April 20–21, 2023

Join leading and emerging scholars, museum professionals, and community partners as we rethink narratives surrounding colonial art in the Caribbean region. Shifting Tides: Art in the 18th-Century Caribbean aims to reimagine the relationship between American historical collections in public institutions and the communities they serve. The conference is made up of an in-person symposium followed by a virtual study day, with livestreamed roundtable discussion and an examination of paintings in the Winterthur collection.

Register now.

Conference is free, with a box lunch available for purchase. All lectures take place in Copeland Lecture Hall, located in the Visitor Center. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

8:00 – 8:30 am: Registration and coffee, Visitor Center 

8:30 am: Welcome 

Chris Strand, Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO, Winterthur
Alexandra Deutsch, John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections, Winterthur

8:40 to 10:40 am: Panel #1

Sources and Perspectives: Rethinking the 18th-century Caribbean

Scholars will introduce new perspectives on comparative colonialism in the Americas, on the Caribbean, and the Atlantic world and their role in renewing our understanding of the Americas in the eighteenth century. The panel will also reflect on the ways the field of United States American and Latin American art history have engaged with this recent historiography. 

José Luis Lazarte Luna (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Christelle Lozère (Université des Antilles)
Pedro Luengo (Universidad de Sevilla)
Eveline Sint Nicolaas (Rijksmuseum)

11 am to 12:30 pm: Panel #2

Centering the Caribbean

Panelists will present new sources that are currently employed by art historians, scholars of material culture, and conservators in their research on eighteenth-century art and material culture. The speakers will discuss how their sources have been key to the emergence of new ways of seeing the nature of artmaking in American colonies, the mobility of creators, the role of enslaved individuals, knowledge transfer, and mixed-race artists and artisans. 

Emily Casey (University of Kansas)
Janeth Rodríguez Nóbrega (Universidad Central de Venezuela)
Sophie White (University of Notre Dame)

12:30 to 1:30: Lunch, Visitor’s Center 

Optional boxed lunch available for pre-purchase when you register online. 

1:30 to 3:30: Panel #3

Beyond Boundaries: Artists and Creators

This panel will focus on individual-centered narratives emerging from research on creators, as well as curatorial practice. The speakers will talk about their projects and discuss how such individual-centered approaches present models for shifting our approach to what American art as a field of study should encompass. 

Alexis Callender (Smith College)
Iraida Rodríguez-Negrón (Museo de Arte de Ponce)
Marc Vermeulen (National Archives, UK)
Michael Wilson (Temple University)

3:45 to 5:15 pm: Panel #4

Color & Artistic Creation

This panel will center questions of race and colorism in Caribbean art. Speakers will discuss research and projects that address the various roles that enslaved people and free people of African and Indigenous descent played in artmaking in the Caribbean, as well as their relationships with artistic practices in continental colonies. 

Mark Aronson (Yale University)
Jorge Rivas Pérez (Denver Art Museum) 
Lucia Noor Melita (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Friday, April 21, 2023

9 am – 12 pm: Study Day

Physical examination and discussion of colonial paintings in the Winterthur collection, highlighting their Caribbean connections. The selected group of paintings include those by John Greenwood, Benjamin West, William Williams, John Smibert, John Wollaston, and Robert Feke. 

Stephanie Delamaire (Carnegie Museum of Art)
Matthew Cushman (Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library)
Mina Porell (The Barnes Foundation)

***Due to space constraints, the Study Day will be filmed and available online only. Registrants will receive further information with a link to the recording. 

2 pm to 4 pm: Roundtable Discussion Livestream

Art in the 18th-century Caribbean: Research, Methodologies, and Institutional Initiatives

This final roundtable brings together scholars, museum and historic site administrators, and community partners who have contributed to initiatives that are creating spaces for Caribbean art in their institutions and communities. They will discuss new trends and opportunities for an expanded view of the significance of eighteenth-century Caribbean art in various regional and national institutions.

