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University of Delaware Affiliated Faculty

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Roberta K. Tarbell Ph.D.
Affiliated Associate Professor
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
Sculpture by Chaim Gross


​Roberta K. Tarbell, Visiting Scholar, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, spent her early years in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York and received a B.S. from Cornell University in 1965. At the University of Delaware, she earned an M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1976) in art history, focusing on American art and modern sculpture, and taught in the art history department from 1980 to 1984. From 1984 to 2009, she taught Art History in the Fine Arts Department at Rutgers University, Camden, chaired the department for four years and directed the Museum Studies Program for ten years. Since 1986, as an Affiliated Associate Professor for the Winterthur Museum/UD programs in Art Conservation, she has supervised individual studies and three Ph.D. students and served on the Joanna Rowntree Memorial Advisory Committee which organized the Deborah Butterfield Lecture in 2008. Many of her fifty publications have been book-length catalogues for exhibitions at such museums as the Smithsonian Museum of American Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the University of Chicago; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and recently “Rodin and America,” organized by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, Stanford CA. She contributed several essays to The Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of American Art, American National Biography (Oxford Univ. Press, 2009) and the Encyclopedia of American Studies (2001) and “Walt Whitman and the Visual Arts,” a chapter in David S. Reynolds, ed., A Historical Guide to Walt Whitman (Oxford University Press, 2000). On an NEH fellowship Professor Tarbell spent the summer of 1997 in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico studying ancient and living Mayan art, anthropology, and archaeology in order to prepare a multidisciplinary course on the subject. She developed other interdisciplinary courses with professors of American, German and English literature, and computer animation. In 2016 she submitted a chapter on the reception between the world wars of the modern sculptures of Robert Laurent, Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman and William Zorach for an exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art [Maine]; the aesthetic resources of the American sculptor John B. Flannagan (1895-1942); and a review of the book, Women Modernists in New York all of which will be published in 2017.

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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489