The Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Object-Centered Curatorial Research
Administered by a partnership among the Art History Department, the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the High Museum of Art, this fellowship brings together students, faculty, curators, and conservators. Each year, three art history graduate students are awarded fellowships to work directly with objects selected in consultation with faculty and curatorial advisors, and to consider questions of authorship, manufacture, presentation, and preservation. This fellowship is primarily intended for graduate students who have completed at least their first year of studies in the Art History department.
Fellows work with two objects, one of which will be related to their doctoral research; undertake a directed reading course with their faculty advisor; and work with curatorial advisors to develop questions and define the research scope. They engage in independent research, which can include travel to relevant collections, institutions, or libraries in the U.S. or abroad, to examine relevant objects, consult researchers, and review documents. The faculty advisor, conservator, or appropriate field expert is involved in the planning and accompanies the fellow on these research trips.
Fellows also complete the course Issues in the Conservation of Art and Cultural Property, which offers an introduction to a wide range of topics relating to the field of art conservation, including preventive care, loss compensation, materials analysis, evidence of use or alteration, practical work of conservation, as well as the ethics, realities, and decisions that define that practice. To read more about Renee Stein's new course, click here.
Fellows’ research findings are presented in a lecture at the annual Art History Graduate Symposium, at a public museum event, and are published on the High Museum’s website.
Elizabeth Caris is a graduate student studying ancient American art, specifically central Andean ceramics. Before coming to Emory, Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. Elizabeth has also completed internships in curatorial departments at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the Walters Art Museum, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. She recently assisted with the installation, didactics, and online catalogue for the Michael C. Carlos Museum exhibition “Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles.”
As an Object-Based Curatorial Research Fellow, Elizabeth is working with Dr. Rebecca Stone and Dr. Robert Pickering to analyze the Michael C. Carlos Museum’s collection of ancient West Mexican ceramics for traces of their original shaft tomb contexts. At the High Museum of Art, Elizabeth is working with Modern and Contemporary Art curator Michael Rooks to conserve, reinstall, and produce original scholarship on Michael Heizer’s wooden sculpture Circle (1976).
Abbey Hafer is a graduate student in the Art History Department at Emory University where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Italian Baroque art and architecture under the direction of Dr. Sarah McPhee. Abbey graduated summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in 2015 with a B.A. in Art History and Dance. Upon graduation she was awarded the Muriel S. Butkin Art History Award and the Lily Dreyfuss Memorial Award in Dance. She has held internships at the Saint Louis Art Museum and has been involved with multiple digital humanities projects at Emory.
For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Centered Curatorial Research she is researching the prints of master eighteenth-century etcher, Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Her work on prints held by Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum is advised by curator Andi McKenzie. Abbey is conducting additional research on several volumes authored and etched by Piranesi in Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. At the High, Abbey is producing original scholarship on an eighteenth-century Rhode Island doorframe in the Decorative Arts and Design collection under the direction of curators Kevin Tucker and Stephanie Heydt.
Annie McEwen received her B.A. in art history in 2014 from Boston College. At Boston College, she received the Jeffery Howe Art History award for her senior thesis, which focused on the frescoes of Giovanni Battista Gaulli, and his application of Bernini’s theories on monumental painting. Annie entered Emory University’s art history PhD program as a George W. Woodruff Fellow in 2015 to continue studying seventeenth century Italian painting with Sarah McPhee. Last year she completed her qualifying paper, “Bernini’s La Predica della Battista: An Epideictic Image.” Annie’s research interests include Baroque painting, early modern image theory, Jesuit patronage, drawing, emblematics, early modern print culture, and urbanism in Rome.
Over the course of her MOCR Fellowship, Annie will be conducting research at the High Museum on Giovanni Battista Gaulli’s The Thanksgiving of Noah, and The Sacrifice of Abraham (c. 1700) in the European Art department with consulting curator Bill Pressley. She will be focusing on issues of patronage and provenance. Her secondary object is an ekori headdress created by the Himba people of Namibia at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum With the help of curator Amanda Hellman and conservator Renee Stein, Annie is focusing on issues of conservation and display.
