Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905–1985), The Masks Grow to Us, 1947, gelatin silver print, purchase with funds from Robert Yellowlees, 2015.40.
The High Museum of Art, Emory University’s art history department, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum, supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are proud to offer the Mellon Object-Centered Curatorial Research Fellowship Program. Launched in 2012, the program offers Emory art history doctoral candidates the opportunity to pursue object-based curatorial study under the direction of a collaborative team of curators, scholars, and conservators from the partnering institutions. Each year, up to three students are selected to receive a one-year fellowship plus a full stipend for research and travel in the United States and abroad. Each student is assigned a curatorial mentor to oversee an object-based research project in collaboration with a corresponding faculty adviser. The fellowship culminates with a scholarly paper on the primary object, which is published as part of a digital publication series.
Haley Jones is a sixth-year graduate student at Emory University pursuing a PhD in art history with a focus on African art. She received her BA in art history from Oberlin College in 2017. Her master’s thesis, “Imperfect Documents: Sherrie Levine’s African Masks After Walker Evans” (2019), discusses contemporary artist Sherrie Levine’s 2014 series of appropriated Walker Evans photographs of African masks for the Museum of Modern Art’s 1935 exhibition African Negro Art.
Haley ascended to PhD candidacy in spring 2021. Her dissertation, provisionally titled “Value and Authenticity in African Art Auctions, 2000–2020,” will explore the auction market for historical African art in Europe and North America. Through this project, she will pursue her interests in African art reception as well as conceptions of primitivism, authenticity, and the African art canon. She is currently serving as the Mellon Embedded Object-Centered Curatorial Research Fellow at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where she works with Lauren Tate Baeza, the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art.
Margaret Nagawa is a PhD student focusing on African art history. She is interested in artistic and scholarly connections between East Africa and the southern United States, extending her prior experience as an artist, curator, and educator in East Africa, Europe, and the United States.
Nagawa earned her BA in fine arts with honors from the Margaret Trowell School of Fine Arts, Makerere University, Uganda, and her MA in curating at Goldsmiths, University of London, England.
Anna McKittrick is a PhD candidate at Emory University, specializing in mid-twentieth century American art, design, and photography. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of William and Mary with a major in art history in 2014 and received her MA from Emory in 2019, for a qualifying paper titled “Modernity in the Photographs of Eugène Atget.” Her dissertation will focus on the “‘open’ work” in mid-century American art and will consider the practices of designers Charles and Ray Eames, sculptor Harry Bertoia, and architectural photographers Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller.
Alexandra Zigomalas is a PhD candidate, specializing in Italian Baroque art. She graduated summa cum laude from Stony Brook University in 2018, where she completed honors theses for her art history and history majors.
Alexandra joined the Emory Art History Department in the fall of 2018. In 2020, she earned her MA and completed a qualifying paper titled, “The Other Englishman: Bernini’s Bust of Thomas Baker, 1638.” In this paper, she repositions the Baker bust in the larger context of Bernini’s English patrons. Currently she is working on her dissertation titled, “Bernini’s England: The Artistic Exchange between London and Rome, 1625-1700.” Her dissertation explores Bernini’s own immediate connection to England and the larger world of English patrons and artists whose commissions and collections signal a keen interest in Roman Baroque art.
Haley S. Pierce
Haley S. Pierce is a PhD candidate at Emory University, specializing in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French art. She earned her MA from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she completed her master’s thesis marked for distinction, “Illustrative Painting: The Influence of Printmaking in Fin-de-siècle France.” She received her BA in art history at the College of Charleston with minors in studio art and French.
Before coming to Emory, Haley held curatorial internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and worked in the Impressionist and Modern Art department at Christie’s in New York. She is currently a research assistant in the European Paintings and Drawings and Prints departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Elizabeth Caris is a graduate student studying ancient American art, specifically central Andean ceramics. Before coming to Emory, she received a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. She has 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 a Mellon Embedded Object-Centered Curatorial Research Fellow, Elizabeth will be producing original scholarship on Michael Hizer’s Eight Part Circle (1976) in the Modern and Contemporary Art department at the High Museum of Art, and on a collection of ancient West Mexican ceramics at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum.
