John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowships
in Art History

Funds are available to support student research and travel in the summer following the junior year that will result in a senior thesis project. Only current juniors who are working with art history faculty and who will complete a senior thesis are eligible. These funds are made available through a gift from Judith Gurewich P’05, P’10 to the Art History Program at Wesleyan University in honor of John T. Paoletti, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus and Professor of Art History, Emeritus. Paoletti Research Travel Fellowships are intended for advanced students who have demonstrated a commitment to art historical study and a strong aptitude for writing and research. In addition to a solid background in art history and knowledge of relevant foreign languages, students must have formulated an original, coherent, and methodologically informed research project related to the study of art objects, material culture, cultural sites, and/or architecture. Applicants must demonstrate that travel to archives and to specific collections and/or sites is necessary in order to complete successfully the proposed project. 

Deadline for receipt of application for 2024-2025 is Wednesday March 27, 2024, noon 12 pm.
For application information and procedures, please click on the following link:
John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowships in Art History


The 2023 John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship Recipients: 

Olivia Andrews '24

"The Emergence of Cape Verdean Visual Culture Post-Independence"

The conception of Cape Verde is marked by the alleged discovery of the archipelago by the Portuguese during the mid-fifteenth century, bringing enslaved West African people along with them to the desolate islands and creating a nation of mixed-race people. With social and religious freedom under attack throughout the five centuries leading up to independence, artistic expression was also stifled during this time, barring opportunities for Cape Verdeans to formulate  a robust art culture indigenous to the archipelago and, in turn, pushing many artists to explore their craft in Portugal and other European countries. Cape Verdean independence on July 5, 1975, however, marks the re-conception of Cape Verde. During this time, artists began to flock home and join together in revitalizing Cape Verdean national identity via. artmaking.​​ With hints of West African and Portuguese artistic traditions, a musicality akin to local music and dance, and glimpses of Cape Verdean artisanal craftsmanship peaking through works from this time, this thesis dissects mainly paintings, sculptures, photographs, and films – teasing out the various influences that played a role in the birth of a uniquely Cape Verdean visual culture.


Bailey Chapin '24

"Joan Mitchell in Paris and Vétheuil" 

As a John T. Paoletti research fellow, I will be traveling to France this summer to research Joan Mitchell (1925-1992). I will be conducting archival research in Paris, as well as visiting the painter's former home and studio in the French countryside of Vétheuil. My project centers on the artist’s later career in France after 1959, examining a shift in Mitchell's work from the aesthetics of New York action-painting to a more lyrical, color-focused approach to composition in France. I will be tracing critical reception of Mitchell’s work throughout her time in Paris and Vétheuil, working to uncover new artistics dialogues between the United States and France in the twentieth century. Revisiting and responding to Linda Nochlin’s “A Rage to Paint: Joan Mitchell and the Issue of Femininity” (2002), my work will take on the critical lens of feminist theory. My project will reframe gender dynamics of the dialogue between Mitchell and a nineteenth-century French landscape tradition, particularly looking at Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. I am excited to immerse myself this summer in the abstract world of Mitchell’s large-scale compositions, delving into the incredible life and work of one of the most groundbreaking and influential female artists of the twentieth century. 


Emma Flaherty '24

"The Artist as Cultural and Religious Pilgrim: Dutch Artists in Renaissance Italy"

While the influx of Northern Artists working in Italy during the Renaissance has been widely studied, not as much attention is paid specifically to the study of Dutch Renaissance artists in Italy and Rome. My thesis will examine the advent of Northern artists adopting a Southern style through a specifically Dutch lens, and, more narrowly, the experience of the traveling Dutch artist-pilgrim as opposed to the expatriate. I am interested in how mobility affects not only subject matter and style, but also medium and support. I will primarily be exploring the artwork of Jan van Scorel and his pupil Maerten van Heemskerck, with their respective "pilgrimages". While van Scorel traveled to the Holy Land in Jerusalem via Italy, what is a more traditional pilgrimage, van Heemskerck treated his travel to Rome in very similar ways, becoming a sort of "cultural" pilgrim enthralled in the vestiges of Roman antiquity. Supported by the John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship, I will conduct research in the Netherlands at museums and cultural institutions to explore the Italianate legacy of these artists, re-shaping the way we think about pilgrimage and artistic creation.


