The Connoisseurs Circle Fellows

The 2013-14 Connoisseurs Circle Fellows will be announced shortly. Please check this web page for updates.


Ileana L. Selejan

2012-13 Connoisseurs Circle Fellow
PhD Candidate

I began my studies at the Institute of Fine Arts in the fall of 2007. Originally from Romania, I received my undergraduate and master’s degrees in art history and literature at the International University Bremen, in Germany. For my doctoral dissertation I am writing about the intersection of esthetics and war photography in the context of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua.

My initial research focused on a compelling body of independent work made during the Nicaraguan revolution and Contra War (1978-1989) by American, European and Latin American documentary photographers. With the support I received from the Connoisseurs Circle, I was able to visit Nicaragua in 2012. There I discovered a range of photographic work that had rarely, if ever, been seen outside of Nicaragua. The significance of the photographs by Claudia Gordillo and Margarita Montealegre, in particular, encouraged me to expand my study to encompass broader, international communities of artists, writers and intellectuals that emerged during the conflict.

Around the time this photograph was taken, massive political changes were underway around the world-Central America was just one example-yet all felt quiet on the Eastern front. It was not until a few years later, in December 1989, that we felt those changes in Romania as the country’s dictatorship fell and the slow, difficult transition to democracy began. As a child, I remember the revolution mainly through photographs and TV footage. I did not actually see many of the images from that time until years later. This “inherited” awareness that memory does not always coincide with history, is responsible in part for my current academic interests. I am thankful to the Connoisseurs Circle for their support, which has allowed me to expand upon my research and solidify the direction of my thesis work.

Connoisseurs Executive Committee

Stephen R. Beckwith, Chairman
William L. Bernhard
Roberta Huber
Judy Steinhardt
Alicia Volk

Ex Officio
Patricia Rubin

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