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One of Art History's Highest Honors Goes to S. Hollis Clayson

National Gallery of Art selects Northwestern professor for Kress Professorship

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October 17, 2012 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- S. Hollis Clayson, professor of art history in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of Northwestern University’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, has been appointed the 2013-14 Samuel H. Kress Professor at the National Gallery of Art. The professorship is among the highest honors in the field of art history.

With the appointment, Clayson will become the senior resident scholar at the National Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). In addition to pursuing her own research, she will counsel predoctoral fellows at the center.

A historian of modern art who specializes in 19th-century Europe and transatlantic exchanges between France and the United States, Clayson is author of “Painted Love: Prostitution in French Art of the Impressionist Era” and “Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life Under Siege (1870-71).” She is co-editor of “Understanding Paintings: Themes in Art Explored and Explained,” which has been translated into six languages.

At CASVA, Clayson, Northwestern’s Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities, will complete “Electric Paris,” a book exploring the visual cultures of the City of Light in the era of Thomas Edison.

Clayson was honored for her work two years ago by the Art Institute of Chicago and has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Getty Research Institute, the Clark Art Institute and The Huntington Library.

The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts was founded by the National Gallery of Art to study the production, use and cultural meaning of art, artifacts, architecture, photography and film. 

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