Sabrina Tian '24

"Between Japan and America: On Kawara's Personal Conceptualism"

Art historian Reiko Tomii writes that “linking diasporas to a mother country remains a task for historians of postwar Japanese art.” Japanese emigrant artists have been understudied despite the fact that their contributions to art history may expand our understanding of theories such as conceptualism. As a member of the Japanese diaspora, Kawara benefitted from access to both American and Japanese artistic circles, producing a rich synthesis of resonances between these two countries. His use of systems, language, and data collection situate him in the American post-minimalist dialogue while the intimate, existential tones of his work are closely related to trends in Japanese conceptualism. What Kawara chooses to retain from practices in his mother country and what he chooses to adopt from American modernism combine into a meticulous documentation of the every day that can be interpreted as an effort to remember every detail of a fleeting life. My thesis aims to bridge the literature between Japanese and American art criticism and theory through a study of Kawara’s work and personal form of conceptualism.


Previous recipients since the fellowship's founding in 2012:


2022: Gabby Farina, Art History and English Double Major

Project title: The Aesthetic of the Feminine: Female Spaces in the Art and Architecture of Al-Andalus

2022: Sarah Hale, Art History and Italian Studies Double Major

Project Title: Engravings of Dante's Commedia in Wesleyan’s 1481 Incunable

2022: Mim Pomerantz, Art History and Art Studio Double Major

Project title: Surrealism, Ethnography, and Photography 

2021: Josh Merkin, Art History Major and Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate 

Project title: The Body and the Archive: Contemporary Performance Art as Institutional Critique 

2021: Ann Zhang, Art History, Psychology, Science in Society Triple Major

Project title: 1920’s Shanghai, Reimagined & Recreated in 2020: Preservation & Gentrification of Wukang Mansion and the Surrounding Area in Former French Concession

2020 Maya Hayda, Art History and English Double Major

Project title: "Reshaped and Reframed: Art, Industry, and the Changing American Landscape"

2020 Riley Richards, Art History Major and History Minor

Project title: "Newcomb Pottery: Women and Enterprise in the American Arts and Crafts Movement"

2019 Emma Frohardt, Art History Major, Hispanic Literatures and Cultures Major

Project title: "Art as Cultural Critic: Surveillance, Authorship and Collectivism in the Oeuvre of Equipo Crónica, 1964-81"

2019 Olivia Samios, Art History Major, French Studies Major

Project title: "The Nordic Home as a Total Work of Art: Codifications of Nationalism in Norwegian Home Design, 1880-1905"

2018 Sara Kim, Art History Major, College of East Asian Studies Minor and Data Analysis Minor

Project title: "The Impact of Jesuit Missionaries on the New Visual Culture in Japan: Namban Byōbu in the 16th and 17th Centuries"

2018 Rachel Rosin, Art History and English Double Major

Project title: "Mary Cassatt & the Impressionist Exhibitions: Defining 19th Century 'Girlhood'"

2017 Nicole Boyd, Art History and Italian Studies Double Major with a Writing Certificate

Project title: "Compositional Cross-Dressing: The Figures of Guido Cagnacci, the Pursuit of Invention, and the Construction of Artistic Identity in 17th Century Italy"

2017 Emily Furnival, College of Letters Major

Project title: "Fictitious Friars, Reconstructed Romans: The Architecture and Experience of the Getty Villa and Met Cloisters"

2017 Juntai Shen, Art History and College of Social Studies Double Major

Project title: "Modern vs. Rural: The Chinese Rural Architecture & Modernization since 1978--Three Case Studies"

2016 Nathan Johnson, Art History and College of Letters Double Major

Project title: "Purvis Young, Lonnie Holley, and Thornton Dial: When Outsider Artists Become Insiders"

2016 Sharifa Lookman, Art History and College of Letters Double Major

Project title: "Non finito: Botticelli and the Status of Drawing in the Italian Renaissance 'Here It Behoves Us, Use A Little Art'"

2015 Bryan Schiavone, Art History Major

Project title: "The Tree as Cultural Pillar Throughout Indian Art History"

2014 Rachel Hirsch, Art History and French Studies Double Major

Project title: "Mughal Illustrations of Hindu Epics: Tracing Iconographic Sources of the Razmnama and the Ramayana to the Indic Visual Landscape"

2013 Grace Kuipers, Art History Major

Project title: "The Philosophy Behind the Wall: Modernism, Industrialism, Primitivism and Albert Barnes' Wall Ensembles"

2012 Zoe Mueller, University Major with a Concentration in Urban Studies

Project title: "Highway Adaptation and Appropriation: Grassroots Transformation of Visual Culture in the American Rust Belt"