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Adrienne Baxter Bell

Professor of Art History
Director, College Honors Program
Director, External Student Scholarships
  • At the Senior Awards Ceremony, May 2019
  • Teaching at the Uffizi, January 2018
  • Teaching at the Louvre, January 2008

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; 2nd edition, 2015) and curated an exhibition of the same name (National Academy of Design, New York, 2003-04; San Diego Museum of Art, 2004), which was awarded Best Exhibition by the Metropolitan Chapter of The Victorian Society in America. It received critical acclaim in more than 90 newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times. 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 on American art at the Clark Art Institute; the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museo di Santa Giulia, Brescia; the Musée des Maîtres et Artisans du Québec; the American Academy in Rome; the Museo Correr, Venice; 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. As part of her research on transnationalism in Italo-American relations, she is working on a critical study and exhibition entitled “Transnational Expatriates: Coleman, Vedder, and the Aesthetic Movement in Gilded Age Italy.” The book will also contain the first catalogue of the work of the American expatriate painter Charles Caryl Coleman (1840-1928). 

Dr. Bell teaches a wide range of courses at Marymount Manhattan College, including those in the Writing Program (WRIT 101, WRIT 102, WRIT 201), both sections of the Western Art Survey (including the College Honors Program section of the Survey of Western Art II), 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 the field of American Studies, she created and teaches an interdisciplinary course entitled “The Body in American Culture: Pre-Colonial Period to the Gilded Age,” which identifies, explores, and debates various ways in which the American “body” was constructed by political, sociological, religious, scientific, and artistic forces. She is currently preparing another American Studies course on overlooked nineteenth-century American women writers on the arts. In 2012, she received Marymount Manhattan College’s Teaching Excellence Award, granted to a faculty member “whose work both in and outside of the classroom stimulates intellectual curiosity and encourages independent and informed thinking.”

A great believer in interdisciplinary and experiential teaching, Dr. Bell has co-taught several study-abroad courses–namely ones in Paris (“Art and Literature in Paris” with Prof. Cecilia Feilla), Venice (“Art and Philosophy in Venice” with Prof. Carrie-Ann Biondi), and Rome (“Drawing on Rome” with Prof. Beth Shipley). For a link to the January 2014 Venice student “blog,” see http://www.mmm.edu/study-abroad-venice. In January 2018, she co-taught “Drawing on Rome and Florence” with the artist and Adjunct Professor of Art Jo Wood-Brown, during which students also visited Siena and Orvieto. 

Since its inception in 2010, Dr. Bell has served as the Director of the College Honors Program, which creates honors iterations of courses in the General Education curriculum; it also houses the CHP Mentoring Initiative, which provides CHP students with opportunities to learn from faculty and peers outside of the classroom. She Chairs the College Honors Program Committee, which establishes CHP policy and oversees the College’s Honors in the Major programs. She is also Director of External Student Scholarships. She mentors all applicants for Boren Scholarships, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, Gilman Awards, and Marshall Scholarships; in this capacity, she also Chairs the Campus Evaluation Committee, which interviews candidates for the awards. 

Title/Position

Professor of Art History
Director, College Honors Program
Director, External Student Scholarships

Department

Art & Art History

Email

abell@mmm.edu

Phone

212-517-0676

Degree(s)

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

“‘Into the Broad Sunlight’:  Anne Hampton Brewster’s Chronicle of Gilded Age Rome,” in Rosella Mamoli Zorzi and Katherine Manthorne, eds., From Darkness to Light: Writers in Museums, 1798-1898. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2019, pp. 285-94.        

“Echoes of the East, Echoes of the Past: Charles Caryl Coleman’s Azaleas and Apple Blossoms at the de Young Museum, San Francisco,” in Cynthia Fowler and Kimberlee Cloutier Blazzard, eds., Locating American Art: Finding Art’s Meaning in Museums, Colonial Period to the PresentLondon: Ashgate, 2016, pp. 33-45.

“John Singer Sargent: At Home in the World,” American Arts Quarterly (Fall 2015): 18-28.

“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 Cheryll L. May and Marian Wardle, eds., 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. 

Recent Scholarly Presentations

“Image of the Invisible: Light and Faith in George Inness’s Moonrise Paintings,” lecture in concert with the exhibition “The Color of the Moon: Lunar Paintings in American Art” (8 February – 12 May 2019), Hudson River Museum, 31 March 2019.

“Passport to Freedom: Anne Hampton Brewster in Rome,” Session: “The Critical Voice in Art of the United States, 1776-1917,” College Art Association 106th Annual Conference, New York, 14 February 2019.

“George Inness’s ‘The Logic of the Real, Aesthetically Considered,’” Conference: “Swedenborg and the Arts.” Co-sponsored by the Swedenborg Foundation, the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Bryn Athyn College, Glencairn Museum, the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and the Swedenborg Society in London. Bryn Athyn College, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 6 June 2017. 

“A Reluctant Revolutionary: Elihu Vedder in the Circle of the Macchiaioli,” Conference: “Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, ca. 1840-1918,” Terra Foundation for American Art / Centro Studi Americani / Museo di Roma; held at the American Academy in Rome, 6-7 October 2016.

“‘Into the Broad Sunlight’:  Anne Hampton Brewster’s Chronicle of Gilded Age Rome,” Conference: “Dal Buio alla Luce: Scrittori al Museo, 1798-1898,” Scuola Grande di San Rocco / Museo Correr / Università Ca’Foscari di Venezia, Venice, 29 April 2016.  

“Dissent: Vedder, Coleman, and Italo-American Transnationalism,” Session: “Rethinking American Art and the Italian Experience, 1760-1918,” College Art Association 103rd Annual Conference, New York, 11 February 2015.

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.

Teaching

AIP 327: The Body in American Culture: Pre-Colonial Period to the Gilded Age

ART 499: Independent Study projects for Honors in Art History. Topics have included the American landscape painter William Hart and the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 

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

ART 356: American Art

ART 353: Medieval Art & Architecture

ART 351: Ancient & Classical Art

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

ART 288: Visual Arts Abroad: Drawing on Rome and Florence (with Adjunct Professor of Art Jo Wood-Brown)

ART 288: Visual Arts Abroad: Drawing on Rome (with Assistant Professor of Art Beth Shipley)

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

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)

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)

NYC 101-01: New York City-A Love Story (New York City Seminar for first-year students)

Professional Experience

Professional Service

Member, Art History Review Panel, The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 2017-

Member,  American Art Reading Group, 2016-

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- 

Member, Associates of American Art, 2006- 

College Service

Director, College Honors Program, 2010-

Chair, College Honors Program Committee, 2010-

Director, External Student Scholarships, 2010-

Chair, Campus Evaluation Committee, 2010-

Coordinator, Honors in the Major, 2014-

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

Faculty Adviser and Editor, Artfusion News, 2006-2011

 

Location

Carson Hall 704