Annie received her BA in art history in 2014 from Boston College, where she also 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 art with Sarah McPhee. Last spring, she completed her qualifying paper, “Bernini’s La Predica della Battista: An Epideictic Image.” Her 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 on an ekori headdress created by the Himba people of Namibia at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, focusing on issues of conservation and display. At the High, she is researching Giovanni Battista Gaulli’s The Thanksgiving of Noah, and The Sacrifice of Abraham (ca. 1700) in the European Art department.
Abbey Hafer is a graduate student in the Art History department at Emory University, where she is pursuing a PhD 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 BA 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-Based Curatorial Research, she will be researching the prints of master eighteenth-century etcher Giovanni Battista Piranesi, in the collection of Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, and will be conducting additional research on a Stuart A. Rose Manuscript in the museum’s 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.
Rachel Patt is a doctoral candidate in the Art History department at Emory University, concentrating on ancient Roman art. Her research interests include Roman luxury arts, the Late Antique, survivals of the classical world into Byzantine art, and the reception of antiquity from the Renaissance onwards.
Rachel graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 2009, where she majored in Classics with a focus in Latin. While at Stanford, she guest curated an exhibition at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts titled “Appellations from Antiquity,” which explored the relationship between modern and contemporary art and the ancient mythology from which they derived their titles. She also received her master’s from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a concentration in classical and Byzantine art. Her thesis, “Envisioning an Artist: The Attribution of Ancient Greek Bronzes,” considered the implications of attribution through three case studies of bronze statues. She has held curatorial internship positions at the Getty Villa, where she worked on several exhibitions, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she researched the museum’s gems holdings.
Courtney Rawlings received her BA in 2014 from the University of California, Riverside, where she graduated with high honors in art history and philosophy. As an undergraduate, she 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 PhD in modern art and architecture. Her studies are largely concerned with experimentation in architecture and design in Europe and America from the interwar period to the midcentury.
Emma de Jong
Emma de Jong is a graduate student in art history at Emory University. In 2014, she obtained her BA in art history at the University of York in England. A year later, she completed her MA in art history, curatorship, and renaissance culture at the Warburg Institute in London. For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research, she will be studying The Nurture of Jupiter by the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem.
Nicole Corrigan received her BA in 2014 from the University of Michigan, graduating with highest honors in art history and museum studies. Her honors thesis, “‘The Lady on the Altar’: Miraculous Statuary and Las Cantigas de Santa María,” explored the intermedia relationships between sedes sapientiae sculptures and their representation in a thirteenth-century Castilian codex of Marian miracles. In 2013, she held an internship at the Detroit Institute of Arts, organizing the museum’s manuscript collection in anticipation of its inclusion in the Index of Christian Art.
Nicole entered the program at Emory University in 2014 to continue studying medieval art with Elizabeth Pastan. Her current research interests include the connections between sculpture and manuscript illumination and the place of Marian art within the multi-confessional environment of medieval Iberia.
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. She received her master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and is a recipient of the 2016 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Object-Centered Curatorial Research. She has a BA in art history from Emory University, where she graduated summa cum laude with highest honors on her thesis.
Julianne Cheng is a doctoral candidate in the Art History department at Emory University. She received her BA in art history and history from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2012 and her MA in art history from Emory University in 2016. She has worked at the excavation of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace under Dr. Bonna Wescoat and is currently the manager of the Samothrace Archive. Her research interests are in ancient Greek iconography and pottery, particularly in Attic vase painting. She is currently conducting research for her dissertation, “Making the Ordered Cosmos: The Gigantomachy in Archaic and Classical Athenian Vase Painting.”
Laura Somenzi is pursuing a PhD in art history at Emory University, studying art of the Italian Renaissance with Professor C. Jean Campbell. She received her BA from Johns Hopkins University in art history, with a minor focus in museum studies, in 2013. During her time at Hopkins, she received a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship and an Arts Innovation grant, which allowed her to curate the exhibition Zelda Fitzgerald: Choreography in Color at the Evergreen Museum and Library in Baltimore (October 2011–January 2012). Her senior thesis focused on the fifteenth-century sculptor Agostino di Duccio (traveling and research for this project were supported by a DURA research scholarship). She has recently completed a qualifying paper on the fifteenth-century treatise on architecture and engineering by Francesco di Giorgio and presented a version of the paper at Berkeley’s graduate student conference in the spring of 2014.
