Wendy Bellion
Wendy Bellion
Associate Professor
American Art and Material Culture
Office: 323 Old College
Telephone: (302) 831-8674
Ph.D. Northwestern University

Professor Wendy Bellion (Ph.D. Northwestern University) teaches American art history and 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 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. She is also co-editor (with Professor Mónica Domínguez Torres) of Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio. Her new book project – What Statues Remember: Art and Iconoclasm in New York City – explores the performative dimensions of sculptural monuments in lower Manhattan from the late eighteenth century to the Occupy Wall Street movement. 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. She has also served as a Visiting Professor for the Terra Foundation for American Art/Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, teaching at the Université de Paris 7 (Paris Diderot) and the École Normale Supérieure. An elected member of the American Antiquarian Society, she 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. She currently serves on editorial boards for the University of Delaware Press and the journal Winterthur Portfolio.

At the University of Delaware, Professor Bellion advises graduate students in American art history and serves on the Executive Committee of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. Her undergraduate courses include surveys of American art history and seminars that explore topics ranging from the artistic and scientific cultures of early Philadelphia to Surrealism in the United States. Her graduate seminars include courses on methodology and historiography, the circle of Charles Willson Peale, visual culture and the late Enlightenment British world, and American sculpture. She has also co-taught seminars exploring the transcultural arts of the colonial Americas; English design history, and the painting and literature of the American Revolution.

Selected publications:

  • “Teaching across the Borders of North American Art History,” co-author Mónica Domínguez Torres, in The Blackwell Companion to American Art (eds. John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, Jason Lafountain, 2015)
  • “The Sculpture Club,” in Samuel F.B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention (Chicago: Terra Foundation for American Art, 2014)
  • "New England’s Ends," in New Views on New England: Studies in Material and Visual Culture, 1680-1830, eds. Georgia Barnhill and Martha McNamara (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2012)
  • "City as Spectacle: William Birch and the Chestnut Street Theatre," Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes (special issue on William Birch), 32:1 (Jan. 2012), 15-34
  • Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2011)
  • Introduction and guest co-editor, with Mónica Domínguez Torres, Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America. Winterthur Portfolio 45:2/3 (summer/autumn 2011)
  • "Patience Wright's Transatlantic Bodies," in Shaping the Body Politic: Art and Political Formation in Early National America, eds. Maurie McInnis and Louis Nelson (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011)
  • "Vision and Visuality," in "American Art and the Senses," American Art 24:3 (fall 2010), 21-25
  • "The Return of the Eighteenth Century," American Art 19:2 (summer 2005), 2-10
  • "Extend the Sphere: Charles Willson Peale's Panorama of Annapolis," The Art Bulletin 86:3 (Sept. 2004), 529-549
  • "Illusion and Allusion: Charles Willson Peale's Staircase Group at the Columbianum Exhibition," American Art 17:2 (summer 2003), 18-39
  • "Heads of State: Profiles and Politics in Jeffersonian America," in New Media, 1740-1915, eds. Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey P. Pingree (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003), 31-59