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Collections Research


'The Masks Grow to Us' by Clarence John Laughlin

The High Museum of Art regularly conducts research on objects in its permanent collection. Thanks to an initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation, curators and graduate fellows from the department of art history at Emory University are working together to investigate selected objects in the different curatorial areas of the High Museum’s permanent collection. This research delves into questions of authorship, subject matter, materials, and technique, and the resulting illustrated papers are now available below.

  • Headshot of MOCR Fellow Elizabeth Caris.

    Elizabeth Caris
    2018 Fellow

    Elizabeth Caris is a graduate student studying ancient American art, specifically central Andean ceramics. Before coming to Emory, Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. Elizabeth has also completed internships in curatorial departments at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the Walters Art Museum, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. She recently assisted with the installation, didactics, and online catalogue for the Michael C. Carlos Museum exhibition Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles.

    As a MOCR Fellow, Elizabeth will be producing original scholarship on Eight Part Circle (1976) by Michael Hizer in the Contemporary and Modern Art department at the High Museum, and a collection of ancient West Mexican ceramics at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum.


    Headshot of MOCR Fellow Annie McEwen.

    Annie McEwen
    2018 Fellow

    Annie received her B.A. in art history in 2014 from Boston College. At Boston College, she also received the Jeffery Howe Art History award for her senior thesis, which focused on the frescoes of Giovanni Battista Gaulli, and his application of Bernini’s theories on monumental painting. Annie entered Emory University’s art history PhD program as a George W. Woodruff Fellow in 2015 to continue studying seventeenth century Italian art with Sarah McPhee. Last spring, she completeld her qualifying paper, “Bernini’s La Predica della Battista: An Epideictic Image.” Annie’s research interests include Baroque painting, early modern image theory, Jesuit patronage, drawing, emblematics, early modern print culture, and urbanism in Rome.

    Over the course of her MOCR Fellowship, Annie will be conducting research on an ekori headdress created by the Himba people of Namibia at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum focused on issues of conservation and display. At the High Museum she is researching Giovanni Battista Gaulli’s The Thanksgiving of Noah, and The Sacrifice of Abraham (c. 1700) in the European Art department.


    Headshot of MOCR Fellow Abbey Hafer.Abbey Hafer
    2018 Fellow

    Abbey Hafer is a graduate student in the Art History Department at Emory University where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Italian Baroque art and architecture under the direction of Dr. Sarah McPhee. Abbey graduated summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in 2015 with a B.A. in Art History and Dance. Upon graduation she was awarded the Muriel S. Butkin Art History Award and the Lily Dreyfuss Memorial Award in Dance. She has held internships at the Saint Louis Art Museum and has been involved with multiple digital humanities projects at Emory.

    For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research she will be researching the prints of master eighteenth-century etcher, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, held by Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum—as well as conducting additional research on a Stuart A. Rose Manuscript in the museum’s Archives, and Rare Book Library. At the High, Abbey is producing original scholarship on an eighteenth-century Rhode Island doorframe in the Decorative Arts and Design collection.


    Rachel Patt headshot

    Rachel Patt
    2017 Fellowship

    Rachel Patt is a doctoral candidate in the Art History Department at Emory University, concentrating on ancient Roman art. Her research interests include Roman luxury arts, the Late Antique, survivals of the Classical world into Byzantine art, and the reception of antiquity from the Renaissance onwards.

    Rachel graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 2009, where she majored in Classics with a focus in Latin. While at Stanford she guest-curated an exhibition at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts entitled “Appellations from Antiquity,” which explored the relationship between modern and contemporary art and the ancient mythology from which they derived their titles. Rachel also received her Master’s from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a concentration in Classical and Byzantine art. Her thesis, “Envisioning an Artist: The Attribution of Ancient Greek Bronzes,” considered the implications of attribution through three case studies of bronze statues. Rachel has held curatorial internship positions at the Getty Villa, where she worked on several exhibitions, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she researched the museum’s gems holdings.


    Courtney Rawlings headshot

    Courtney Rawlings
    2017 Fellowship

    Courtney Rawlings received her B.A. in 2014 from the University of California, Riverside where she graduated with high honors in art history and philosophy.  As an undergraduate, Courtney was awarded the Academic Excellence Award in Art History for her honors thesis: “Proprioception and Surrealism: Understanding Alberto Giacometti’s Surrealist Table within a Heideggarian Spatial Complex.”

    Courtney is currently a graduate student in Emory University’s Art History Department where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in modern art and architecture. Courtney’s studies are largely concerned with experiment in architecture and design in Europe and America from the interwar period to the mid-century. 


