(PSP alumni dissertations can be found in the University of Delaware library system or through Proquest.)
Kristin deGhetaldi (2016) on “From Egg to Oil: The Early Development of Oil Painting During the Quattrocento.”
Kristin deGhetaldi's research focused on developing a more accurate assessment of Quattrocento painting practice by preserving the original stratigraphy of paint cross-sectional samples during organic analysis. In her dissertation, Kristin summarized and identified newly recognized inaccuracies relating to early analytical protocols as contamination from restoration materials, the migration of fatty acids, the presence of reactive pigments, and the formation of degradation products are now known to affect the detection of certain chemical markers that are key in helping scientists to identify the binders present in a work of art. Her findings suggest that more sophisticated methods are required for distinguishing egg tempera from oil paints, indicating that earlier technical studies must now be re-evaluated in order to develop a more accurate understanding of Quattrocento painting techniques, workshop practices, attribution, and the diffusion of artistic processes throughout Europe. Kristin has recently participated in the development of University of Delaware's technical art history website, a two-year project sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, as well as the implementation of MITRA (Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artist), an online discussion forum for artists seeking to learn more about art materials and techniques. [Committee: Perry Chapman (ARTH), Joyce Hill Stoner (ARTC), Murray Johnston (CHEM), Chris Petersen (ARTC), Meredith Gill (ARTH, University of Maryland).]
Melissa Blair (2014) on “Landscapes of Work: The Domestic Outbuildings of Central Maryland, 1760-1929.”
Melissa Blair’s research focused on springhouses, summer kitchens, bake ovens, smokehouses, root cellars, ice houses, dairies, washhouses, and other small buildings—sites of intense activity and production that were integral parts of farmsteads. Melissa’s work shed light on how these seemingly simple structures reveal patterns of familial interaction, divisions of labor, evolving household technology, and regional architectural characteristics. When examined in the context of emerging industrialization, these buildings point to changing social constructs, environmental values, and economic and demographic conditions. Melissa studied prototypes, chronology, geographic distribution, construction, and use of domestic outbuildings as a means to broaden our knowledge of rural life in the Mid-Atlantic region. Melissa's first position upon graduation was as a lecturer in public history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. [Committee: Ritchie Garrison (HIST), Lu Ann De Cunzo (ANTH), Katherine Grier (HIST), Sally McMurry (Penn State).]
Dawn V. Rogala (2014) on “Hans Hofmann's Last Lesson: A Study of the Artist's Materials During the Last Decade of His Career.”
Dawn Rogala’s research identified the late-career materials of Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) and examined relationships among the artist’s materials, his signature painting style, and the physical and aging characteristics of his paintings. A catalogue of Hofmann’s materials was built from the analysis of over 500 paint and fiber samples focusing primarily on the last decade of the artist’s production, 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. This study revealed a gap in current research and preservation methodology regarding modernist painting practice, and shifts in conservation methodology for the treatment of modern paintings were suggested. The appendix accompanying the dissertation contains representative data for all analyses performed during the study (including optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and X-ray diffraction). Dawn Rogala's research will be the basis for the Getty Conservation Institute's 2016 offering in their "Artist's Materials" book series. After graduation, Dawn began work as a paintings conservator at the Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution. [Committee: Joyce Hill Stoner (ARTC), Roberta Tarbell (adjunct Art Historian for ARTC), Murray Johnston (CHEM), Jill Sterrett (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Christopher Maines (National Gallery of Art).]
Marina Dobronovskaya (2013) on “The Material Culture of Stalinism: The City of Novgorod, Urban Reconstruction, and Historic Preservation in the Soviet Union after World War Two (1943-1955).”
Marina Dobronovskaya’s research focused on the post-war reconstruction of destroyed cities in the USSR—the largest state-planned reconstruction project of the twentieth century. The process and politics of this process were examined: how decisions were made, what was actually done, and the impact of reconstruction on contemporary society, especially on the professional development and philosophy of historic preservation. Marina's research contributes to fledgling efforts to protect historical heritage in Russia and in other areas of the world and will be relevant to ongoing international efforts to reconstruct historic sites destroyed by wars and natural disasters. Produced during her doctoral studies, Marina's book on historic preservation in Moscow—entitled Ob’ekt okhrany: Moskva. K 95-letiu obrazovania sistemy organov okhrany pamiatnikov. Documenty i svidetelstva [Object of Preservation: Moscow. Ninety-five years of historic preservation. The Moscow Historical Preservation Agency]—has thus far won two awards: The Moscow Mayor’s Award for the best book on historic preservation of the year (2012) and second prize, category Best publication on architecture and architects, Annual Moscow International Festival “Architecture” (2013). [Committee: Robert Warren (Urban Affairs and Public Policy), Ritchie Garrison (HIST), David Ames (CHAD), Karl Qualls (Dickinson), Bernie Herman (UNC, Chapel Hill).]
Amanda Norbutus (2012) on “New approaches for the preservation of outdoor public murals: The assessment of removable protective coatings for mural paintings and painted architectural surfaces.”
Amanda Norbutus’s research evaluated the quality and performance of several coatings systems designed to protect outdoor murals from the chemical, mechanical, and physical stresses of everyday environmental exposure. Five solvent- and water-borne coatings systems were examined using Scanning Electron Microscopy, Fourier Transform-Infrared Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. Amanda worked with mural artists, civic leaders, arts advocates, mural arts commissions, and community leaders on the murals in Philadelphia and with Heritage Preservation’s Rescue Public Murals project. Amanda's first position after graduation was as the Mendel Science Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Villanova University, Villanova, PA. [Committee: Joyce Hill Stoner (ARTC), Joseph Weber (ARTC), Andrew Teplyakov (CHEM), Thomas Learner (Getty Conservation Institute), Richard Wolbers (ARTC).]
Alumna Dawn Rogala's book based on her dissertation research is the next volume in The Artist's Materials series produced by the Getty Conservation Institute and is available here. This is the second book in this series to be authored by a PSP graduate.
Click here to read more about the new book PSP alumna Melissa Blair has co-authored on mid-Atlantic Art Deco.
Alumna Marina Dobronovskaya has now received two awards for her book on historic preservation in Moscow.
Alumna Susan Buck teaching in the new Conservation Resources for Architectural Interiors/Furniture and Training (CRAFT) graduate program in Beijing co-sponsored by the Palace Museum, Tsinghua University and the World Monuments Fund.
Alumna Susan Lake's book based on her dissertation research was published in 2011 as the first in a new book series by the Getty Conservation Institute focusing on artist's materials and techniques.