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FACULTY Faculty

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  • Wendy Bellion, Professor; Sewell C. Biggs Chair in American Art History; Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies

    Professor; Sewell C. Biggs Chair in American Art History; Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies
    American Art and Material Culture
    Ph.D. Northwestern University
    University of Delaware
    323 Old College
    Newark, DE 19716
    302-831-8674

    Biography

    Professor Wendy Bellion (Ph.D. Northwestern University) teaches American art history and material culture studies. She is also Co-Director of the university’s Center for Material Culture Studies. Professor Bellion's scholarship takes an interdisciplinary approach to American visual and material culture, focusing on the late colonial and early national United States and exploring American art within the cultural geographies of the British Atlantic world and early modern Americas. Her latest book, Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment (2019), explores a history of material violence in New York City from the 1760s to the 1930s, tracing acts of political iconoclasm and the return of destroyed things in visual representations and civic performances. Her book Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011), which was awarded the 2014 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Outstanding Scholarship by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines the exhibition of illusionistic paintings and optical devices within post-revolutionary cultures of sensory discernment and undeceiving. Bellion is also co-editor (with Prof. Mónica Domínguez Torres) of Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio. Her publications include essays on trompe l'oeil representation, sculpture, drawing instruments, theatrical illusion, and art-historical methodologies.

    Professor Bellion taught at Rutgers University and the College of William and Mary before joining the University of Delaware in 2004. As the Terra Foundation for American Art/Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art Visiting Professor in 2015, she taught at the Université de Paris 7 (Paris Diderot) and the École Normale Supérieure. An elected member of the American Antiquarian Society, she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), Henry Luce Foundation, Library Company of Philadelphia, National Endowment for the Humanities, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Winterthur Museum. She has contributed to exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Newberry Library, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Appointed as a trustee of the Biggs Museum of American Art by the governor of Delaware, she serves on the Executive Board for the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA) and on editorial boards for Bloomsbury, the University of Delaware Press, and the journal Winterthur Portfolio.

    Professor Bellion advises graduate students in American art history and serves on the Executive Committee of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. Her undergraduate courses include surveys of American art history and seminars on topics including fakes and forgeries, illusionism, and the Peale family in Philadelphia. Her graduate seminars include courses on methods and historiography, iconoclasm, sculpture, and the transcultural arts of the colonial Americas.

    Selected Publications

    “Pitt on a Pedestal: Sculpture and Slavery in Late Eighteenth-Century Charleston,” European Journal of American Studies, 14:4 (2019)

    "Iconoclasm in America: From Ritual to Reenactment," Memoria e Ricerca 57:1 (2018)

    Introduction and editor, "Art and Destruction," American Art 31:1 (2017)

    "Mast Trees, Liberty Poles, and The Politics of Scale in Late Colonial New York," in Scale, ed. Jennifer L. Roberts, Terra Foundation Essays, vol. 2 (Terra Foundation for American Art, 2016)

    "'Here Trust Your Eyes': Vision, Illusion, and the Chestnut Street Theatre," Early American Literature 51:2 (2016)

    "Land Shark: Copley's Reiterative Acts of Representation," American Art 30:2 (2016)

    Introduction and editor, "Art Follows Empire: New Perspectives on Early American Art," Perspective: La Revue de l'INHA (2016)

    "Teaching across the Borders of North American Art History," co-author Mónica Domínguez Torres, in The Blackwell Companion to American Art (eds. John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, Jason Lafountain, 2015)

    "The Sculpture Club," in Samuel F.B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention (Terra Foundation for American Art, 2014)

    "City as Spectacle: William Birch and the Chestnut Street Theatre," Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 32:1 (2012)

    Introduction and guest co-editor (with Mónica Domínguez Torres), Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America, Winterthur Portfolio 45:2/3 (2011)

    "Patience Wright's Transatlantic Bodies," in Shaping the Body Politic: Art and Political Formation in Early National America, eds. Maurie McInnis and Louis Nelson (University of Virginia Press, 2011)

    "The Return of the Eighteenth Century," American Art 19:2 (2005)

    "Extend the Sphere: Charles Willson Peale's Panorama of Annapolis," The Art Bulletin 86:3 (2004)

    "Illusion and Allusion: Charles Willson Peale's Staircase Group at the Columbianum Exhibition," American Art 17:2 (2003)

    "Heads of State: Profiles and Politics in Jeffersonian America," in New Media, 1740-1915, eds. Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey P. Pingree (MIT Press, 2003)