John Witty is a PhD 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, John graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a BFA in printmaking and drawing, completing additional majors in German and Art history. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Mark S. Weil Prize for Distinction in Art History and Museum Practice. Before beginning a master’s degree in art history at Williams College, he 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. He also very much enjoyed working as an art handler at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum in St. Louis and the Rubell Family Collection of Miami. He has spoken at undergraduate and graduate conferences at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Indiana. While at the National Gallery, he contributed to an article on Giorgio Vasari’s Libro de’ Disegni published in Facture, a journal of technical art history. He is always interested in adding an experiential dimension to his art history studies, one of the many factors that inspired him to complete the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2012.
Ashley Eckhardt is a doctoral candidate in art history at Emory University, currently researching for her dissertation, “The Crafting of Cult Statues in the High Hellenistic Period.” She also participates in the archaeological excavations at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from St. Norbert College and earned a master’s degree in public history from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree in art history from Washington University in St. Louis.
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 PhD in Greek and Roman art history. She has excavated with Dr. Bonna Daix Wescoat at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace, and outside of Greece and Rome, her numerous interests include the impact of antiquity on later periods and the art of the Ancient Americas. She is currently researching for her dissertation, “Domitian and Minerva at Rome: Iconography and Divine Sanction in the Eternal City” at Emory University.
Catherine Barth is a PhD student in the Art History department at Emory University. She is from Chesapeake, Virginia, and completed her BA in English and Cultural Studies at the College of William & Mary in 2012. She studies modern and contemporary art at Emory, focusing specifically on twentieth-century American photography. Photographers of interest include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Wynn Bullock, and Garry Winogrand. Her current research centers on issues of public and private space, temporality, technology, and sociopolitical change in modern photography.
Elliott Wise is pursuing his PhD in Northern Renaissance Art History at Emory University. 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 currently holds a Jane and Morgan Whitney Dissertation Fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is studying the impact of Middle Dutch mysticism on the fifteenth-century painters Rogier van der Weyden and Robert Campin.
Andi McKenzie is a PhD student in the Art History department of Emory University. She became Assistant Curator of Works on Paper at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in 2011. 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. Her research interests focus on the intersections between Catholicism and Indigenous spirituality in Latin American art as well as printmaking in early modern Germany and the Low Countries. She received her BA in studio art from Berry College and her MA in art history from the University of South Florida.
Cecily Boles is a doctoral candidate in art history at Emory University. Her research interests center on early modern sculpture, particularly portraiture. She received her BA from the University of California in 2005 in French Literature and art history administrative studies. She 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 MA in art history from the University of Toronto, which laid the groundwork for her 2011 article, “The folded mozzetta: an overlooked motif in the portraits of Gian Lorenzo Bernini,” in Sculpture Journal 20, no. 2.
Ashley Laverock is pursuing a PhD in art history at Emory University. 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 will be studying Tilman Riemenschneider’s St. Andrew in the High’s collection. To complete her research, she will travel to Berlin, Germany, to consult with experts on German sculpture, and to Würzburg, Germany, where Riemenschneider lived and worked.
The High Museum of Art regularly conducts research on objects in its collection. Thanks to an initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation, curators and graduate fellows from the department of art history at Emory University are working together to investigate selected objects in the different curatorial areas of the Museum’s collection. This research delves into questions of authorship, subject matter, materials, and technique, and the resulting illustrated papers are now available below in PDF formats.
The Nurture of Jupiter by Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem
Female Figure from a Karan Wemba (Living Ancestress) Mask by a Mossi Artist
Red/Blue Chair by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist with Painting and Model by Romare Bearden
Steps in Transposed Space by Clarence John Laughlin
Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Il Guercino
Jerusalem in Her Desolation by William Wetmore Story
Hero Looking for Leander by William Wetmore Story
Madonna Adoring the Christ Child by Giovanni Francesco da Rimini
Group of eight saint paintings by Lorenzo Costa
Color Light Abstraction 1075 by Wynn Bullock
St. Andrew by Tilman Riemenschneider
Portrait of Antoine-René de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson by Jean-Baptiste Defernex