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado (Ford Foundation)
Rafael Damast (Taller Puertorriqueño)
Wim Klooster (Clark University)
Louis Nelson (University of Virginia)


Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, PhD
Senior Program Officer, The Ford Foundation

Dr. Rocío Aranda-Alvarado is an art historian, curator, and arts worker. She joined the Ford Foundation in 2018 after serving as curator at El Museo del Barrio in New York City for nearly a decade. At the Ford Foundation, she is part of the Creativity and Free Expression team, focusing on support for arts and culture organizations across the U.S. At El Museo, she presented visual arts and programming that reflected the history and culture of El Barrio as well as the greater U.S. Latinx and Latin American diaspora. She organized exhibitions featuring emerging and established artists, including Presente! The Young Lords in New York and Museum Starter Kit for El Museo’s 45th anniversary and several versions of El Museo’s biennial. From 2000 to 2009, she was curator at the Jersey City Museum, where she organized solo exhibitions of Chakaia Booker and Raphael Montañez Ortiz as well as many group exhibitions. Aranda-Alvarado has lectured as an adjunct professor; consulted and curated independently on Latinx and Latin American art and culture; and published and advised, in both a scholarly and curatorial capacity, at various institutions. She earned her PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Mark Aronson

Deputy Director and Chief Conservator, Yale Center for British Art.

Mark received a BA from Reed College, an MS in the conservation of art from the University of Delaware, and a certificate of study in painting conservation from the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard’s Fogg Museum. He held postgraduate fellowships at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Frans Hals Museum and was a guest conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is particularly interested in old and modern master painting techniques and attitudes toward restoration. He has spoken and published on the history of conservation at Yale, light levels in Louis Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art, the treatment of Italian Renaissance painting, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West, the Haitian painter Louis Rigaud, and a sculpture about baseball. His teaching includes serving as a critic at the Yale School of Art and courses on the history of painting technique and painting as well as seminars on technical art history with students and faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Alex Callender
Assistant Professor of Art, Smith College

Alex Callender works in drawing, painting, and installation to trace and remap historical materials to explore how we might disentangle the interwoven relations of race, gender, and capitalism. Callender has had recent solo shows at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360, NYU Gallatin Galleries, the Rubber Factory (NY), and Michigan State University’s LookOut Gallery. Currently, she has a public work on view at UMass Amherst commissioned by the University Museum of Contemporary Art. She has held artist residencies with the MacDowell Colony, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Drawing Center’s Open Session program, Art in Embassies Program, the Vermont Studio Center, Urban Glass, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Alice Yard in Trinidad, and DRAW International and the BAU Institute in France. 

Emily C. Casey, PhD
Hall Assistant Professor of American Art and Culture, University of Kansas

Dr. Emily C. Casey is an art historian specializing in the early modern Atlantic world. Her current book project critically examines British and American visual and material culture to reveal how the world’s oceans became a space through which networks of empire and capital were imagined and constructed. Her most recent article, “A More Perfect Atlantic World: Abolition, Liberty, and Empire in Art after the American Revolution,” critically reevaluates Samuel Jennings’s Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences, which is considered to be the earliest abolitionist painting in the United States, a version of which is in the collection at Winterthur. Casey holds a PhD from the University of Delaware, and an AB from Smith College. She has received grants and fellowships to support her research from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the National Maritime Museum in London. In the fall of 2022, she joined the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at the University of Kansas.

Rafael Damast
Exhibitions Manager and Curator, Taller Puertorriqueño

Since joining Taller Puertorriqueño in December 2010, Rafael Damast has curated over 40 exhibitions. As manager of the exhibitions program, he has brought in new audiences and expanded and deepened the institution’s connection with the local community. 

