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News from the Center

View updates from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, including upcoming and recent programs, fellowship deadlines, recordings, and publications.


Happening Now

The 70th A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts
Contact: Art and the Pull of Print
Jennifer L. Roberts, Harvard University

April 25: Pressure
May 2: Reversal
May 9: Separation
May 16: Strain
May 23: Interference
May 30: Alienation

Each lecture will premiere on the date listed and will remain on the National Gallery's website for public viewing. No registration is required. 

Learn more and watch the lectures.


New Undergraduate Internship Program

The Center has established a multiyear undergraduate paid internship program in partnership with Howard University and with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This four-year pilot program aims to create pathways to careers in museums and arts-related organizations for students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions that serve populations that are underrepresented in the museum field. 

Read the press release.


Recent Symposium

Wyeth Foundation for American Art Symposium
Feminism in American Art History
December 4–11, 2020

This annual program supported by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art was a two-part symposium consisting of eight prerecorded lectures and a live panel discussion.

Presentations by Kirsten Pai Buick, Aruna D’Souza, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Lisa Farrington, Jessica Horton, Jenny Lin, Helen Molesworth, and Jennifer Van Horn were available between December 4 and December 18, 2020.


New Article

From the Bulletin
Gilbert Stuart and the Representation of the Nation

Bulletin 62 (Fall 2020)

Portraiture is a genre in which the subject and its context, both physical and historical, have infinite possibilities for interpretation and understanding. This article by Dean Steven Nelson reflects on the artist’s Gibbs-Coolidge paintings, the only surviving set of works depicting the first five presidents of the United States, showing how they are situated in both past and present narratives of national identity. He discusses the portraits’ relationship to changing definitions of American ideals and how the National Gallery of Art as an institution must strive to expand this representation and address the absences in its narrative.

Download (PDF 269KB)


Forthcoming Publication

Bollingen Series
The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855‒1280
Vidya Dehejia, May 2021

Leading art historian Vidya Dehejia presents the first book to put the sacred and sensuous bronze statues from India’s Chola dynasty in social context.

Part of the Bollingen Series of Princeton University Press, this publication follows The 65th A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, presented by Dehejia in the spring of 2016. Watch or listen to the six-part series.

Lorenzo Monaco, Madonna and Child, 14131413

Recent Lecture

Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art
Telling the Past Differently: Italian Renaissance Art in the Hands of the Beholder

Megan Holmes, University of Michigan

Watch / Listen

Margaret Burroughs, Black Venus, c. 1957c. 1957

New Fellowship

Beinecke Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
The Center announces the creation of the Beinecke Postdoctoral Fellowship—a biennial appointment for two consecutive academic years. The inaugural Beinecke Postdoctoral Fellowship will be awarded from September 2021–August 2023 and was made possible through the generosity of Frederick W. Beinecke and his family in response to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Endowment Challenge Grant.

Read the press release

To our left, a young woman sits facing us on a low stone wall at the base of vertical, black bars of an iron fence and a young girl stands facing away from us to our right in this horizontal painting. Both have pale white skin. The woman looks directly at us with dark eyes as she holds an open book, a closed red fan, and a sleeping brown and white puppy in her lap. Her long auburn hair falls down over her shoulders. Her navy-blue dress is accented with white piping on the skirt, collar, and sleeves, and has three large, white buttons down the front and her black hat is adorned with two red poppies and a daisy. The girl wears a sleeveless white, knee-length dress belted with a marine-blue sash tied in a large bow at her back. The girl’s tawny-blond hair is pulled up and tied with a black ribbon. She raises her left hand to grasp the bar of the fence she faces. A bunch of uneaten green grapes lies on the low wall to our right. A plume of steam fills much of the space beyond the black fence, which spans the width of the painting and extends off the top edge. A few details are discernable beyond the fence, including a stone-gray building with two wooden doors to our left and a bridge along the right edge.

Recent Presentation

Reflections on the Collection: The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professors at the National Gallery of Art
David Bomford on Édouard Manet’s The Railway (1873)

Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professor, 2018

David Bomford (former conservation chair, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and 2018 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professor at the National Gallery of Art) discusses the importance of  Édouard Manet’s The Railway (1873), painted at a pivotal moment both in the artist’s  life and for the city of Paris.  Identifying the setting and the sitters in the painting as well as Manet’s innovations in painting technique, Professor Bomford shares what makes this painting one he most admires in the collection.


Annual Report

Center 40: Record of Activities and Research Reports, June 2019–May 2020 (PDF 10.7MB)

This year the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts welcomed fellows in residence from Canada, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The topics of their research ranged from the response to industrially produced metals in mid-nineteenth-century France to the emergence and reception of Michelangelo’s non finito, from Japanese export lacquer for an Iberian clientele at the turn of the seventeenth century to work of the Italian artist Jacopo Bassano in the context of agricultural transformation on the Venetian mainland, and from sensory perceptions among the Yorùbá people to conceptual and performance art and social commentary in Chile from 1977 to 1983. Read more


2020–2021 Members Announced

The Center announces new academic year appointments. For the safety of members and staff, the academic year will begin in a remote environment. Members will benefit from the digital resources, database subscriptions, and interlibrary loan services of the National Gallery of Art Library, and fellows and professors will present and discuss their research virtually.

Read the press release
Learn more about Center Fellowships


Recent Publication

The Global Reception of Heinrich Wölfflin's Principles of Art History
Studies in the History of Art, Volume 82
Edited by Evonne Levy and Tristan Weddigen, June 2020

Can the reception of a single, widely disseminated book offer a historical road map for a global art history? This is the question posed by the editors of this volume of essays, which charts the enduring response to the Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History, first published in German in 1915. Translated into 22 languages and still in print in many of them, Wölfflin’s book inaugurated an art history based entirely on “forms of seeing” and employing a comparative method. Many of the translators and transmitters of the text are represented in essays on the book’s readership in Europe, North and South America, and South and East Asia. From its reception, positive and negative, the first genealogy of a global art history emerges.


New Visiting Senior Fellowships

Leonard A. Lauder Visiting Senior Fellowships
The creation of the Leonard A. Lauder Visiting Senior Fellowships will support scholars researching historically underrepresented areas of art-historical study. The first cycle of fellowships will support those focusing on the arts of African Americans, Africa, and the African diaspora.

Read the press release
Learn more about Center Fellowships



The 69th A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts
Transparence and Ambiguity: The Modern Space of Axonometry
Yve-Alain Bois, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

Fall 2022 dates to be announced.


New Dean Announcement

Professor Steven Nelson Announced as New Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

The National Gallery of Art announced the appointment of Steven Nelson as dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Nelson is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center (2018–2020), on leave from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he is professor of African and African American art history and director of the UCLA African Studies Center. Nelson will become the Center's third dean since its founding in 1979 and will succeed Elizabeth Cropper, who will retire in late May 2020. Nelson will begin his tenure in July.