Home > Research > Symposia & Conferences > Whistler Object Study Workshop

Whistler Object Study Workshop

About the Workshop

In conjunction with the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies, the Freer Gallery of Art is offering a four-day (June 9–12, 2014) object study workshop for advanced graduate students and recent PhDs in American or British art history. The workshop provides an immersive experience in the study of paintings, prints, and other works on paper from the Freer’s unparalleled collection of art by James McNeill Whistler. Space is limited. Participants are selected through a competitive application process that closes March 3, 2014. A generous grant from the Lunder Foundation covers travel within the continental United States and hotel accommodations for four nights.

Sophisticated visual analysis—a hallmark of the study of art history—depends on taught and practiced skills that are acquired through the direct study of objects. Yet as graduate art history curricula have expanded to include training in methodology, historiography, and theory, training in object study has all but disappeared. Student participants in this workshop will work and study with curators and conservation staff at the Freer to develop skills necessary for engaging with objects. They will also become aware of conservation issues not readily encountered in typical graduate art history curricula. Throughout the workshop, participants will consider how focusing on the object might reinforce and/or problematize existing theoretical and contextual assumptions about Whistler’s place in the history of art. Click here to apply.

About the Consortium

The Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies is dedicated to encouraging, producing, and disseminating original scholarship and critical analysis of James McNeill Whistler and his international artistic circles. The consortium members are the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Colby College Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Glasgow. As the guardians of the world’s largest and finest collections of works by Whistler, the consortium partners share a responsibility to increase public understanding of this internationally significant artist and the rich cultural contexts in which he worked.

In the past two decades, Whistler studies have expanded to include conservation science, cross-cultural analysis, and interdisciplinary approaches, in addition to important new monographs, a wide range of exhibitions, edited correspondence, and catalogues raisonnés. Our mission is to provide ongoing institutional support for such studies and to make Whistler scholarship available to a wide range of audiences, including art historians, museum visitors, and students at all levels.

How to Apply

The application deadline for this workshop is March 3, 2014, with decisions announced by April 15.

Applications must be submitted electronically as a single pdf and include:

  • Application cover sheet
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Graduate school transcript (unofficial is acceptable)
  • Five hundred-word statement discussing why the workshop is of interest; relevant previous research, classroom work, or teaching experience; and the impact it will have on future research and professional development
  • One letter of recommendation from a professor of American or British art history. This may be sent via email, but it must come from the email address of the person writing the recommendation.
  • Please use the subject line “Lunder Consortium Workshop” when submitting your application. Email it to foom@si.edu.

Direct inquiries to foom@si.edu.

Detail, Reading by Lamplight by James McNeill Whistler

Reading by Lamplight
James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
1858
Etching and dry point
Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1905.114