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During the academic year CASVA organizes scholarly meetings that range in size and duration from multiday gatherings with audiences to individual lectures and closed roundtable discussions. Meetings are held primarily at the National Gallery of Art and occasionally at other institutions, both in this country and abroad. Subjects include themes related to the history of the visual arts of any period and geographic location and to all media.

The program of special meetings includes symposia, conferences, colloquies, seminars, study days, and incontri. Symposia and conferences are multiday presentations of formal papers with audience participation. Colloquies (usually focused on objects in the Gallery's collection), seminars (thematic), study days (special exhibitions), and incontri (informal talks by visiting scholars) are small gatherings in which scholars in related fields are invited to participate. Symposia are published as volumes in the series Studies in the History of Art; some seminars are published in CASVA’s Seminar Papers series.

The program of regular meetings includes shoptalks and colloquia presented by fellows and professors in residence.

The lecture program includes three named lecture series: the Gallery’s annual A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, the biennial Wyeth Lecture in American Art, and the annual Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art. Other occasional lectures occur during the academic year. CASVA also cosponsors, with the University of Maryland, the annual Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art, presenting graduate student research.



The Sixty-Seventh A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 2018

Positive Barbarism: Brutal Aesthetics in the Postwar Period

Hal Foster, Princeton University

April 8 Walter Benjamin and His Barbarians
April 15 Jean Dubuffet and His Brutes
April 22 Georges Bataille and His Caves
April 29 Asger Jorn and His Creatures
May 6 Eduardo Paolozzi and His Hollow Gods
May 13 Claes Oldenburg and His Ray Guns

Sundays, 2:00 pm, East Building Auditorium

 (PDF 422KB)

Image by Sandy Tait



Boundary Trouble: The Self-Taught Artist and American Avant-Gardes
February 16–17, 2018
East Building Auditorium
Program (PDF 428KB)

Title: Portrait of Clarissa Strozzi at two years of age [Clarissa Strozzi im Alter von 2 Jahren]; Image ID: BERLIN_DB_10313748491


Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice? Titian’s Portrait of Clarice Strozzi
Beverly Louise Brown, The Warburg Institute
November 19, 2017

Watch or listen online.



Wyeth Lecture in American Art

The Panorama and the Globe: Expanding the American Landscape in World War II
Cécile Whiting, University of California, Irvine
October 25, 2017

Watch or listen online.


Wyeth Foundation for American Art Symposium

The African American Art World in Twentieth-Century Washington, DC
March 16–17, 2017

Speakers included Rhea L. Combs, Gwendolyn H. Everett, Paul Gardullo, Tuliza Fleming, Jacqueline Francis, Lauren Haynes, Amy Kirschke, Robert G. O'Meally, Richard J. Powell,  Jacquelyn D. Serwer, Elsa Smithgall, Jeffrey C. Stewart, John A. Tyson, and Tobias Wofford. Session moderators were Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Charles Brock, and Huey Copeland. The symposium also featured a panel of artists moderated by Ruth Fine and including Lilian Thomas Burwell, Floyd Coleman, David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Keith A. Morrison, Martin Puryear, Sylvia Snowden, and Lou Stovall. Program (PDF 433KB)

Watch or listen to the artists panel online.

Image: Alma Thomas, Red Rose Cantata, 1973. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Vincent Melzac


The Sixty-Sixth A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 2017

The Forest: America in the 1830s
Alexander Nemerov, Stanford University

March 26 Herodotus among the Trees
April 2 The Tavern to the Traveler: On the Appearance of John Quidor's Art
April 9 The Aesthetics of Superstition
April 23 Animals Are Where They Are
April 30 Emerson, Raphael, and Light Filtering through the Woods
May 7 The Forest of Thought: On the Roof with Robert Montgomery Bird

Watch or listen online.

Contact Us

Telephone: (202) 842-6480
Fax: (202) 842-6733
E-mail: [email protected]

Mailing Address
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

For additional information on past symposia, colloquia, seminars, and lectures, refer to the Center Reports.