When in Rome, art history professor will study works of a Union notable

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David Ogawa, associate professor of art history, has been awarded the inaugural Terra Foundation Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.

The fellowship is a partnership between the American Academy and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Awarded annually for five years, it supports art historians researching topics relating to Italian–American exchange.

David Ogawa, associate professor of art history

David Ogawa

Ogawa will spend six months in Rome researching the work of William James Stillman, Class of 1848. Stillman was a renowned artist, diplomat and historian. He was also a journalist and photographer who served for several decades as a correspondent for the London Times.

Stillman lived in Rome between 1861 and 1865, and again from 1886 to 1898.

Union’s Special Collections houses the world’s single biggest repository of Stillman’s photographs and manuscripts. The material includes Stillman’s close relationships with other members of 19th century literary and political circles, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Russell Lowell. Notable correspondents include Walt Whitman, Emile Zola, Robert Barrett Browning, Florence Nightingale and Stillman’s Union classmate, William Seward.

While in Rome, Ogawa will consult the academy’s photographic archive and other resources as part of a plan to digitize the full catalogue of Stillman’s work, making it accessible to artists and scholars around the globe.

“This fellowship at the American Academy is one of the greatest privileges that a scholar in the humanities could hope for,” said Ogawa, who joined Union in 1999. “It's an incredible community of artists, architects, historians, writers, musicians and researchers with the freedom to do our own work while sharing a home, our meals, and our ideas in dialogue with the past and present in Rome.

“Being able to devote this time to Union's alumnus Stillman makes it all the more exciting. This fellowship will enable me to give his works the close study that it deserves.”

The fellowship was created to help illuminate American art and artists, especially those who have themselves been influenced or moved by European places and traditions.

“We join our partners at the American Academy in Rome in congratulating David Ogawa as the inaugural Terra Foundation Affiliated Fellow,” said Elizabeth Glassman, Terra Foundation president and CEO. “We look forward to Professor Ogawa’s digital publication, which will help to cultivate rich, meaningful and sustained cross-cultural dialogues in the increasingly globalized field of art history.”