Biography


Biographical narrative has been central to the practice of art history since the publication of Vasari's Lives of the Artists (1550), but its validity can no longer be taken for granted. Surveying an artist's work and relating it to his or her life history has been challenged by newer theoretical and contextual approaches. Biographical narrative has been criticized for relying on false assumptions about unities of period, life, and work. Even the very possibility of a coherent "subject" for biography has been questioned. Critics have emphasized that biography is a genre, conforming to rhetorical conventions and historically specific traditions of use. A generation of sustained critique has weakened biography's authority, but it is by no means certain that a wholesale jettisoning of biographical method would not entail significant losses for art historical research. Scholars engaged with identity-based practices, for example, insist that the artist's background is crucial to interpretation. While biographical methodology is debated in academia, well-researched biographies for the general reader have never been more popular.

The role of biography in art history will be the focus of the Getty Research Institute's 2002–2003 Scholar Year. Researchers will find a wealth of biographical materials in the Institute's collections, ranging from Bartolomeo Ammannati's letters to the address book of El Lissitzky, from Gaugin's manuscripts to a filmed performance by Joseph Beuys. And the Research Library's general collections support any number of inquiries related to biography: How, for example, have biographical conventions varied over time and among cultures? How have they influenced the interpretation of art objects? How do certain properties and features of objects shape the verbal production of an artist's biography? How do human interactions with art objects contribute to the processes of identity formation and agency that are the logical foundations for any consideration of biography? What are the biographical modes within the visual arts themselves? This is just a sampling of the questions likely to be discussed by scholars in residence—be they practitioners of biography or critics of biographical method. The Research Institute welcomes applications from researchers from any discipline who are engaged with the problem of biography and art history.

Thirty-one scholars have been selected to participate in the Getty Research Institute's 2002–2003 scholar year devoted to the theme "Biography." Below are their names, affiliations, and project titles.

Getty Scholars


Dympna Callaghan is a professor in the humanities at Syracuse University, New York. Biography and Identity in English Renaissance Sonnets and Their Visual Analogs

Bruno Chenique is an independent scholar based in Paris.
A "Biochronologie" of Girodet

Janet Hoskins is a professor in the department of anthropology at the University of Southern California.
Biography and the Anthropological "Life History": Ethical and Methodological Questions for Interpreting a Non-Western Life

Patricia Kirkham is a professor of design history and cultural studies at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts in New York City.
Glimpses of Ray Eames: Constructing a Biography of Ray Eames—Artist, Designer, and Filmmaker (1912-1988)

Kathleen Nicholson is professor and chair of art history at the University of Oregon.
Mlle. de Clermont: From Portrait to Biography

Rudolf Preimesberger is professor emeritus at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. He will complete a volume of essays on Caravaggio and conduct research on artists in Rome before 1600.

Robert Rosenstone is a professor of history at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Biography On Film

Sally Stein is an associate professor in the department of art history at the University of California in Irvine. She is the Research Institute's inaugural Consortium Scholar and will teach a graduate seminar titled "Biography in Visual Studies: Contested Theories and Practices."
Mediating Modernity: The Photographic Work and Life of Dorothea Lange

Dieter Thomae is chair of the department of philosophy at the University of St. Gall, Switzerland.
Two Aspects of Biographical Research

Jonathan Weinberg is an independent scholar and artist based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Making the Private Public: Art and Identity in the East Village

Visiting Scholars


Dana Arnold is chair in architectural history and director of the Centre for Studies in Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Southampton, England.
Biography as a Narrative Structure of Architectural History

Paul Barolsky is Commonwealth Professor in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia.
Michelangelo and the Finger of God

Leonid Beliaev is the head of the department of Moscow Archaeology in the Institute of Archaeology at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Myths of Andrei Rublev: Icon Painter's Biography in Political and Cultural Context

Tim Benton is professor of art history at the Open University, Milton Keynes, England.
Le Corbusier's Domestic Architecture (1915–1935): The Design Process

Albert Blankert is an independent scholar based in The Hague, The Netherlands.
(Project is untitled)

Peter Burke is a professor of cultural history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Emmanuel College, England. He will continue his work (with Maria Pallares-Burke) on a biography of the Brazilian social historian Gilberto Freyre (1900–1987).

Eric Fernie is in his final year as director of the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. His research will contribute to a book he is writing on Romanesque architecture from the tenth century to the twelfth across western and central Europe.

