Fall 2017 marks the beginning of the fourth full year of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. We have already done a good deal for the discipline of art history in North Texas—sponsored and co-sponsored symposia, scholars’ days, lectures, workshops, and festive gatherings for art historians in museums, universities, colleges, and galleries—and beginning to fulfill the mission encouraged by Mrs. O’Donnell of bringing the scattered community of art historians in Dallas-Fort Worth together as often as possible. We have also done very well in providing a nurturing environment for UT Dallas doctoral students, and six newly minted “Drs.” have been sent out into the world. We have brought scholars to Dallas from Switzerland, Italy, and Canada and are about to welcome a new colleague for a year-long visit from Harvard University. All in all, we can look back with pride on three action-packed and exciting years.
We will hold our Fourth Annual Dinner this Fall, and it will be our first to be held at UT Dallas rather than at the wonderful home of our partner, the Dallas Museum of Art. At the dinner we will honor our founder with a premier of a newly commissioned film about her philanthropy and we will let our inner circle in on our ambitious plans for the future. This Fall, we will also inaugurate two international partnerships which we hope to grow into long-term scholarly programs—the first with our colleagues at Nanjing University in China and the second with the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. Who knows—when we begin to think about Africa, perhaps will add Nairobi to Nanjing and Naples!
This Fall, we said a fond, if reluctant, “goodbye” to two esteemed colleagues, Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, who plans to start an ambitious new foundation for Islamic Art in New York, and Dr. David McPhail, who is returning to London after launching our Conservation Science Program, a partnership with the Department of Chemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UT Dallas and its Dean, Dr. Bruce Novak. Look forward to news on both of those fronts.
We extend a big Texas welcome to Dr. Suzanne Preston-Blier, the Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Blier will be with us for a full academic year, has rented an apartment in the heart of downtown Dallas, and is trying to figure out how to live in Dallas without knowing how to drive! She will work both on campus and in an office at EODIAH-DMA (the latter a short walk from “home”), and her plan this year is to complete a new book and to develop an interactive digital map of Africa throughout human history (the longest of any continent). She will work with our colleagues in Arts and Humanties and ATEC as well as with Dr. Roslyn Walker, Acting Chief Curator at the DMA and curator in charge of the museum’s superb collection of African Art.
As for faculty news, Dr. Mark Rosen is in the throes of completing an important new book on the representation of cities from above from its beginnings in the fifteenth century through the era of hot-air balloons in the late eighteenth century—a study which links the arts and the sciences of observation. Dr. Charissa Terranova has completed an edited series of articles, and is hard at work on her third scholarly book, all of which are involved with the history of the visual arts in their intense interaction with the sciences. Dr. Sarah Kozlowski has pursuing projects on fourteenth-century diptychs in Naples and on fictive porphyry versos in Italian panel painting, and will soon be promoted to Associate Director of EODIAH.
This semester we look forward to a series of workshop talks, a study day in collaboration with the DMA, a co-sponsored symposium around the Meadows Museum’s Zurbaràn exhibition, and a number of site visits to Dallas collections.
Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.
Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair