The Decorative Arts Trust Awards Research Grants to 13 Emerging Scholars

The Decorative Arts Trust is pleased to announce the 13 recipients of their annual Summer Research Grants.
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Isabella Rosner will research Quaker makers of shell and wax work boxes. Pictured: Mary Morrison, wax and shellwork shadow box (detail), 1769, Philadelphia, PA. Chester County Historical Society.

Isabella Rosner will research Quaker makers of shell and wax work boxes. Pictured: Mary Morrison, wax and shellwork shadow box (detail), 1769, Philadelphia, PA. Chester County Historical Society.



Each year the Trust awards research grants to graduate students working on a Master’s thesis or PhD dissertation in a field related to the decorative arts. The Trust encourages projects that advance diversity in the study of American decorative arts. The word “Summer” may be a misnomer this year, as the Trust extended the terms of the grants to include travel through spring of 2021 due to potential restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trust also partners with other organizations to offer grants sponsored by the Marie & John Zimmermann Fund, the Decorative Arts Society of Orange County, and the Center for American Art.

The 2020 Summer Research Grants represent diverse cultures, materials, time periods, and geographies:

KAYLE R. AVERY
Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Winterthur, University of Delaware

Avery will examine the digitization of modernist American concepts through the incorporation of Art Deco aesthetics in the BioShock video game franchise. His plans to study collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the New-York Historical Society’s Print Ephemera Collection.

ELIZABETH S. BROWNE
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Browne will travel to examine the archives of the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres in France to study 18th-century French sculptor Clodion (Claude Michel) and the Sèvres’ serialization called the “Vases Clodion.”

CHRISTINA L. DE LEÓN
Bard Graduate Center

De León will study the reinterpretation of the butaca by 20th-century designers Josef Albers and Clara Porset, such as the chairs shown in this image, at the Albers Foundation in Bethany, CT.

Marie Zimmerman Grant

CATHERINE DOUCETTE
The Courtauld Institute of Art

Doucette will continue her study of a 19th-century tilt-top table, veneered with Jamaican woods and bearing images of the British Empire, made in Jamaica by the colony’s leading craftsman, Ralph Turnbull by visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Yale British Arts Center.

LAMAR GAYLES
University of Illinois Chicago

Gayles will research the fabrication techniques and material mnemonics in the work of 20th-century Black American craftspersons by visiting collections in Alabama, Georgia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

ROBERT GORDON-FOGELSON
University of Southern California

Gordon-Fogelson plans to research the work of mid-century designers Dave Chapman, George Nelson, and Walter Dorwin Teague as well as the Industrial Designers Society of America at the Research and Design Institute at Syracuse University’s Special Collections Research Center.

CECILIA GUNZBURGER
University of Virginia

Gunzburger will continue her study of the traditions and ornamental function of 16th-century European lace and related textiles at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

CYNTHIA KOK
Yale University

Kok will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore to research snuffboxes made of mother-of-pearl, shell, and imitative materials and decorative styles.

KAYLI RIDEOUT
Boston University

Rideout will visit Richmond and Petersburg, VA, to study ecclesiastical windows that Tiffany Studios was commissioned to create in memory of the Confederacy in the years between 1889 and 1925.

ISABELLA ROSNER
King’s College London

Rosner will visit several collections in the Philadelphia region to understand more about Quaker women who made shell and wax work boxes.

CAMBRA SKLARZ
University of California, Riverside

Sklarz will travel to Winterthur to examine ways that artists from approximately 1750 to 1860 incorporated waste or discarded goods into their decorative arts and practices.

DARTS Grant

PAIGE WEAVER
University of South Carolina

Weaver will explore The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and American Wing to evaluate a wide range of clothing, silver, and metalwork from the Reconstruction Era.

XIAOYI D. YANG
Bard Graduate Center

Yang aims to continue her investigation of the circulation and consumption of Zhangzhou porcelains in Tokugawa-era commercial and cultural centers by visiting ceramic collections in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. 

The deadline to apply for Decorative Arts Trust Summer Research Grants is April 30 annually. For more information, visit decorativeartstrust.org, email thetrust@decorativeartstrust.org, or call 610.627.4970. 

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