 

 

323 Old CollegeNewark, DE 19716<div class="ExternalClassC018E1AFFB934BFEA42D393179C23C13"><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><strong>Professor Wendy Bellion</strong> (Ph.D. Northwestern University) teaches American art history and material culture studies. She is also Co-Director of the university’s <a href="http://www.materialculture.udel.edu/" title="CMCS program">Center for Material Culture Studies</a>. Professor Bellion's scholarship takes an interdisciplinary approach to American visual and material culture, focusing on the late colonial and early national United States and exploring American art within the cultural geographies of the British Atlantic world and early modern Americas. Her latest book, <a href="https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08364-3.html" title="Penn State University Press" target="_blank"><em>Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment</em></a><em> </em>(2019), explores a history of material violence in New York City from the 1760s to the 1930s, tracing acts of political iconoclasm and the return of destroyed things in visual representations and civic performances. Her book <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=ixBcPG2uw_cC&printsec=frontcover&dq=bellion+citizen+spectator&hl=en&sa=X&ei=pTlzT42mGsbwgge3jZFO&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bellion%20citizen%20spectator&f=false" target="_blank" title="Google books"><em>Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America</em></a> (2011), which was awarded the 2014 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Outstanding Scholarship by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines the exhibition of illusionistic paintings and optical devices within post-revolutionary cultures of sensory discernment and undeceiving. Bellion is also co-editor (with Prof. Mónica Domínguez Torres) of <a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/651550" target="_blank" title="Winterthur Portfolio"><em>Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America</em></a> (2011), a special issue of the journal <em>Winterthur Portfolio.</em> Her publications include essays on trompe l'oeil representation, sculpture, drawing instruments, theatrical illusion, and art-historical methodologies.</p><p>Professor Bellion taught at Rutgers University and the College of William and Mary before joining the University of Delaware in 2004. As the Terra Foundation for American Art/Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art Visiting Professor in 2015, she taught at the Université de Paris 7 (Paris Diderot) and the École Normale Supérieure. An elected member of the American Antiquarian Society, she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), Henry Luce Foundation, Library Company of Philadelphia, National Endowment for the Humanities, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Winterthur Museum. She has contributed to exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Newberry Library, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Appointed as a trustee of the Biggs Museum of American Art by the governor of Delaware, she serves on the Executive Board for the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA) and on editorial boards for Bloomsbury, the University of Delaware Press, and the journal <em>Winterthur Portfolio</em>.</p><p>Professor Bellion advises graduate students in American art history and serves on the Executive Committee of the <a href="http://www.udel.edu/winterthurprogram/" target="_blank" title="program website">Winterthur Program in American Material Culture</a>. Her undergraduate courses include surveys of American art history and seminars on topics including fakes and forgeries, illusionism, and the Peale family in Philadelphia. Her graduate seminars include courses on methods and historiography, iconoclasm, sculpture, and the transcultural arts of the colonial Americas.</p></div><div class="ExternalClass8771CD9BC2BE4297A8ABDDE76B3C2AFA"><p>“Pitt on a Pedestal: Sculpture and Slavery in Late Eighteenth-Century Charleston,” <em>European Journal of American Studies</em>, 14:4 (2019)</p><p>"Iconoclasm in America: From Ritual to Reenactment," <em>Memoria e Ricerca</em> 57:1 (2018)</p><p>Introduction and editor, "Art and Destruction," <em>American Art</em> 31:1 (2017)</p><p>"Mast Trees, Liberty Poles, and The Politics of Scale in Late Colonial New York," in <em>Scale, </em>ed. Jennifer L. Roberts, <em>Terra Foundation Essays</em>, vol. 2 (Terra Foundation for American Art, 2016) </p><p>"'Here Trust Your Eyes': Vision, Illusion, and the Chestnut Street Theatre," <em>Early American Literature</em> 51:2 (2016)</p><p>"Land Shark: Copley's Reiterative Acts of Representation," <em>American Art</em> 30:2 (2016)</p><p>Introduction and editor, "Art Follows Empire: New Perspectives on Early American Art," <em>Perspective: La Revue de l'INHA</em> (2016)</p><p>"Teaching across the Borders of North American Art History," co-author Mónica Domínguez Torres, in <em>The Blackwell Companion to American Art</em> (eds. John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, Jason Lafountain, 2015)</p><p>"The Sculpture Club," in <em>Samuel F.B. Morse's </em>Gallery of the Louvre<em> and the Art of Invention </em>(Terra Foundation for American Art, 2014)</p><p>"City as Spectacle: William Birch and the Chestnut Street Theatre," <em>Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes</em> 32:1 (2012)</p><p>Introduction and guest co-editor (with Mónica Domínguez Torres), <em>Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America</em>, <em>Winterthur Portfolio</em> 45:2/3 (2011)</p><p>"Patience Wright's Transatlantic Bodies," in <em>Shaping the Body Politic: Art and Political Formation in Early National America</em>, eds. Maurie McInnis and Louis Nelson (University of Virginia Press, 2011) </p><p>"The Return of the Eighteenth Century," <em>American Art</em> 19:2 (2005)</p><p>"Extend the Sphere: Charles Willson Peale's Panorama of Annapolis," <em>The Art Bulletin</em> 86:3 (2004) </p><p>"Illusion and Allusion: Charles Willson Peale's <em>Staircase Group</em> at the Columbianum Exhibition," <em>American Art</em> 17:2 (2003)</p><p>"Heads of State: Profiles and Politics in Jeffersonian America," in <em>New Media, 1740-1915</em>, eds. Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey P. Pingree (MIT Press, 2003)</p></div>Selected Publicationswbellion@udel.eduBellion, Wendy302-831-8674<img alt="Wendy Bellion" src="/Images%20Bios/People/Faculty/bellion-bio.JPG" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Professor; Sewell C. Biggs Chair in American Art History; Co-Director, Center for Material Culture StudiesAmerican Art and Material CulturePh.D. Northwestern University

