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First, A fence: The Vernacular Cultural Space of Anne Truitt’s Early Sculpture

Miguel de Baca, Harvard University, Junior Fellow 2007–2008

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to join Dumbarton Oaks for one academic year. I am especially pleased that the forward-thinking Senior Fellows of Garden and Landscape Studies found great worth in my project, as some art historians from within my own field might, at first glance, not foresee the imperative connections between contemporary sculpture and historical landscapes. It is precisely this kind of open-ended thinking that Dumbarton Oaks cultivates, and I am a stronger scholar for it.

I entered Dumbarton Oaks with the expectation of finishing two chapters:a foundational chapter introducing landscape studies-based methodology to formalist considerations of modernist art, anda prolonged consideration of color as an expanded vocabulary for sculptural form Of these, I successfully completed the landscape chapter and submitted it, with previous work, for a formal thesis defense in November 2008. The chapter on color is underway, with due thanks to my colleague, Prof. Peter Jacobs (Université de Montréal, and currently Beatrix Farrand Distinguished Fellow), for his insight on how to organize this chapter most effectively.

In conclusion, I have an additional word of thanks for the Director of Studies, Michel Conan, whose sharpness of judgment has been a guiding light for my research. He has consistently shown me the most fruitful direction to take. His assessments are astute, clear, and elegant. As Dumbarton Oaks moves forward, I hope that successive generations of fellows benefit from such a role model.