Marymount Manhattan

Department of
Art & Art History

Adrienne Baxter Bell, Ph.D.

Adrienne Baxter Bell’s scholarship centers on American art and cultural history from the pre-colonial period to the present, with a focus on the nineteenth century. Her graduate work at Columbia University was supported by grants from Columbia and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. It culminated in her dissertation, “George Inness: Painting Philosophy,” an analysis of the metaphysical underpinnings of Inness’ life and work.

While at Columbia, she authored George Inness and the Visionary Landscape (George Braziller, Inc., 2003) and curated an exhibition of the same name (National Academy of Design, New York, 2003-04; San Diego Museum of Art, 2004). She published her second book, George Inness: Writings and Reflections on Art and Philosophy, in 2007.

Dr. Bell has delivered lectures and participated in symposia at the Clark Art Institute; the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museo di Santa Giulia, Brescia; and other locations. She has recently chaired sessions and presented her work at the annual conferences of the College Art Association, Association of Historians of American Art, and the Nineteenth Century Studies Association. Her current research explores the impact of spirituality and the growing understanding of consciousness on the visual vocabulary of early American and European modernists; she is also conducting research on how these ideas continue to resonate with contemporary artists.

Dr. Bell teaches a wide range of courses at MMC, including those in the Writing Program (Writ 101, Writ 102, Writ 201), both sections of the Western Art Survey, and seminars in Ancient & Classical Art, Medieval Art, and American Art; she also teaches the Senior Art History Seminar, the capstone course for the Art History major. In Spring 2015, she will teach a new course on “The Body in American Culture,” which seeks to identify, explore, and debate various ways in which the American “body” was constructed by political, sociological, religious, scientific, and artistic forces. As her scholarship also pertains to transnationalism and Italian-American artistic exchanges during the nineteenth century,  she co-teaches a study-abroad course entitled “Art and Philosophy in Venice.” For a link to the January 2014 Venice student “blog,” see  


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Associate Professor of Art History
Director, College Honors Program


Art & Art History





B.A., with Honors in Art, Smith College
M.A., The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
M.Phil., Columbia University
Ph.D., with Distinction, Columbia University

Recent Work

Recent Publications

“Techniques of the American Artist: From Experimental Chemistry to Representing Paint,” American Arts Quarterly 31:4 (Fall 2014): 7-17.

“Utopian Pastiche: The Still Life Paintings of Charles Caryl Coleman,” in A Seamless Web: Euro-American Art in the Nineteenth Century. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, pp. 147-62.

“’Reflection was the Real Intensity’: George Inness Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,” American Arts Quarterly 30:5 (Winter 2014): 9-17.

“George Inness (1825-1894).” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013.  

“Body-Nature-Paint:Embodying Experience in Gilded Age American Landscape Painting,” in Nancy Siegel, ed., The Cultured Canvas: New Perspectives on American Landscape Painting. Hannover, NH: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012, pp. 287-352. 

“On the Humanity of Meyer Schapiro: Reflections on Modern Art,” Introduction to Meyer Schapiro, Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries (Selected Papers, vol. II). Reprint New York: George Braziller, Inc., 2011, pp. xiii-xxiii. 

Rev. of Sir John Gilbert: Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age, edited by Spike Bucklow and Sally Woodcock. Victorian Studies 55:4 (Summer 2013) (forthcoming).

Rev. of Frederic Crowninshield: A Renaissance Man in the Gilded Age by Gertrude de G. Wilmers and Julie L. Sloan. History: Review of New Books 40:3 (Spring/Summer 2012), 93-94. 

“Grappling with ‘Big Painting’: Akela Reason’s Thomas Eakins and the Uses of History,” book review in Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies (November 2011): 190-200.

Recent Scholarly Presentations

Chair of session and Respondent, “Still on Terra Firma? The American Landscape in Contemporary Art,” Sponsored by the Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA), College Art Association 102nd Annual Conference, Chicago, 14 February 2014.

“‘In Search of the Spiritual’: The Paintings of Alexander Helwig Wyant,” The Wanda Hollensteiner Conservation Endowment Lecture, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, 12 February 2014.  