Emma C. de Jong
Emma C. de Jong is a graduate student in Art History at Emory University with a focus on 16th and 17th century Northern European prints. Her academic advisor is Dr. Walter Melion. In 2014 she obtained her B.A. in History of Art at the University of York, in the UK. For her B.A. thesis on Goltzius's Metamorphoses print series she received the award for best undergraduate thesis. A year later she completed her M.A. in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture at the Warburg Institute in London, UK.
For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research she studied a small panel painting in the High Museum. The work is entitled ‘The Nurture of Jupiter’ and was painted by the Dutchman Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem in the second half of the 17th century. Her research focused on the relationship between six unique paintings by Berchem, which all depict the myth of the nurture of Jupiter. She was supported in her research by Dr. William Pressly. At the Michael C. Carlos Museum, she worked with curator Amanda Hellman to discover more about a Dan mask and costume from Liberia.
Rachel Patt is a PhD candidate in the Art History department at Emory University, where she is pursuing a doctorate in Roman art history under the supervision of Dr. Eric Varner. Rachel graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 2009 with a B.A. in Classics, concentrating in Latin. She also obtained an M.A. in Classical and Byzantine art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2011. Prior to attending Emory, Rachel held multiple curatorial internships at the Getty Villa and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Over the course of her Mellon fellowship, Rachel studied a Hellenistic gold-band glass alabastron on loan at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Using the vessel as a springboard for understanding Classical luxury glasswares at both compositional and conceptual levels, Rachel worked with Dr. Jasper Gaunt and conservator Renee Stein, and presented her findings at the triennial meeting of the Association Internationale pour l'Histoire du Verre in September of 2018. Her secondary project at the High Museum of Art, under the supervision of curator Carol Thompson, focused on a karan-wemba mask figure from Burkina Faso.
Courtney Rawlings received her B.A. in 2014 from the University of California, Riverside where she graduated with high honors in art history and philosophy. As an undergraduate, Courtney was awarded the Academic Excellence Award in Art History for her honors thesis: “Proprioception and Surrealism: Understanding Alberto Giacometti’s Surrealist Table within a Heideggarian Spatial Complex.” Courtney is currently a graduate student in Emory University’s Art History Department where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in modern art and architecture. Courtney’s studies are largely concerned with experiment in architecture and design in Europe and America from the interwar period to the mid-century.
For her Mellon fellowship, Courtney studied Gerrit Rietved’s “Red and Blue Chair,” in the collection of the High Museum of Art, one of only five from the 1920s and one of the last chairs to be made by Rietveld himself. Her secondary project was to assist with organizing an upcoming exhibition of works by Andy Warhol at the Carlos Museum. Courtney worked alongside Associate Curator of Works on Paper Andi McKenzie and Conservator Liz Schulte to develop concepts for the show, choose prints and photographs that may be of special interest, and research the artist’s materials and methods.
Julianne Cheng is a doctoral candidate in the Art History Department at Emory University. She received her B.A. in Art History and History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 and her M.A. in Art History from Emory University in 2016. She participates in the excavation of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace under Dr. Bonna Wescoat, and is the manager of the Samothrace Archive at Emory. Her research interests are in ancient Greek iconography and pottery, particularly in Attic vase painting. She is currently writing her dissertation, “Making the Ordered Cosmos: The Gigantomachy in Archaic and Classical Athenian Vase Painting.”
As a Mellon Graduate Fellow in Object-Centered Curatorial Research, Julianne used Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to study the preliminary sketch lines on pottery fragments by the late archaic Athenian cup-painter, Onesimos, at the Carlos Museum, under the guidance of Dr. Jasper Gaunt. She was able to travel to collections across the U.S. and Europe in order to conduct RTI on cups and fragments attributed to Onesimos. For her secondary project, Julianne focused on a recent acquisition at the High Museum, a collage by Romare Bearden, Artist with Painting and Model, from his Profile/Part II, The Thirties series. Under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Heydt, she researched and located the collages in the Profile/Part I and II collage series while considering how they fit within his career-long interest in serial works.
