Three Art History Scholars Awarded Metropolitan Museum of Art Fellowships

June 29, 2022

The fellowships, won by two Ph.D. students and one recent graduate, give “unparalleled access” to labs, artifacts, and mentors.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s art history fellowships are among the most prestigious in the field. (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)

Two Art History Ph.D. students and one class of ’22 graduate have received fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, considered among the most prestigious fellowships in the field.

The students, Samantha Small and Joseph Henry, were awarded pre-doctoral fellowships in the History of Visual Art and Culture. Henry received the Diamonstein-Spielvogel fellowship in Drawings and Prints. Both Henry and Small say the fellowship funding and access to the Met’s resources will benefit their dissertation research and writing. The fellowships also give them important curatorial experience. 

“Working in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Paintings is an incredible opportunity to access the Met's resources to propel my research, as well as to learn from and develop professional relationships with MMA curators,” said Small, whose dissertation focuses the Bavarian Symbolist artist Franz von Stuck.

Samantha Small
Samantha Small (Courtesy of Small)

Alumna Stephanie Huber (Ph.D. ’22, Art History) received the postdoctoral Leonard A. Lauder Fellowship in Modern Art. “This postdoctoral fellowship will help me transform my dissertation into a book and submit a manuscript to publishers by next year,” Huber said. “It is my hope that the travel opportunities and access to scholars at the Lauder Center will allow me to enrich the work that I completed at the Graduate Center.”

Huber’s dissertation focused on a magic realist style called “neorealism” that was used by Dutch figurative painters between the World Wars and during the German occupation. 

Stephanie Huber; photo credit: Alex Irklievski
Stephanie Huber (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)

“The Metropolitan Museum has one of the best art history libraries in the world, as well as one of the best art collections, and fellows gain unparalleled access to conservation labs, artifacts in storage, archives, and the mentorship of the curators themselves,” said Professor Jennifer Ball, executive officer of the Art History Program. “For any institution to be represented by three fellows is exceptional.” 

Students in the Art History program have won numerous awards and fellowships in recent years. In 2020, Small won a Fulbright Fellowship for her research on the fin-de-siècle German Symbolist movement in the visual arts. Last year, two Ph.D. candidates were awarded Luce/ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Dissertation Fellowships in American Art.

“Our program has a rigorous dissertation proposal process designed to mirror the process of obtaining fellowships, where highly condensed proposals are pitched to a group of scholars across fields, and the applicant has to speak to specialists in their subfield as well as non-specialists,” Ball said. “It is for this reason that students in our program are particularly successful in winning highly competitive, external fellowships and these Metropolitan Museum fellowships testify to the energy and attention we give the dissertation proposal." 

Learn more about the Ph.D. Program in Art History

Henry emphasized the importance of securing outside grants to support dissertation writing. “Almost every graduate student has to work part-time alongside their degree, often at the expense of their research and writing,” he said. “To have full financial support is a real privilege, and one for which I’m grateful.”

Joseph Henry; photo credit: Alex Irklievski
Joseph Henry (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)

Huber credited the Graduate Center with helping her develop the writing skills necessary for grant applications. “The GC offered numerous opportunities to practice writing fellowship proposals and share them with peers,” she said. “What has prepared me the most is the feedback and encouragement from my adviser and writing workshops that included practice with grant writing.”

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