Doctoral Dissertations

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    Hans Hofmann's last lesson: a study of the artist's materials during the last decade of his career
    (University of Delaware, 2014) Rogala, Dawn
    This dissertation identifies the late-career materials of Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) and examines the relationships apparent among the artist’s materials, his signature painting style, and the physical and aging characteristics of his paintings. A representative catalogue of Hofmann's latecareer materials has been built from the analysis of over 500 paint and fiber samples focusing primarily on the last decade of the artist’s production (1955 through 1965), and a correlation found between condition issues in Hofmann’s work and a transitional mix of material and method endemic to Abstract Expressionist painting practice. The results of this research could inform the conservation of Abstract Expressionist and other works that incorporate both traditional and modern paint media by revealing a gap in current research and preservation methodology regarding modernist painting practice. [see dissertation for complete text of the author's abstract]
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    Landscapes of work: the domestic outbuildings of central Maryland, 1760-1929
    (University of Delaware, 2014) Blair, Melissa
    This dissertation is about domestic outbuildings in central Maryland, buildings associated with changing ways of rural life and work from the second half of the eighteenth century to early twentieth century. The research illuminates the choices that went into the creation and evolution of highly significant, but understudied, rural landscapes in central Maryland, and ultimately it considers issues related to historic farm building and rural landscape preservation. Central Maryland's domestic outbuildings emerged as people from two of North America's oldest Euro-American cultural regions--the Chesapeake and southeastern Pennsylvania--along with Native people and free and enslaved African Americans, co-mingled in Maryland's Piedmont, building upon fortuitous ecological conditions to create a significant hybridized landscape. Domestic outbuildings fueled Maryland's expanding rural economy at the same time they facilitated long-held practices of everyday life. Over the course of the nineteenth century, hybrid patterns gave way to a convergence--one where Northern models dominated, while at the same time, the region's farms moved toward a national agricultural culture. Domestic outbuilding use endured long into the twentieth century because these structures continued to be a useful part of the highly diversified farming strategies of many rural families. Deeper understanding of these phenomena strengthens the case for the preservation of domestic outbuildings and the historic rural landscapes of which they are a vital part.