Nicole Corrigan received her B.A. in art history and museum studies from the University of Michigan in 2014. She entered the art history program at Emory University in Fall 2014 to study medieval art history with Elizabeth Pastan. Her qualifying paper, titled "La forma y suerte que esta en su santuario: Hybridity, Materiality, and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Extremadura," investigated how religious and artistic interactions between Christians and Muslims impacted the cult and display of the Marian cult statue of Guadalupe in Extremadura. She is currently working on her dissertation, "The Virgin Triumphant: Marian Images and the Medieval Cult of the Saints in Toledo Cathedral," which examines the medieval cult images of the Virgin and Child in Toledo Cathedral as a case study for the rise and development of Marian devotion in thirteenth-century Castile.
Nicole received the Mellon fellowship in 2016 to determine the origins of the so-called "Lyman Madonna," a thirteenth-century statue of the Virgin and Child that had recently been donated to the Michael C. Carlos Museum. She worked on this project primarily with Renée Stein, Chief Conservator of the Carlos Museum. For her secondary object, she worked with curator Sarah Schleuning on a nineteenth-century Eastern Tennessee pie safe, tracing the development and meaning of its painted iconography.
Kimberly Schrimsher is a PhD student at Emory University working under the advisement of Jean Campbell and Sarah McPhee. She is writing her dissertation on the working practices of the Baroque Italian painter Guercino. Schrimsher received her master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has a BA in art history from Emory University where she graduated summa cum laude with highest honors on her thesis.
Her primary project for the Mellon fellowship was a painting of Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Guercino in the High Museum of Art. Over the course of the year, she worked closely with the conservation team at the Atlanta Art Conservation Center and the Michael C. Carlos Museum to gather enough technical evidence to confirm that this painting, long believed to be a workshop copy, is indeed a Guercino original. For her secondary object, Kimberly worked with curator Amanda Hellman on a pair of schrimshawed Nguni cattle horns in the Michael C. Carlos Museum.
Ashley Eckhardt is a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University specializing in ancient Greek art and archaeology. Her dissertation, entitled “The Crafting of Cult Statues in the High Hellenistic Period,” examines the production of cult statues and temples across the Mediterranean in the second century BCE. Prior to arriving at Emory, Ashley earned an M.A. in art history and archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis, an M.A. in public history from Loyola University Chicago, and a B.A. in history from St. Norbert College.
For her Mellon Fellowship research, Ashley examined the Head of a Goddess, a second-century BCE marble head in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, and William Wetmore Story’s Jerusalem in Her Desolation, a nineteenth-century neoclassical sculpture at the High Museum. The Head of a Goddess documents the complex interactions between Greece and Rome in the second century BCE, while Jerusalem exhibits the numerous sources – both ancient and modern – that influenced an important neoclassical sculptor. Ashley had the distinct pleasure of working with Jasper Gaunt, Ancient Greek and Roman curator at the Carlos, and Stephanie Heydt, American Art curator at the High.
Laura Somenzi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Art History department at Emory University and a Doctoral Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. Laura’s research considers the public function of painting in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy and her dissertation project is titled, “Treasuries, Invention and the Teodelinda Chapel in Monza.”
For the Mellon Graduate Fellowship, Laura’s primary project focused on a panel attributed to Giovanni Francesco da Rimini, the Madonna Adoring the Christ Child (c. 1460), now at the High Museum in Atlanta. In addition to the Atlanta panel, there are two very similar Adoration panels attributed to Francesco, one in the Pinacoteca in Bologna, and another in the Tesée Museum in Le Mans. The intention of this project was twofold: to investigate how early twentieth-century connoisseurship created artists and assigned them oeuvres, and to consider the similarities in the three panels as evidence of workshop practices that re-used and adapted shared material. Working with curator Jasper Gaunt, Laura’s second project focused on two marble acanthus reliefs produced by the same Roman workshop active in the first century CE survive today: one in the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, and the other, in the courtyard of Bramante’s Tempietto in San Pietro in Montorio, Rome.
