Ph.D. student Katrina Greene researches 500 prints from the Dr. Charles Lee Reese Collection

February 26, 2014


Mysteries solved. Discoveries made. Inquiries opened. Ph.D. student Katrina Greene has just completed her second internship at the Delaware Art Museum, where she has tackled a variety of projects related to the museum’s collection of American Art.At the Delaware Art Museum, Greene researched many works of art. She compiled a complete conservation record for Raphaelle Peale’s Absalom Jones (1810), allowing museum staff to better understand the history, condition, and conservation requirements of one of the Museum’s most important 19th-century paintings, and she sorted out the complicated story behind the production of Robert Weir’s Indian Captives, Massachusetts 1650 (1840), an earlier version of which is in the collection of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

Greene developed a particular interest in the Dr. Charles Lee Reese Collection, a group of more than 500 prints donated by Reese and his family, starting in 1940. A chemist at DuPont, Reese became an avid collector of American and European prints and, eventually, President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. Reese bequeathed the majority of his prints, collected over five decades from dealers and printmaking societies in Europe and the United States, to the Museum. The gift became one of the Museum’s foundation collections, treasured for its breadth and quality. Examining Reese’s ledger, Greene has traced the provenance of his works and discovered letters between the collector and his regular dealers, which shed light on his passion for print collecting. “The fine examples of etchings that Reese acquired and his personal record book tell a vivid story about market for prints in the greater Wilmington area during the 1920s and ’30s,” Greene explains, “a story that I intend to incorporate into my dissertation project.”

Greene is one of the first students in the Curatorial Track Ph.D. program in Art History at the University of Delaware, an initiative launched in 2012 with a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The CTPHD program includes courses in art history, art conservation, museum studies, and nonprofit management as well as museum internships, to prepare students for curatorial careers in specialized art historical fields.  Greene focuses on American Art, with a strong interest in printmaking, and it was her interest in object-based, technical art history—the all-encompassing material history of objects and artworks—that attracted her to the CTPHD program. She considers the seven months working at the museum to have been very well spent. “Internships at the Delaware Art Museums synthesized my previous coursework with a fascinating group of American paintings, allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the curatorial department as a prints specialist, and demonstrated how vital exchange between academia and museums can be.”Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American ArtThis Curator Corner was posted on January 14, 2014.Rotherhithe, 1860
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
Etching and drypoint, plate: 10 5/8 x 7 5/8 in
Gift of Dr. Charles Lee Reese, 1940

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