    Emma de Jong

    Emma de Jong
    2017 Fellowship

    Emma de Jong is a graduate student in Art History at Emory University. In 2014 she obtained her BA in History of Art at the University of York, in the UK. A year later she completed her MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture at the Warburg Institute in London, UK. For her Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research she will be studying ‘The Nurture of Jupiter’ by the 17th century Dutch painter Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem. 


    Nicole Corrigan headshotNicole Corrigan
    2016 Fellowship

    Nicole Corrigan received her B.A. in 2014 from the University of Michigan, graduating with highest honors in art history and museum studies. Her honors thesis, entitled “’The Lady on the Altar’: Miraculous Statuary and Las Cantigas de Santa María” explored the intermedia relationships between sedes sapientiae sculptures and their representation in a thirteenth-century Castilian codex of Marian miracles.  In 2013, Nicole held an internship at the Detroit Institute of Arts, organizing the museum’s manuscript collection in anticipation of its inclusion in the Index of Christian Art.

    Nicole entered the program at Emory University in 2014 to continue studying medieval art with Elizabeth Pastan. Her current research interests include the connections between sculpture and manuscript illumination and the place of Marian art within the multi-confessional environment of medieval Iberia.


    Headshot of Kimberly Schrimsher smiling in a beautiful landscape.

    Kimberly Schrimsher
    2016 Fellowship

    Kimberly Schrimsher is a PhD student at Emory University working under the advisement of Jean Campbell and Sarah McPhee. She is writing her dissertation on the working practices of the Baroque Italian painter Guercino. A recipient of the 2016 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Object Centered Curatorial Research, Schrimsher received her master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has a BA in art history from Emory University where she graduated summa cum laude with highest honors on her thesis.

    Julianne Cheng headshot

    Julianne Cheng
    2016 Fellowship

    Julianne Cheng is a doctoral candidate in the Art History Department at Emory University. She received her B.A. in Art History and History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 and her M.A. in Art History from Emory University in 2016. She has worked at the excavation of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace under Dr. Bonna Wescoat, and is currently the manager of the Samothrace Archive. Her research interests are in ancient Greek iconography and pottery, particularly in Attic vase painting. She is currently researching her dissertation, “Making the Ordered Cosmos: The Gigantomachy in Archaic and Classical Athenian Vase Painting.”

    Laura Somenzi headshot

    Laura Somenzi
    2015 Fellowship

    Laura Somenzi is pursuing a Ph.D. in Art History at Emory University, studying art of the Italian Renaissance with Professor C. Jean Campbell. She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in Art History, with a minor focus in Museum studies, in 2013. During her time at Hopkins, she received a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship and an Arts Innovation grant, which allowed her to curate the exhibition, Zelda Fitzgerald: Choreography in Color, at the Evergreen Museum and Library in Baltimore. The exhibition ran from October 2011-January 2012. Her senior thesis focused on the fifteenth-century sculptor Agostino di Duccio (traveling and research for this project were supported by a DURA research scholarship).  She has recently completed a qualifying paper on the fifteenth-century treatise on architecture and engineering by Francesco di Giorgio and presented a version of the paper at Berkeley’s graduate student conference in the spring of 2014.


    John Witty headshotJohn Witty
    2015 Fellowship

    John Witty is a Ph.D. candidate studying early Italian Renaissance Art at Emory University under the guidance of Dr. Jean Campbell. He is pursuing a minor in Italian Baroque art with Dr. Sarah McPhee. Originally from Miami, Florida, John graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Drawing, completing additional majors in German and Art History. Upon graduation, John was awarded the Mark S. Weil Prize for Distinction in Art History and Museum Practice. Before beginning a Masters degree in Art History at Williams College, John worked as an intern at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He has also held internships at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Another dimension of museum experience that he very much enjoyed was working as an art handler at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum in St. Louis and the Rubell Family Collection of Miami. He has spoken at undergraduate and graduate conferences at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Indiana. While at the National Gallery, John contributed to an article on Giorgio Vasari’s Libro de’ Disegni published in Facture, a new journal of technical art history. John is always interested in adding an experiential dimension to his study of art history, one of the many factors that inspired him to complete the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2012.

    Ashley Eckhardt headshot

    Ashley Eckhardt
    2015 Fellowship

    Ashley Eckhardt is a doctoral candidate in Art History at Emory University, currently researching her dissertation, “The Crafting of Cult Statues in the High Hellenistic Period.”  She also participates in the archaeological excavations at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace.  She received her bachelor’s degree in history from St. Norbert College.  She earned a master’s degree in public history from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree in art history from Washington University in St. Louis.


    Kira Jones headshotKira Jones
    2014 Fellowship

    Kira Jones graduated in 2008 from the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in classical culture and Latin, at which point she decided to pursue her Ph.D. in Greek and Roman art history. She has excavated with Dr. Bonna Daix Wescoat at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace and pursues a number of interests outside Greece and Rome, such as the impact of antiquity on later periods and the art of the Ancient Americas. She is currently researching her dissertation, “Domitian and Minerva at Rome: Iconography and Divine Sanction in the Eternal City” at Emory University.