Wim Klooster, Ph.D.
Robert H. and Virginia N. Scotland Chair in History and International Relations, Clark University

Dr. Wim Klooster has taught at Clark University since 2003. After earning his doctorate at the University of Leiden, he was a Fulbright Fellow, an Alexander Vietor Memorial Fellow, an Inter-Americas Mellon Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library, a Charles Warren Fellow at Harvard University, a postdoctoral fellow in Atlantic History at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in Wassenaar. His work has a strong comparative dimension and focuses on revolt and revolution, maritime illegality, the Dutch empire, and Jewish trade and migration. He is the author of dozens of articles and 11 monographs and edited books, including The Dutch Moment: War, Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History, and Illicit Riches: Dutch Trade in the Caribbean, 1648–1795. Klooster has been coeditor of Brill’s Atlantic World series since 2001.

José Luis Lazarte Luna
Assistant Conservator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

José Lazarte joined the Department of Paintings Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016 to complete a Mellon Fellowship, followed by a Research Scholar position, and became a member of the staff in 2019. He works primarily with European paintings of the 16th to the 18th centuries and American paintings, including works from colonial Latin America. Lazarte received a BA in Art Conservation (with a minor in studio arts) from the University of Delaware and an MA in Science from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Graduate Program in Art Conservation in 2016. During his studies, he undertook internships at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Prado Museum, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Christelle Lozère, PhD
Professor of Art History, University of the West Indies

Dr. Christelle Lozère’s work focuses on the history of art in the French West Indies in a slavery and post-slavery context (19th and 20th centuries) and the construction of colonial imaginaries between Europe and the Caribbean. She is the author of Bordeaux Colonial, La Croisière du Tricentenaire des Antilles et de la Guyane, and 40-some articles on the history of colonial art and the Caribbean. Her doctoral thesis won the 2011 Musée d’Orsay prize. She is also a guest researcher at the National Institute for Art History (INHA), the Clark Art Institute, and the Villa Vassilieff. 

Pedro Luengo, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History, University of Seville

Dr. Pedro Luengo teaches at the University of Seville and has been a visiting scholar in the Philippines, Mexico, Italy, and the United Kingdom. His research has focused on the history of 18th-century architecture in East Asia and the Caribbean, and he is the author of seven monographs. Luengo is the principal investigator on projects financed by Spain and China, as well as participating in others from Mexican or Brazilian institutions. He currently serves on the boards of CEHA (Spanish CIHA), HDH (Spanish Digital Humanities Association) and AEEAO (Spanish Association of East Asian Studies) and is a corresponding researcher at CHAM.

Lucia N. Melita, PhD
Conservation Scientist, Victoria and Albert Museum

Lucia N. Melita is a material scientist, holding BSc and MSc degrees in Heritage Science. She completed her PhD at UCL and specialized in the development of nanomaterials and the assessment of long and short-term effects of innovative conservation practices. She has expertise in the analysis of a wide range of materials, both traditional and modern, using various analytical and imaging techniques, as well as in the identification of conservation treatments and degradation products. Her research interests include the understanding of degradation processes and changes in material properties associated with environmental conditions and ageing in museum objects. She recently joined the British Library as conservation scientist after one year at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Prior to that, she was an Andrew W. Mellon fellow at the British Museum, working on the analysis of colorants in Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period and on the laser cleaning project.  

Louis P. Nelson, PhD 
Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia

Dr. Louis P. Nelson is a specialist in the built environments of the early modern Atlantic world, with published works on the American South, the Caribbean, and West Africa, and is a leading advocate for the reconstruction of place-based public history. In the summer of 2020, he was awarded funding for “Recovering Erased Histories,” an Andrew Mellon grant supporting three team-led and community-engaged field schools to document African American cultural landscapes. He is part of the advisory team for an NEH-funded initiative to extensively revise the interpretation of the Hermann-Grima House in New Orleans. He has argued for the preservation of damage to the U.S. Capitol from the January 6 insurrection as an important threshold in the history of American democracy. On the international stage, he is a member of the international Institute for Historical Research funded seminar “The World in a Historic House” and has just begun a new partnership with the curators of Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire, England. He has previously worked with the Maison des Esclaves on Goree Island, Senegal, and built an online platform, the Falmouth Project, a GIS-based data information system used as a repository for ongoing work in Falmouth, Jamaica. Nelson is an accomplished scholar, with two book-length monographs; three edited collections of essays; two terms as senior coeditor of Buildings and Landscapes, the leading English-language venue for scholarship on vernacular architecture; and numerous articles. The majority of his work focuses on the early American South, the Greater Caribbean, and the Atlantic rim. 

