): To Make One's Self Seen, to Collaborate."

Henry Adams, Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, published his study, Thomas Hart Benton: Discoveries and Interpretations, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, 2015.

William R. Levin, Emeritus Professor, Centre College, published an illustrated booklet on the history and architecture of Jacobs Hall, a mid-nineteenth-century National Historic Landmark in the Italianate style on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville that formerly served as that institution's "Girls Building" and superintendent's residence.  An abridged version of the text will appear in the Kentucky section of Archipedia, the online encyclopedia of classic American buildings and sites published by the Society of Architectural Historians.

Edward J. Olszewski, Emeritus Professor, Case Western Reserve University, has completed funded research on the architectural patronage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740). Studies of unpublished archival documents were conducted in the Vatican archives supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Foundation. The project identified a dozen architects residing in the cardinal's bureaucratic court of the Cancelleria in Rome including Filippo Juvarra and Domenico Gregorini. The results were published as Dynamics of Architecture in Late Baroque Rome: Architects in the Court of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni with DeGruyter Open: Warsaw/London, 2015. Dr. Olszewski was also presented with the John Frederick Lewis Award at the semi-annual meeting of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia for his book, Parmigianino's "Madonna of the Long Neck": A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art, 2014. It is the second of his dozen books to receive the award, and he is only the second CWRU faculty member to be so recognized since the 1960s. The APS was founded by Benjamin Franklin "for the pursuit of useful knowledge."

Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, announces a new B.A. in Art History beginning Fall 2015 http://www.walsh.edu/art-history. The new program complements an existing B.A. in Museum Studies http://www.walsh.edu/museum-studies-program. Both degrees are directed by Katey Brown (Ph.D. Indiana University).

Museums in the Midwest: News

Feb 3, 2016 The Taft Museum of Art presented a one-day symposium on April 16 in conjunction with the exhibition Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape.

Museums in the Midwest: News Details

Feb 3, 2016

The Taft Museum of Art presented a one-day symposium in conjunction with the exhibition Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape. The symposium was held on April 16, 9 am–5 pm. Through 30-minute talks and a panel discussion, the program explored 19th-century French landscape painter Charles-François Daubigny’s innovations, contributions, and interactions with the Impressionists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. In his later years, Daubigny in turn learned from the younger painters. Vincent van Gogh, too, admired Daubigny, as will be explored. Seven American and European scholars discussed Daubigny’s paintings, drawings, and prints in relation to Impressionism and the work of Van Gogh, including Madeleine Fidell-Beaufort (Professor Emerita, American University, Paris), Nienke Bakker (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts (art historian, Paris), and Lynne Ambrosini (Taft Museum of Art). 

The Columbus Museum of Art opened its new 50,000 square foot Margaret M. Walter Wing in October 2015. The event marked the completion of the third and final phase of the Museum’s Art Matters campaign. The $37.6 million project encompassed major renovations to the Ross Wing and lobby area that the Museum added in 1974, and the construction of a new wing. These changes resulted in a unique meeting and special event complex, as well as new gallery spaces to showcase the Museum’s permanent collection and expanded space for high-profile traveling exhibitions. Columbus-based architecture firm DesignGroup led by award-winning architect Michael Bongiorno, a graduate of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, spearheaded the project. Recognized for the talent and innovation applied to numerous urban projects in Ohio, Bongiorno specializes in the design of civic facilities, cultural destinations and residential mixed-use communities. The Walter Wing was featured in the Wall Street Journal article, "The Best Architecture of 2015."

An $11.7 million renovation of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City will showcase the internationally celebrated Marion and Henry Bloch Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art, which will go on permanent view in Spring 2017. The project is funded by the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, which has designated the Nelson-Atkins as one if its legacy organizations. “This is a transformational gift, and it represents great collectors working with our museum directors and art scholars to seek out important works of art that would one day be shared with all of Kansas City,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “Marion and Henry Bloch worked with Ted Coe, director of the Nelson-Atkins from 1977 to 1982, to select these Impressionist works of art. Under the stewardship of Marc Wilson, the Bloch Collection was gifted to the Nelson-Atkins, and now we are working on a transformation of the galleries so that the Bloch Collection shines in a new light. We are deeply grateful to the Blochs not only for the gift of the art, but also for the funding to renovate the galleries.”

To support diversity and workforce development, the KeyBank Foundation announced a $400,000 grant to the Toledo Museum of Art for the establishment of an endowment fund. The KeyBank Fellowship Endowment Fund will support the creation of a fellowship for minority candidates interested in museum leadership career. “This fellowship will not only provide the experience needed in the next generation of museum leaders, but will focus on recruiting candidates that reflect the diverse population of the region,” said Museum Director and CEO Brian Kennedy. The Museum has had a fellowship program in place for three years to provide leadership training at the executive level for post-doctoral candidates. This new fellowship would expand the program to help art museums remain relevant in their communities by training leaders from underrepresented groups. In other TMA news, the museum returned a lavishly-designed, 16th-century astrolabe to the Gotha Museum in Germany. The object is a multifunctional device used to tell time and make astronomical calculations less than 50 years after Magellan’s expedition around the globe. It went missing from the Gotha Museum in the period after World War II. The Toledo Museum purchased it in 1954. Toledo Museum authorities received a letter from the Gotha Museum director in 2013 requesting its return; extensive documentation was also presented. In appreciation for the astrolabe's return, Gotha Museum officials have offered objects to Toledo as a cultural exchange.