    Catherine Barth headshotCatherine Barth
    2014 Fellowship

    Catherine Barth is currently a PhD student in the Art History Department at Emory University. She is originally from Chesapeake, VA and completed her B.A. in English and Cultural Studies at the College of William & Mary in 2012. Catherine studies modern and contemporary art at Emory, focusing specifically on 20th century American photography. Photographers of interest include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Wynn Bullock, and Garry Winogrand. Her current research centers on issues of public and private space, temporality, technology, and socio-political change in modern photography.


    Elliot Wise headshotElliot Wise
    2013 Fellowship

    Elliott Wise received his Ph.D. in Northern Renaissance Art History at Emory University in 2016. His research focuses on the way art functions in the devotion, exegesis, and religious practice of late medieval and Early Modern Europe. He is particularly interested in Eucharistic, liturgical, and Marian imagery and the way it is nuanced by the spiritual traditions of the monastic and mendicant orders. Wise currently holds a Jane and Morgan Whitney Dissertation Fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where he is studying the impact of Middle Dutch mysticism on the fifteenth-century painters, Rogier van der Weyden and Robert Campin.


    Andi McKenzie headshotAndi McKenzie
    2013 Fellowship

    Andi McKenzie is a PhD student in the Art History Department of Emory University. She also became Assistant Curator of Works on Paper at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in 2011. Her most recent exhibitions include Conserving the Memory: Fratelli Alinari Photographs of Rome and Mirroring the Saints: The Jesuit Wierix Collection from De Krijtberg, Amsterdam. McKenzie’s research interests focus on the intersections between Catholicism and indigenous spirituality in Latin American art, and printmaking in early modern Germany and the Low Countries. McKenzie received her B.A. in Studio Art from Berry College and her M.A. in Art History from the University of South Florida.


    Cecily Boles headshotCecily Boles
    2012 Fellowship

    Learn more and read research report about Jean-Baptiste Defernex’s Portrait of Antoine-René de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson

    Cecily Boles is a doctoral candidate in Art History at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interest centers on Early Modern sculpture, particularly portraiture. She received her B.A. From the University of California, Riverside in 2005 in French Literature and Art History Administrative Studies. Cecily interned at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Museum of Photography, and The Phillips Collection. Later she worked in Education at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2009, she received her M.A. from the University of Toronto in Art History, which laid the ground work for her article: “The folded mozzetta: an overlooked motif in the portraits of Gian Lorenzo Bernini,” in Sculpture Journal 20.2 (2011).

    Ashley Laverock headshotAshley Laverock
    2012 Fellowship

    Learn more and read research report about Tilman Riemenschneider’s St. Andrew

    Learn more and read research report about Benjamin West’s Arethusa

    Ashley Laverock graduated in 2016 with a Ph.D. in Art History at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Arts in Art History from Tufts University. Her dissertation focuses on the visual hagiography of St. Margaret of Antioch in thirteenth-century stained glass across Europe. As the 2012 recipient of the Mellon-Funded Graduate Fellowship in Object-Based Curatorial Research, Ashley studied Tilman Riemenschneider’s St. Andrew in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection. To complete her research she traveled to Berlin, Germany, where she consulted with experts on German sculpture, and to Würzburg, Germany, where Riemenschneider lived and worked.

  • 'St. Andrew' by RiemenschneiderReport by Ashley Laverock

    Mellon-Funded Graduate Fellow in Object-Centered Curatorial Research

    Spring–Summer 2012

    Tilman Riemenschneider
    German, 1460-1531
    St. Andrew, ca. 1505
    Lindenwood / Limewood
    Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 58.57


    'Portrait of Antoine-René de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson'Report by Cecily Boles

    Mellon-Funded Graduate Fellow in Object-Centered Curatorial Research

    Summer–Fall 2012

    Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Defernex
    French, 1728 – 1783
    Portrait of Antoine-René de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson, ca. 1765
    Terracotta on wooden base decorated with gilded bronze
    Purchase with European Art Acquisition Fund, purchase with funds from Irene and Howard Stein, through prior acquisitions from the Friends of Art and Colonel Clifford C. Early, High Museum of Art Enhancement Fund, and funds from the Phoenix Society, 2007.126


    'Arethusa' by Benjamin WestReport by Ashley Laverock

    Mellon-Funded Graduate Fellow in Object-Centered Curatorial Research

    Spring–Summer 2012

    Benjamin West
    American, 1738-1820
    Arethusa, 1802
    Oil on canvas
    Purchase with funds from Margaret and Terry Stent Endowment for the Acquisition of American Art, 2011.44