Chair of session and participant, “We Are Where We Are Not: Picturing Invisibility in Nature Representations.” Lecture title: “Looking at Invisibility in Nature Representations.” Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) annual conference,   Greensboro, NC, 2 November 2013. 

“An Artful Life,” Dean’s List Convocation Speech, Marymount Manhattan College, 27 October 2013.

“George Inness: Sacred and Profane Spaces,” presentation to honor the Frank and Katherine Martucci Gift of George Inness paintings to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 28 July 2013.

“Novak: Scholar and Mentor,” invited presentation for Symposium in Honor of Dr. Barbara Novak, Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of Art History Emerita, Barnard College and Columbia University, Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, NY, 14 April 2013.

“George Inness and the Poetry of Place,” presentation for Lecture Series: “Jersey: A Sense of Place.” Sponsored by The Institute for the Humanities at Montclair State University & The New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, 4 April 2013.

“Mark-Maker: The Gnostic Body in Gilded Age American Art and Psychology,” Symposium: “Gesture & Mark Making: Where the Past Meets the Present: A Collision or Collaboration?,” SECAC, Durham, NC, 17-20 October 2012.

“Body-Nature-Paint: Embodying Experience in Gilded Age American Landscape Painting,” Symposium: “The Cultured Canvas: New Perspectives of American Landscape Painting,” Bard College, Rhinebeck, New York, 5 May 2012.

“Influx: The Force of the Spectral Body in Gilded Age America,” Conference:  “Spiritual Matters / Matters of the Spirit,” 33rd Annual Conference of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Asheville, North Carolina, 23 March 2012.

“Utopian Pastiche: The Unity and Dissolution of History in the Paintings of Charles Caryl Coleman,” Symposium: “Transactions: Transnationalism and the Formation of American Culture,” Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, UT, 27 January 2012.

“Messiness: Embodying Experience in Gilded Age American Landscape Painting,” Newberry Library Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture, Chicago, 8 April 2011.

“William Page, the Art of the Use of Color, and Swedenborgian Metaphysics,” Panel: “Color & Nineteenth-Century American Painting,” College Art Association Annual Convention, New York, 11 February 2011.  


WRIT 101: Spirituality and the American Imagination

WRIT 101: Nature and the Supernatural in the American Imagination

WRIT 101: Poe’s Pathologies

WRIT 102 & WRIT 201: The Life of the Artist (standard and honors sections)

ART 250: Survey of Western Art I: Prehistoric to Early Renaissance

ART 252: Survey of Western Art II: Late Gothic to the Rise of Modernism (standard)

ART 252: Survey of Western Art II: Late Gothic to the Rise of Modernism (College Honors Program section)

ART 351: Ancient & Classical Art

ART 288: Visual Arts Abroad: Art & Literature in Paris (with Associate Professor of English Cecilia Feilla)

ART 353: Medieval Art

ART 356: American Art

ART 451: Senior Art History Seminar (capstone for Art History major)

ART/PHIL 398: Art & Philosophy in Venice (with Associate Professor of Philosophy Carrie-Ann Biondi)

Professional Experience

Professional Service

External Adjudicator for American Art (peer-reviewed academic journal), 2014-

External Adjudicator for Tenure & Promotion applications at several institutions, 2013-

Docent Training, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, 2009- 

Co-Chair (with Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas, CUNY Graduate Center), Associates of American Art, 2006- 

College Service

Member, Library Taskforce Committee, 2013-

Search Committee, Position in Integrated Digital Media, 2013

Search Committee, Position in Digital Media, 2013

Faculty Mentor, C-TIE, 2012-

Director, College Honors Program, 2010-

Fulbright Program Adviser, 2010-  

Campus Representative for Boren Awards, 2010-

Faculty Adviser, “Marymount at the Museums,” 2010-

Member, US Perspectives Subcommittee, General Education Committee, 2009- 

Member, Hewitt Art Gallery Selection Committee, 2006-

Faculty Adviser and Editor, Artfusion News, 2006-