Anna Maria Guasch is professor of art history at the University of Barcelona, Spain.
New Narratives for a Post-Historical Time: Biography as a Key to Understanding the De-Sublimation Impulse of Art in the Nineties

Nikolaos Chatzinikolaou is professor of art history at the University of Crete, Greece.
Goya's Artistic Production Seen through his Biography: A Problem of Method

Maria Pallares-Burke is an associate professor in the faculty of education at the Universidade de São Paulo and a research associate in the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge, England. She will work (with Peter Burke) on the biography of the Brazilian social historian Gilberto Freyre.

Griselda Pollock is professor of social and critical histories of art at the University of Leeds, England.
Theater of Memory: Autobiography as Allo-biography—Trauma, Representation and Life Histories in Leben oder Theater, 1940–42, by Charlotte Salomon

Paul Smith is a reader in the history of art at the University of Bristol, England.
Cézanne and the Artistic Persona

Elisabeth Sussman is a guest curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Eva Hesse Biography

William Tronzo is professor and associate chair in the art department at Tulane University.
The Palazzo dei Normannni in Palermo

Richard Wrigley is principal lecturer and chair of the department of history of art at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England.
Narratives of Artistic and Personal Crisis in Rome in the Early Nineteenth Century


Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellows


A. Cassandra Albinson is a graduate student in the department of the history of art at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Artist and Aristocrats: Portraiture and Presence in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Christopher Heuer is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art and architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.
The City Rehearsed: Hans Vredeman de Vries and the Performance of Architecture

Matthew Jackson is a graduate student in the department of history of art at the University of California, Berkeley.
Answers of the Experimental Group: Ilya Kabakov, Moscow Conceptualism, Soviet Avant-Gardes

Andrew Perchuk is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of history of art at Yale University.
Mapping the Surface: Art and Modernism in Los Angeles, 1962–1972

Tatiana Senkevitch is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The Printmaker's Perspectives: Abraham Bosse and the Pedagogic Debates at the Academie de la peinture et de la sculpture, 1648–1661

Isabelle Tillerot is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of Paris X in Nanterre, France.
Ancient and "Modern" Art in Parisian Collections in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century

Sebastian Zeidler is studying art history and archaeology at Columbia University in New York.
Carl Einstein's History and Theory of Art

Museum Guest Scholars


Guillermo Barrios is Architect, Associate Professor and Head, Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Facultad de Arquitectura, Dirección de Postgrado, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela. During his stay he worked on the publication Centrifugal Forces, Transformations in the Museum Field Force, which explores the issue of museum networking trends from a conceptual perspective.

Holm Bevers is Acting Director, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Bevers worked on the preparation of a critical catalogue of the drawings by Rembrandt and his circle in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett.

Rika Burnham is Associate Museum Educator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. While in residence, she practiced and wrote about discussion-based gallery teaching and worked on a new and hypothetical model for teaching in museums in the future.

Lorne Campbell is Beaumont Senior Research Curator, Curatorial Department, National Gallery, London, England.
Campbell worked on his monograph devoted to Rogier van der Weyden, principally looking at two paintings in the Getty collection associated with Rogier's The Dream of Pope Sergius and the Portrait of Isabella of Portugal.

Simon Jervis is an independent scholar based in London, England. While at the Getty he researched, with a publication as its goal, the development of the cabinet. The project consists of an international survey addressing not only basic questions as to the development of the cabinet, but also the wider dimensions of its significance from around 1500 to the present day.

Valerio Papaccio is Superintendent for Public Monuments, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, Pompeii, Italy. During his stay he prepared the publication of new excavations at the Villa dei Papyri and other buildings in Herculaneum in light of ongoing excavations of this site. He also worked on planning exhibits of archaeological artifacts uncovered in Herculaneum since 1927 for a new museum there.

Roy Perkinson is Head of Paper Conservation, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts. Perkinson wrote supporting material for his translation of Die Instandsetzung von Kupferstichen, Zeichnungen, Buchern usw. (The Restoration of Engravings, Drawings, Books, etc.) by Max Schweidler, a German master restorer of works of art on paper in the first half of the 20th century. This publication will include an introduction and appendix with documentation of Schweidler's oftentimes deceptive repairs that were undertaken with many materials and techniques unknown to the English-speaking art world.

Catherine Reynolds is an independent scholar based in London, England. Reynolds conducted an investigation of the physical relationship between text and image—the inclusion of text within miniatures, the conjunctions and disjunctions of script and border decoration—in 15th-century Netherlandish manuscripts.

Pam Roberts is an independent curator based in Bath, England. During her stay, Roberts researched several aspects of 19th-century photography, particularly the works of Roger Fenton and Alvin Langdon Coburn. She also worked on still life images of the period and on women photographers represented in the Museum collection.