Museums in the Midwest: People

Feb 3, 2016 Adelheid "Heidi" Gealt, director of the Indiana University Art Museum since 1989, has announced her retirement.

Museums in the Midwest: People Details

Feb 3, 2016

Adelheid "Heidi" Gealt, director of the Indiana University Art Museum since 1989, has announced her retirement. She assumed the role of director emerita in July 2015. Her successor is Dr. David Brenneman of the High Museum. "We thank Heidi for her many years of service as director," said Lauren Robel, provost of IU Bloomington and executive vice president. "Her leadership helped the museum grow into one of the nation’s finest university museums and one of Bloomington’s true cultural gems."  During her tenure, the IU Art Museum established its first National Advisory Board and grew endowments amounting to over $15 million, with another $22 million in documented planned gifts. Three positions are fully supported by endowments, including the Andrew W. Mellon and Anthony J. Moravec Senior Academic Officer. Established in 1941, the IU Art Museum is one of the foremost university art museums in the United States. It houses a wide variety of internationally acclaimed collections, including ancient gold jewelry, African masks and paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso.

Doug Allen (left) became the first Chief Information Officer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2015. Allen owns a consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations deal with the rapid speed of technological change. “I’m delighted that Doug has a passion for the arts as well as a demonstrated excellence in integrating systems in the for-profit and the not-for-profit worlds,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. As CIO, Allen is responsible for the conception, development, implementation and support of comprehensive information strategies. He ensures the holistic integration of technology to deliver the mission of the Nelson-Atkins, support the staff, and operate the institution. “It’s fascinating to see how many museums have hired CIOs and have invested so much in this position in recent years,” said Zugazagoitia. “I look forward to the Nelson-Atkins joining the national dialogue about enhancing digital platforms that will bring art and people together, generate potential visitors, and provide access to scholars around the world, [while also enhancing] our internal data bases and systems.”

At the Saint Louis Art Museum, Mariah Keller has been appointed head of publications and digital media, where she directs the planning and publication of catalogs and other material relating to collections, exhibitions and education programs. Keller came to the Museum with a distinguished career in editing and publishing, most recently through her company, Keller Editing. She also has edited and managed publication projects at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery and Sackler Gallery, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. MAHS Board Member Judith W. Mann, Saint Louis Art Museum's curator of European art to 1800, was awarded the Samuel H. Kress Foundation AAMC Affiliated Fellowship for 2015 by the Association of Art Museum Curators and the American Academy in Rome. The fellowship honors exceptional curatorial vision by providing funding for curators to carry out research in Rome. Mann will research stone altarpieces for an exhibition on European painting on stone from the 16th to 18th centuries. Since joining the Museum in 1988, Mann has organized major international exhibitions on Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi (also seen in the Rome’s Palazzo Venezia and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Federico Barocci (also seen at the National Gallery, London). The latter received the Association of Art Museum Curators’ Outstanding Monographic Exhibition Award.

Also at the Saint Louis Art Museum, M. Melissa Wolfe joined the staff as curator and head of the Department of American Art. “Melissa Wolfe is an impressive and prolific curator, having organized dozens of groundbreaking exhibitions, symposia, and publications over her career that speak to her creativity and intellectual rigor,” said Jason T. Busch, deputy director for curatorial affairs and museum programs. Wolfe was curator of American art at the Columbus Museum of Art. There her projects included George Bellows and the American Experience (2013), and George Tooker: A Retrospective (2008) were received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art. She also shepherded the acquisition of the Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art, 1930-1970. Wolfe received her Ph.D. in history of art at The Ohio State University. Rhiannon Paget joined the staff in 2015 as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art. A native of Sydney, Australia, Paget is completing her doctoral dissertation on Japanese art at the University of Sydney. She has held positions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the Clark Center for Japanese Art, Hanford, California. Paget’s projects will include an exhibition on Japanese art donated by Charles and Rosalyn Lowenhaupt.

Lucian H. (Hugh) Shockey Jr. joined the Saint Louis Art Museum as head of conservation, supervising a team of conservators working in the museum’s objects, painting, paper and textiles labs. Shockey worked in conservation for the last 10 years as objects conservator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lunder Conservation Center, where he has played a key role in large-scale institutional projects and served as a member of the Smithsonian’s Haiti Cultural Recovery Project following the devastating earthquake of 2010. Shockey holds a Master of Science degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware. He was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian, and has worked in at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Kristen Watts was appointed director of exhibitions and design, where she plans and supervises all aspects of the museum’s robust exhibition schedule. Watts was director of collections and exhibitions at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, where she served as project manager of noteworthy exhibitions and catalogs, including Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100, and Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy. Watts also was project manager for the Mint's expansion and development in 2010. She holds master’s degrees in applied history and library and information science from the University of South Carolina.