John Witty is a Ph.D. candidate studying early Italian Renaissance Art at Emory University under the guidance of Dr. Jean Campbell. He is pursuing a minor in Italian Baroque art with Dr. Sarah McPhee. Originally from Miami, Florida, John graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Drawing, completing additional majors in German and Art History. Upon graduation, John was awarded the Mark S. Weil Prize for Distinction in Art History and Museum Practice. Before beginning a Masters degree in Art History at Williams College, John worked as an intern at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He has also held internships at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.
John’s primary object for study was a set of eight small sixteenth-century paintings in tempera on panel featuring saints displayed in classicizing architectural niches. His research focused on the contributions of the eminent twentieth-century art historian Roberto Longhi (1890-1970). His secondary object is a set of two Coptic textile fragments from the Michael C. Carlos museum’s department of Egyptian antiquities. The Mellon fellowship provided John with the opportunity to research the fragments with the intention of identifying their materials, production techniques, and original contexts.
Catherine Barth is a PhD Candidate in art history at Emory University, in Atlanta, GA. She received her M.A. from Emory in 2016 and her B.A. from William & Mary in 2012. Catherine has previously held Mellon Graduate Research and Object-Centered Curatorial Fellowships in the Photography Department at the High Museum of Art and is currently the Graduate Curatorial Intern in Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Catherine is writing a dissertation on the Italian-born, American photographer, Frederick Sommer, exploring his position in the art world at mid-century and his relationships with Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
Catherine’s fellowships in the High’s Photography Department were conducted under the guidance of curator Brett Abbott, former Donald and Marilyn Keough Family Curator of Photography and Head of Collections. With Brett, she completed her primary project on the Color Light Abstractions (1960-65) of photographer Wynn Bullock. Little scholarship exists on Bullock’s color photography, so in charting an introductory study of these works Catherine sought to clarify the artist’s intentions and methods of production. Catherine’s secondary project as a MOCR fellow focused on the work of contemporary designer, Johanna Grawunder. For this project, Catherine worked under the direction of curator Sarah Schleuning and interviewed Grawunder to learn more about the unique design of her multi-colored, illuminated piece, Mirror of Italy (Specchio d’Italia) (2005).
Kira Jones graduated in 2008 from the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in classical culture and Latin, at which point she decided to pursue her Ph.D. in Greek and Roman art history. She has excavated with Dr. Bonna Daix Wescoat at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace and pursues a number of interests outside Greece and Rome, such as the impact of antiquity on later periods and the art of the Ancient Americas. She completed her PhD in Art History at Emory University in 2018. Her dissertation is titled, “Domitian and Minerva at Rome: Iconography and Divine Sanction in the Eternal City.”
As part of her fellowship, Kira worked with Dr. Stephanie Heydt to research the High Museum's collection of William Wetmore Story sculptures, focusing on Hero Searching for Leander (1858) and Medea (1864). Story was one of the most well-connected and educated members of Rome's American expatriate community; Kira's findings proved that he both used his considerable knowledge of the classical world when designing his sculptures and worked as an antiquities broker and restorer for the British Museum. Kira also conducted research into the authenticity of an African terracotta figure from the Nok civilization (c. 1000 BCE) with Dr. Carol Thompson.
Andi McKenzie completed her PhD Art History at Emory University in 2018. She is now Curator of Works on Paper at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Her most recent exhibitions include Conserving the Memory: Fratelli Alinari Photographs of Rome and Mirroring the Saints: The Jesuit Wierix Collection from De Krijtberg, Amsterdam. McKenzie’s research interests focus on the intersections between Catholicism and indigenous spirituality in Latin American art, and printmaking in early modern Germany and the Low Countries. McKenzie received her B.A. in Studio Art from Berry College and her M.A. in Art History from the University of South Florida.
