Category: Research Notes

Trying to square oddball works against thoroughly convincing interpretations of the rest of the oeuvre can be a fruitless exercise. At the Huntington, there is one such painting by William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), “The Inner Studio, Tenth Street,” which offers a counter narrative to prevailing interpretations of his work.

Through extensive primary source research, I was able to uncover evidence that strongly supports the attribution to Hesselius and assembled a more complete history of the picture and the family who owned it for almost two centuries before donating it to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1962. I have also unraveled the relationship between this portrait and an 1870 copy by the little-known American painter Charles Walker Lind (c. 1842–c. 1880).

This essay focuses attention on the little-known third edition from 1948 of Helen Gardner’s art history survey text, Art Through the Ages, in which Gardner (1878–1946), a University of Chicago-trained art historian and professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, mounted what may have been the first attempt to write a rigorously global history of art.

Last spring, I found enlightenment in the Winterthur Library. I was there to look for images of nudes on tobacco advertisements, and I did find some, but also stumbled across some surprising and unexpectedly beautiful chromolithographs that provided an epiphany about the relationship between censorship and culture at the turn of the twentieth century.

In the course of researching my dissertation “Animal Pursuits: Hunting and the Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century America,” I have often had occasion to consider (and sometimes lament) the unequal relationships between humans and animals that are frequently pictured in art.