Fellow Travelers: The Artist-Researchers of the Rosenwald Fellowship, 1940-1950


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art

Named Award

Ellen Holtzman Fellow named award


This dissertation is the first to consider the Rosenwald Fellowship, a grant-giving program in operation in the first half of the 20th century that allowed African American artists to conduct research travel for projects of their own design. It centers the work of five artists who won Rosenwald fellowships in the 1940s: Jacob Lawrence, Eldzier Cortor, Elizabeth Catlett, Rose Piper, and Haywood "Bill" Rivers, all of whom positioned themselves as "researchers" engaged in study of a particular issue or problem. Examining how travel and research became central to artistic practice in the 1940s, it also considers how artists' "fieldwork" was funded, and the importance that this kind of mobility held specifically for Black artists at this moment.