Working closely with conservators Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte and Renee Stein and the High Museum’s chief curator David Brenneman, Andi carefully analyzed the technical aspects of an engraving entitled Lo Stregozzo (The Witch’s Procession or the Carcass), created ca. 1525. Andi concluded that the engraving is indeed by the hand of Agostino Veneziano rather than the master Marcantonio Raimondi. For her secondary project, working with conservator Renee Stein and painting conservator Larry Shutts the team set out to determine what treatment Alexander Calder’s Untitled, a painted metal mobile from 1948, needed in order for the sculpture to be exhibited in the High’s galleries.
Elliott Wise received his Ph.D. in Northern Renaissance Art History at Emory University in 2016. His research focuses on the way art functions in the devotion, exegesis, and religious practice of late medieval and Early Modern Europe. He is particularly interested in Eucharistic, liturgical, and Marian imagery and the way it is nuanced by the spiritual traditions of the monastic and mendicant orders. Wise is currently Assistant Professor of Medieval and Northern Renaissance Art History at Brigham Young University.
The projects were completed under the supervision of David Brenneman, chief curator at the High, and Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts. Renée Stein, conservator of Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, arranged for a visit to the Atlanta Art Conservation Center, where the Christ Carrying the Cross panel was examined under magnification, UV light, and fluorescence spectroscopy. The grant also funded several weeks abroad, including a visit to the Rijksbureau voor Kunstgeschichte Documentatie in The Hague, the Groniger Museum of Contemporary Art in the northern Netherlands, an interview with Joris Laarman and private tour of his factory in Amsterdam, a visit to Munich’s Bavarian National Museum, and consultations with curators at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Belvedere, and the German National Museum in Nuremberg. The research on Christ Carrying the Cross has since been published: “Cycles of Memory and Circular Compassion in a Germanic Passion Diptych.” Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 10:1 (Winter 2018) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2018.10.1.1 .
Cecily Boles is a doctoral candidate in Art History at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, under the guidance of Dr. Sarah McPhee. Her research interest centers on Early Modern sculpture, particularly portraiture. She received her B.A. From the University of California, Riverside (2005) in French Literature and Art History Administrative Studies. Cecily interned at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Museum of Photography, and The Phillips Collection. Later she worked in Education at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2009, she received her M.A. from the University of Toronto in Art History, which laid the groundwork for her article: “The folded mozzetta: an overlooked motif in the portraits of Gian Lorenzo Bernini,” in Sculpture Journal 20.2 (2011).For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research she researched the under-life-size terracotta portrait bust of Antoine-René de Voyer d’Argenson (1722–1787), known as the Marquis de Paulmy (c. 1675). Working under the guidance of David Brenneman, Director of Collections and Frances B. Bunzl Family Curator of European Art, she focused on questions of biography, attribution, and technical study. She also investigated three photographic prints - Palma Cuernavaca, (1925); Shells, (1927); and North California, (1937) by the California photographer Edward Weston (1886–1958) working with Brett Abbott, the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family Curator of Photography.
Ashley Laverock graduated in 2016 with a Ph.D. in Art History at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Arts in Art History from Tufts University. Her dissertation focuses on the visual hagiography of St. Margaret of Antioch in thirteenth-century stained glass across Europe. As the 2012 recipient of the Mellon-Funded Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research, Ashley studied Tilman Riemenschneider’s St. Andrew in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection. To complete her research she traveled to Berlin, Germany, where she consulted with experts on German sculpture, and to Würzburg, Germany, where Riemenschneider lived and worked.
For both her primary and secondary objects Ashley worked closely with former High Museum Curator of European Art, David Brenneman, Curator of American Art Stephanie Heydt, and Michael C. Carlos Museum conservator Renee Stein. For her primary object, she studied Riemanschneider’s St. Andrew from 1505. Ashley focused on questions of attribution, workshop practices, initial context, and whether or not the sculpture was originally polychrome. Notably, Ashley uncovered evidence of sixteenth-century polychrome on the statue of St. Andrew and hypothesized about the original state of the sculpture and the degree to which it was painted. Her secondary object, Benjamin West's Arethusa presented a different set of questions centered on conservation, provenance, and the placement of this painting within West's oeuvre.