Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Announces Winner of 2014 Graduate Research Essay Prize

By the Archives

December 16, 2014

Christina Weyl, a doctoral candidate in art history at Rutgers University, was awarded the Archives of American Art Graduate Research Essay Prize funded by the Dedalus Foundation Inc. In its third year, this prize recognizes authors who advance the understanding of American art history by using the resources of the Archives of American Art as primary evidence. It also promotes scholarship that lends itself to innovative online presentations. The annual competition is open to anyone enrolled in a graduate program in art history, visual culture, American studies or related fields.

Weyl examines professional and personal relationships cultivated by six understudied women printmakers during the mid-20th century: Alice Trumbull Mason, Minna Wright Citron, Worden Day, Sue Fuller, Jan Gelb and Anne Ryan. Weyl argues that together these women carved out a place for themselves in the art world and promoted postwar abstraction in the U.S. and internationally. To substantiate her claims, Weyl created a dataset of more than 1,700 entries derived from archival materials, including exhibition catalogs. The jury noted that her essay reflects “a tour de force of research.” Weyl identified relationships, patterns and paths by using ViewShare, an open-source platform for generating and customizing interactive maps and charts.

“Christina Weyl’s work is timely and exciting, and it suggests important directions for the field,” said Kate Haw, director of the Archives. “She follows in the tradition of venerable art historians who have mined our rich primary sources to produce top-notch, rigorous scholarship, building on long-established research methods by demonstrating the potential of digital tools to produce maps, diagrams and charts to enhance the study of art history. We are deeply grateful to the Dedalus Foundation for their support of this prize, which encourages and celebrates promising scholarship.”

Weyl will receive a cash prize of $1,000, publication of her essay on the Archives of American Art’s website and a one-year subscription to the Archives of American ArtJournal.

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art is the world’s most comprehensive resource for the study of art in America. It serves scholars, students, journalists, biographers and the interested public from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., its research center in New York City and through its vast online resources available worldwide.

Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art fosters advanced research through the accumulation and dissemination of primary sources, unequaled in historical depth and breadth, that document more than 200 years of the nation’s artists and art communities. The Archives provides access to these materials through its exhibitions and publications, including the Archives of American Art Journal, the longest-running scholarly journal in the field of American art. An international leader in the digitizing of archival collections, the Archives also makes more than 2 million digital images freely available online. The Archives’ oral history collection includes more than 2,200 audio interviews, the largest accumulation of in-depth, first-person accounts of the American art world.  

Founded in 1981 by the artist Robert Motherwell (1915–1991), the Dedalus Foundation educates the public by fostering public understanding of modern art and modernism through its support of research, education, publications and exhibitions in this field. For more information, visit the foundation’s website at http://dedalusfoundation.org.