History of Art Graduates and Families Honored at Reception in Cohen Hall

Kevin Murphy, chair of the History of Art department, faculty, and staff honored the HART majors and minors and their families at the department’s annual reception for graduating seniors in the atrium of Cohen Memorial Hall.
Earlier in the day, the Class of 2017 had attended the Senior Day address of Ken Burns, historian and award-winning documentary filmmaker, who, quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, urged the graduates to let “the better angels of our nature” prevail.

Following Murphy’s warm welcome and introduction of the HART faculty and staff, awards were presented and outstanding students recognized for their accomplishments. Vivien Fryd, professor of history of art, introduced the two HART graduates—Monica Peacock and Annabel Learner—who participated in the History of Art Senior Honors Program, which she described as “an intense three semesters of original research.” Peacock outlined her honors thesis, which was entitled “ISIL and its Destruction of Antiquities in the Middle East: Cultural Heritage in Crisis.” Her adviser was Mireille Lee, assistant professor of history of art. Peacock graduated summa cum laude with highest honors in History of Art.

Learner summarized her honors thesis, “Behind the Curtain: An Exploration of Gender and Class in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris through the Examination of Edgar Degas and his Ballerina Works.” Her adviser was Kevin Murphy, professor of history of art, and Learner graduated cum laude with honors in History of Art.

This year the Cooley Prize was shared by Megan Lee and Monica Peacock for the highest grade point average in the history of art department. Haley Brown and Nina Vaswani were recognized as runners-up.

The History of Art department congratulates these graduating seniors: Haley Therese Brown (magna cum laude), Savannah Jean Friedkin, Annabel Tate Learner (cum laude), Megan Linxin Lee (summa cum laude), Ryan Elizabeth Logie, Monica Elizabeth Peacock (summa cum laude), Danielle Christine Petitti, Llewellyn Kittredge Shamamian, Sujin Shin, Elliot James Taillon, and Nina Mary Vaswani.

Held in conjunction with the celebration of our graduates was the opening reception for a student-curated exhibition entitled American Modernism at Mid-Century: The Work of Morris Davidson. On view in the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery through September 17, the exhibition is the fourth in a series of annual partnerships between the Fine Arts Gallery and the History of Art department. The exhibition is curated by Aiden Layer ’19, Nancy Lin ’18, Ryan Logie ’17, Cecilia March ’18, Kittredge Shamamian ’17, Elliot Taillon ’17, and Nina Vaswani ’17, who were students in the “Exhibiting Historical Art” class, taught last fall by Kevin Murphy.

Murphy introduced members of the Rosenfeld/Davidson family who attended the exhibition opening and reception. They loaned paintings to the gallery from their private collection that spans the entirety of Davidson’s career.

The exhibit, the first comprehensive survey of Morris Davidson (1898-1979), a little known yet important twentieth-century American artist, presents new research into the significance of his life’s work, demonstrating that his move from a social-realist idiom in his early work to abstraction by mid-century was informed by his contact with some of the foremost painters of his day.

The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Gallery hours for the summer are Tuesday through Friday 12 noon-4 pm, Saturdays 1-5 pm, and closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, please visit the gallery’s website at www.vanderbilt.edu/gallery.

*Morris Davidson (American, 1898–1979) Untitled [Still Life with Red Pitcher], oil on canvas, n.d. From the Rosenfeld/Davidson Family Collection.

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