About the Department

Art is the historical heritage of every country and culture. Study of the visual arts leads us to understand important issues of our civilization, issues that form the core of a comprehensive liberal arts education. Art history is the academic discipline that studies this heritage and interprets it for our and future generations as part of our common humanistic legacy. To achieve this goal, art history combines historical analysis with a special concern for artistic expression. By nature multidisciplinary, it adopts methods and tools from a wide range of fields such as history, literature, linguistics, the social and political sciences, gender and film studies, anthropology, and psychology among others. The Department of Art History at the University of Delaware is dedicated to education and research in the history of the visual arts. It has an established national and international reputation as the home of leading specialists in the field. It is also a hub for accessing important art centers in the Mid-Atlantic region. With special strengths in American and European art and architecture, the Department offers an expansive coverage of the arts and culture of historical periods internationally, from Greco-Roman antiquity to the present. Broader geo-cultural fields are covered as well, such as Chinese, Latin American, and African art.

At the heart of the Department's prominence is its distinguished faculty. Representing specialties ranging from ancient to contemporary art, faculty members have been recognized by way of prestigious awards, such as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Needham Research Institute). Art history graduate students have won fellowships from the National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), the Smithsonian Institution, and the Luce Foundation. Graduates from our department hold positions at MIT, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, the Princeton University Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the University of Virginia.

The Department benefits from the presence of important collections on campus and beyond. These include the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art and the Old College Gallery and, in the immediate vicinity, the Winterthur Museum and its world-class library, the Hagley Museum dedicated to American material culture, and the Delaware Art Museum with its internationally famous Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The University's central position in the Northeast corridor, between New York and Washington, makes major museums and collections easily accessible to art history faculty and students. Among them are the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington; the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and MoMA in New York.

Within the University, a unique constellation of related departments and programs enhance the Department's instructional scope and educational mission. A selection includes the Department of Art Conservation, the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, the Center for Material Culture Studies, the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, and the Museum Studies Program.

The Department of Art History is committed to undergraduate education for majors and non-majors and to training graduate students who will be competitive at the higher reaches of our discipline as educators, museum curators, and scholars dedicated to research.