Term: Summer 2014
Kerry Dean Carso is chair and associate professor of art history at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she teaches courses on American art and architecture. Her research focuses on interconnections between the arts and literature in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author of American Gothic Art and Architecture in the Age of Romantic Literature (University of Wales Press, 2014).
Professor Carso is working on a book manuscript on garden and park architecture in nineteenth-century America. The book is a landscape history that will include a variety of visual culture primary sources, including the paintings of Thomas Cole and other American landscape painters. She is especially interested in how American landscape paintings relate to both the formation of national identity and the roots of the conservation movement. A significant patron of American art, James Pinchot named his son Gifford after his friend, the American landscape painter Sanford Robinson Gifford; hence, Gifford Pinchot provides a fascinating link between the Hudson River School of artists and the appreciation of American natural scenery that led to later conservation efforts.
After her residency at Grey Towers, Professor Carso delivered a lecture entitled “Landscapes of Nationalism and the Roots of Conservation in Nineteenth-Century America” on September 22, 2014 at the State University of New York at New Paltz. The lecture was part of a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
“For an Americanist art historian like me, time spent at Grey Towers was unparalleled. In a country house designed by Richard Morris Hunt for a client (James Pinchot) who was friends with and patron of a number of important nineteenth-century American artists, I was able to delve into my subject matter with a sense of place that was very special. Thank you!”