Ellie Stoltzfus Sets Sights On Bright Art History Horizon

At the end of last summer, Eleanor “Ellie” Stoltzfus was preparing to move to the College Park area to begin her Ph.D. work in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, working with Professor Steven Mansbach studying Eastern European avant-garde art of the 1920s. She also was concluding a most engaging summer of research as a curatorial assistant at the Princeton Art Museum, for an exhibition currently on view until October 6, “Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Collection of Preston H. Haskell, Class of 1960.” http://artmuseum.princeton.edu/art/exhibitions/1506

Conducting initial research on the nearly twenty-five works in the exhibition was “thrilling,” especially because it exposed her to members of Abstract Expressionism with whom she was less familiar. Jack Goldstein’s untitled 1985 work became “one of [her] favorites” in the show, and his intriguing work process – he hired assistants to apply paint with a spray gun on his behalf – and self-effacing attitude to his role as artist are aspects surfaced by Ellie in her object essay written for the catalog, one of five essays written for the book on work by, in addition to Goldstein, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, and Morris Louis.

Of her own research, Ellie laughs that her focus, when compared to her work at Princeton, is “not that at all.” Her consideration of Soviet avant-garde art of the early twentieth century encompasses a range of media, from theater to film to photographs, and explores, in particular, the relationship between Soviet artists visiting and working in Berlin for extended periods, such as El Lissitzky, and members of the vibrant Berlin avant-garde. One expects that Ellie and her many colleagues studying with Professor Mansbach in the semesters to come will deepen and expand considerably our understanding of and attention to the vitality of artistic exchange in eastern Europe in the early twentieth century. Much success!