The Connoisseurs Circle Fellows

Thanks to the generosity of the Connoisseurs Circle, the Institute is pleased to be able to award several student fellowships each year.


2015-16 Connoisseurs Circle Fellows

Brian Bentley
I had the pleasure of completing my master’s degree at the Institute in 2013 and I am elated to return in pursuit of my PhD. My principal research concentration is on the art of Brazil in the mid to late twentieth century. Under the outstanding advisement of Dr. Edward J. Sullivan, I am focusing on the renewed interest in figurative painting invoked by Brazilian artists through the modalities of Pop art, conceptual practices, and new media, while also challenging the hegemony of the United States and Europe as models for artistic production, especially amidst the repression and censorship of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship after 1964.

Daniella Berman
This fall, I successfully defended my dissertation proposal, which explores the unfinished history of paintings of the French Revolution, focusing on paintings and projects that were explicitly abandoned because their subject matters proved problematic—sometimes even dangerous—in light of the seismic socio-political shifts between 1789 and 1799. I also consider the emergence of an aesthetic of unfinishedness (which I am calling “the aesthetics of contingency”), and the production of works intentionally made to look incomplete to retain a malleability of meaning that, in turn, allowed the artwork to navigate the changing tides.

Elizabeth Buhe
In my fifth year as a PhD candidate at the IFA, I am working on my dissertation advised by Professor Thomas Crow. I have decided to examine abstract painting in the 1960s by reading it against the dominant mode of apprehension—vision—on which the discourse of art history and its criticism is chiefly based. My main figure of inquiry is Sam Francis, so I have spent considerable time in Los Angeles at the Getty Research Institute, where his archive is housed, and speaking with his former artistic friends and colleagues. I am very enthusiastic about the hermeneutic possibilities of the anti-optical; my hope is to demonstrate methodology that could logically extend to other painting practices, especially Color Field painting on the East Coast during the same timeframe.

Harry DeBauche
I became interested in conservation while studying sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design. During the past two years at the IFA I have continued to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to treat works of art to ensure their material longevity and legibility. Most recently I served as the senior conservator on an archaeological dig of the Lydian capital of Sardis, Turkey. I worked on hundreds of objects running the gamut from delicate glass lachrymatories to iron scythes and chair frames. Working in the field has been extremely helpful as the surprises, and limited resources, require constant improvisation, as well as the ability to distinguish the necessary from the ideal.

Kara Fiedorek
My fifth year at the Institute has been full of exciting new challenges. I have made significant progress on my dissertation, “Priests of the Sun: Photography and Faith, 1860-1910.” A Junior Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London gave me the time and space to undertake several research trips around England, which provided many insights into the materials covered by my dissertation. I spent the summer at a dissertation writing workshop in Berlin as part of NYU’s Global Research Initiative. I will spend the remainder of this academic year completing my dissertation.

Marya Fisher
As a seventh year doctoral student at the Institute of Fine Arts, I am completing my dissertation, entitled “Architecture and the Sacred among the Western Greeks: The Non-Peripteral Temples of South Italy and Sicily.” My dissertation looks at the relationship between architecture and ritual in the most common, but understudied type of sacred building in South Italy and Sicily. In addition to working on my dissertation, I completed two articles, one of which, entitled “How to Look at a Non-Peripteral Temple” was published in Autopsy in Athens: Recent Archaeological Research on Athens and Attica (2015).

Connoisseurs Executive Committee

Stephen R. Beckwith, Chairman
William L. Bernhard
Jane Draizen 
Roberta Huber
Guillaume Malle 
David Tobey
Marica Vilcek
Alicia Volk

Ex Officio
Patricia Rubin

The IFA Legacy Society
Corporate Patron Program