 

 

Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to ReenactmentBellion, WendyPenn State University PressUniversity Park, PA2019http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08364-3.html?utm_source=CatsCust&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewTitleBellion<p>King George III will not stay on the ground. Ever since a crowd in New York City toppled his equestrian statue in 1776, burying some of the parts and melting the rest into bullets, the king has been riding back into American culture, raising his gilded head in visual representations and reappearing as fragments. In this book, Wendy Bellion asks why Americans destroyed the statue of George III—and why they keep bringing it back.</p><p>Locating the statue’s destruction in a transatlantic space of radical protest and material violence—and tracing its resurrection through pictures and performances—Bellion advances a history of American art that looks beyond familiar narratives of paintings and polite spectators to encompass a riotous cast of public sculptures and liberty poles, impassioned crowds and street protests, performative smashings and yearning re-creations. Bellion argues that iconoclasm mobilized a central paradox of the national imaginary: it was at once a destructive phenomenon through which Americans enacted their independence and a creative phenomenon through which they continued to enact British cultural identities.</p><p>Persuasive and engaging, <em>Iconoclasm in New York</em> demonstrates how British monuments gave rise to an American creation story. This fascinating cultural history will captivate art historians, specialists in iconoclasm, and general readers interested in American history and New York City. </p>
Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National AmericaBellion, WendyUniversity of North Carolina PressChapel Hill2011https://www.uncpress.org/book/9780807833889/citizen-spectator/<p>In this richly illustrated study, the first book-length exploration of illusionistic art in the early United States, Wendy Bellion investigates Americans' experiences with material forms of visual deception and argues that encounters with illusory art shaped their understanding of knowledge, representation, and subjectivity between 1790 and 1825. Focusing on the work of the well-known Peale family and their Philadelphia Museum, as well as other Philadelphians, Bellion explores the range of illusions encountered in public spaces, from trompe l'oeil paintings and drawings at art exhibitions to ephemeral displays of phantasmagoria, "Invisible Ladies," and other spectacles of deception.<br></p><p>Bellion reconstructs the elite and vernacular sites where such art and objects appeared and argues that early national exhibitions doubled as spaces of citizen formation. Within a post-Revolutionary culture troubled by the social and political consequences of deception, keen perception signified able citizenship. Setting illusions into dialogue with Enlightenment cultures of science, print, politics, and the senses, <em>Citizen Spectator</em> demonstrates that pictorial and optical illusions functioned to cultivate but also to confound discernment. Bellion reveals the equivocal nature of illusion during the early republic, mapping its changing forms and functions, and uncovers surprising links between early American art, culture, and citizenship.<br></p>

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  • Department of Art History
  • University of Delaware
  • 318 Old College
  • Newark, DE 19716 USA
  • Phone: 302-831-8415
  • arthistory@udel.edu