The Thiele Family Monument: Vision of a Heavenly Future

    Annette Stott, Professor, School of Art and Art History, University of Denver

    For over one hundred years a granite lady-angel has stood beside a life-size seated granite businessman while gazing at a carved cherub below. For a century passers-by have pondered this unusual family, immortalized in stone on a Wisconsin cemetery plot.

    Marmorean Ballplayer: Sheriff John McNamee of Brooklyn and His Sculptural Career in Florence

    Paul H. D. Kaplan, Professor of Art History, State University of New York, Purchase

    In the third quarter of the nineteenth century, both baseball and sculpture could serve as markers of and conduits for ascending class and cultural identity, and the remarkable career of John McNamee (c. 1827–1895) brings these two realms together in an unfamiliar but revealing fashion.

    State of the Field: American Sculpture

    In this suite of short essays, three specialists in the history of American sculpture consider the history of its formation and the direction of its future course: Roberta K. Tarbell, “Fifty Years of the History of American Sculpture”; Elise Madeleine Ciregna, “Cemeteries and Ideal Sculpture”; and Jennifer Wingate, “Sculpture and Lived Space.”

Bully Pulpit

What are Museums For?

Jacqueline Francis, Guest Bully Pulpit Editor

Long before I met an art historian and long before I trained to become one, I knew that museums were sources and resources and that they were sites of social and cultural capital. I also did not expect museums to connect with me, and I did not care much if they did.

Research Notes

Looking through the Skiascope: Benjamin Gilman and the Invention of the Modern Museum Gallery

Steven Lubar, Department of American Studies, Brown University

Benjamin Ives Gilman (1852–1933) was a key player in the early twentieth-century debate over the proper way for museums to display art. He invented the skiascope to ensure that museum visitors saw art as he thought best—without distraction. Unfortunately, as far as I was able to determine, no skiascope survives. And so I built one.

“It’s in My Mind”: William Merritt Chase and the Imagination

James Glisson, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden

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.

A Portrait of Samuel Finley Attributed to John Hesselius

Megan Holloway Fort, Independent Art Historian

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).