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Wendy Bellion

Associate Dean for the Humanities
Professor of Art History
University of Delaware
4 Kent Way
Newark, DE 19716
302-831-2793
 

Biography

Professor Wendy Bellion (Ph.D. Northwestern University) teaches American art history and material culture studies. She is also director of the university's Center for Material Culture Studies. Professor Bellion's scholarship takes an interdisciplinary approach to American visual and material culture, focusing on the late colonial and early national United States and exploring American art within the cultural geographies of the British Atlantic world and early modern Americas. Her latest book, Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment (2019), explores a history of material violence in New York City from the 1760s to the 1930s, tracing acts of political iconoclasm and the return of destroyed things in visual representations and civic performances. Her book Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011), which was awarded the 2014 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Outstanding Scholarship by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines the exhibition of illusionistic paintings and optical devices within post-revolutionary cultures of sensory discernment and undeceiving. Bellion is also co-editor (with Prof. Mónica Domínguez Torres) of Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio. She is currently working on a new monograph about visual culture and the early national theater as well as a co-edited volume on global eighteenth-century material cultures for Bloomsbury's Material Culture of Art series (forthcoming 2023). Her publications include essays on trompe l'oeil representation, sculpture, drawing instruments, theatrical illusion, and art-historical methodologies.

Professor Bellion taught at Rutgers University and the College of William and Mary before joining the University of Delaware in 2004. As the Terra Foundation for American Art/Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art Visiting Professor in 2015, she taught at the Université de Paris 7 (Paris Diderot) and the École Normale Supérieure. An elected member and Advisory Council member of the American Antiquarian Society, she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), Henry Luce Foundation, Library Company of Philadelphia, National Endowment for the Humanities, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Winterthur Museum. She has contributed to exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Newberry Library, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Appointed as a trustee of the Biggs Museum of American Art by the governor of Delaware, she serves on the editorial boards for Bloomsbury, the University of Delaware Press, and the journals Early American Literature and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture.

Professor Bellion advises graduate students in American art history and teaches graduate seminars on methods and historiography, iconoclasm, sculpture, the transcultural arts of the colonial Americas, and the material cultures of 18th and 19th century New York and Philadelphia. Her undergraduate courses include surveys of American art history and 18th-century art as well as seminars on fakes and forgeries, illusionism, and the Peale family.

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