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).