Graduate Student Affiliate of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
Gwendolyn is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in early modern Islamic art (Ottoman focus) and cultural history. Previously, she received her M.A. from the University of Chicago in Middle Eastern Studies and her B.A. from Vassar College in Classics and Medieval/Renaissance Studies.
This year she was hired as Asst. Curator for Art of the Middle East at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). There, she will contribute to upcoming exhibitions, including Dining with the Sultan (2023) and the reinstallation of the permanent collections following museum renovations.
Gwendolyn's dissertation offers the first extended history of the commercial art market for single-folio paintings during the 17th-18th c. Works from this market largely survive in albums, costume albums, and mecmuas (anthologies). Her research contextualizes these paintings from artistic production to their purchase by a diverse clientele, and follows their afterlife as recommodified objects in private collections. The dissertation argues that the popularization of the album format, and the rise of a wealthy class of Ottoman urban notables contributed to the creation of this market, which had broad cross-cultural appeal among European travelers as well. She further tracks collecting trends among Ottoman and European buyers through codicological analysis and digital tools, such as network graphing of pounced models. In doing so, she considers how these factors drove the development of this early modern art market. Her past projects have included cross-cultural exchanges in commercial Levantine prints and depictions of dress in artists' albums of the Qajar dynasty.