History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Katie Jakobiec – Scott Opler Research Fellow in Architectural History at Worcester College, University of Oxford

Thursday, October 13, 2016

katie-jakobiec-rs2Katie Jakobiec is currently the Scott Opler Research Fellow in Architectural History at Worcester College, University of Oxford. She is working on a book project examining the architecture of commodities c. 1550–1650—buildings and spaces that were at the centre of mercantile exchanges around the Baltic Sea region.

She completed her MA and PhD in the Graduate Department of Art at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Professor Christy Anderson.

Emre Gönlügür (PhD, 2014) awarded Research Support Grant by Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Emre Gönlügür (PhD, 2014) was awarded a Research Support Grant by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for his research project entitled “Unheimlich in Foreign Land? Sir Henry Bulwer’s Gothic Castle in Constantinople.” The project aims at a reconstruction of the aesthetic and political context of British Ambassador Bulwer’s neo-Norman mansion built on the remote, uninhabited Isle of Yassiada in the Sea of Marmara in 1859. Emre will conduct research at the British National Archives and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.

Reading Revolution: Art and Literacy during China’s Cultural Revolution

Monday, September 12, 2016


Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto
Reading Revolution: Art and Literacy during China’s Cultural Revolution

20 June – 30 September 2016

The year 2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a social and political movement launched in May of 1966 by Mao Zedong (1893–1976), then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, which lasted until Mao’s death in 1976. The Cultural Revolution sought to implement “true” Communist thought and to make dominant Maoist ideology. Taking this milestone as an occasion on which better to understand the Cultural Revolution, the Fisher Library is hosting an exhibition on the relation of this movement to visual art and literacy. Specifically, this exhibition of two hundred and seventeen objects explores the importance of reading during this period, examining how propaganda posters and other artifacts of the Cultural Revolution represented the writings of Chairman Mao, how these posters and artifacts popularized a culture of Mao’s books, and how, in turn, text-heavy propaganda posters, artifacts representing books, and the large-scale printing of books of “Mao Zedong Thought” (Mao Zedong sixiang) created a context for increased literacy.

Highlights include a selection of rare propaganda posters from the seminal phase of the Cultural Revolution (1966–69). From posters illustrating quotations from Chairman Mao to those encouraging the masses to read, these works reveal a distinct aesthetic in this early phase of the Cultural Revolution. In addition, the exhibition showcases contemporaneous books such as The Selected Works of Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong xuanji, 1951–60) and The Quotations of Chairman Mao (Mao Zhuxi yulu, 1964), as well as translations of Mao’s works in foreign languages. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue also feature artifacts from the Cultural Revolution related to literacy and the practice of reading, including Mao badges, paper cuts, archival photographs, pamphlets, postcards, and children’s toys.

This exhibition is curated by Jenny Purtle, Associate Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art, Department of History of Art/Graduate Department of Art, Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, with assistance from Stephen Qiao of the East Asian Library at the University of Toronto and the Fisher Library’s Liz Ridolfo.

A video narrated by Jenny Purtle and featuring highlights from the collection can be viewed on Fisher Library’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viMgf4Taw6M. There is also an hour-long audio guide that accompanies the exhibition, narrated by the curators. It can streamed or downloaded via SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/fisher-rare-book-library; it is also available as a podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/thomas-fisher-rare-book-library/id1081666924?mt=2.

An online checklist of the exhibition can be accessed at: https://fisher.library.utoronto.ca/Reading%20Revolution%20by%20case. A catalogue of the exhibition is also available for purchase. Catalogue ISBN: 978-0-7727-6119-4 (paperback)

In memoriam, W. McAllister Johnson, 1939–2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

W. McAllister Johnson 1939-2016

W. McAllister Johnson.
Perth area, 2013.

The Department of History of Art/Graduate Department of Art is very saddened to announce the passing of of Faculty Emeritus W. McAllister Johnson on August 23, 2016.  As per Mac’s wishes, there will be no funeral or remembrance service.

Please listen to this podcast, dated 2010 which gives an idea of some of his scholarly activities over four decades.


Shirley Beatty, Class of 1951, establishes new Undergraduate Scholarships

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shirley Beatty, Class of 1951, Department of Art and Archaeology, has donated $350,000 to establish the William R. and Shirley Beatty Undergraduate Scholarships. These are to benefit undergraduate students of the Department of History of Art with the highest level of financial need. Shirley Beatty wants  to ensure that students continue to have access to the wonderfully fulfilling experience she had of studying art here, whatever their circumstances. In making this investment she wants to send a message to these students and to others: namely, that the study of art and the broader humanities is immensely valuable to us as individuals, as a society and a civilization.

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