Department of Art History
318 Old College
Newark, DE 19716
Professor Wendy Bellion teaches American art history. She holds a B.A. in art history from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. 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) examines the exhibition of trompe l’oeil paintings, optical devices, and illusionistic spectacles within post-revolutionary cultures of sensory discernment and undeceiving. She 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 that developed out of a University of Delaware symposium in 2008. Her new book project – What Statues Remember: Iconoclasm and Ritual 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 Charles Willson Peale’s use of perspective devices; the transatlantic art of waxwork sculptor Patience Wright; theatrical illusion in early Philadelphia; 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. 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, Terra Foundation for American Art, 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 scholarly journalsAmerican Art and J19.
At the University of Delaware, Professor Bellion actively 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 from colonial settlement to the present as well as field-based seminars exploring early photography, Surrealism in the United States, and the artistic cultures of early Philadelphia. Her graduate seminars include courses on methodology and historiography, the Peales and Philadelphia, visual culture and the late Enlightenment British world, and American sculpture. She has also enthusiastically collaborated with colleagues in art history, English, and American history to co-teach seminars exploring the transcultural arts of the colonial Americas; the painting and literature of the American Revolution; and English design history.
“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