Jorge F. Rivas Pérez, PhD
Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator and Department Head of Latin American Art, Denver Art Museum

Dr. Jorge F. Rivas Pérez is an art historian, architect, and designer. Prior to his role at the Denver Art Museum, he served as the curator of Spanish colonial art at the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in Venezuela and as the associate curator of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is the Latin American art editor and organizer of the Mayer Center Symposium program and publications and has curated exhibitions and contributed essays to publications on a wide range of Latin American art, architecture, design, and material culture topics. He received his architecture degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela, an MA from the University of Florence, Italy, and an MPhil and PhD from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

Janeth Rodriguez-Nobrega
Professor of Art, Universidad Central de Venezuela

Janeth Rodriguez-Nobrega is an art historian specializing in Venezuelan colonial art. She holds an MFA in History and Theory and a BA from Universidad Central de Venezuela. At the Universidad Central de Venezuela’s School of Art, she teaches courses about the history of Latin American art. She has supervised various undergraduate and graduate theses dealing with Venezuelan colonial art, a field in which she has distinguished herself as a researcher, participating in various international conferences and editorial projects.

Iraida Rodríguez-Negrón
Museum Curator, Museo de Arte de Ponce

Currently at the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Iraida Rodriguez-Negrón has worked at the Frick Collection in New York and received the first Meadows/Kress/Prado curatorial residency from the Meadows Museum. She holds a BA with a concentration in Humanities and Art History from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus; an MA with a concentration in Art History from the George Washington University in Washington D.C.; and an MPhil in Art History and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she studied with the renowned Hispanist Jonathan Brown. She has published many essays in books and various specialized magazines in the U.S. and Europe.

Eveline Sint Nicolaas
Curator of History, Rijksmuseum

Eveline Sint Nicolaas studied socioeconomic history and cultural studies at the University of Amsterdam and has been the Curator of History at the Rijksmuseum since 1998. A key area of focus in her work is the relationship between the Netherlands and Brazil, Suriname, and the Caribbean Netherlands. She is the author of Shackles and Bonds: Suriname and the Netherlands from 1600. 

Emily Thames, PhD

Dr. Emily Thames received a PhD in art history from Florida State University in 2022. She specializes in the visual and material culture of the colonial Atlantic World, with a focus on the Spanish Americas and the Caribbean. Her dissertation project focused on José Campeche, a Puerto Rican artist working in San Juan during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She received a BA in art history and criticism from the University of Arkansas and an MA from the University of North Texas; her thesis focused on a set of buttons allegedly painted by Italian artist Agostino Brunias and worn by Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture. She has received many fellowships and awards, including the Joe and Wanda Corn Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Object Research and Teaching Programming Internship at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 

Marc Vermeulen, PhD 
Senior Conservation Scientist, National Archives, UK

Dr. Marc Vermeulen obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (Belgium), where he focused on the multi-analytical characterization of natural and synthetic arsenic sulfide pigments and the understanding of their degradation processes in painted works of art. He gained experience in various heritage science labs across Europe and the United States, including an internship at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, research positions at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, the Museum of Modern Art, Geneva’s Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, and the Art Institute of Chicago, where he focused on pigment characterization in easel paintings, furniture, works on paper, and photography. In 2018, Vermeulen was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Senior Fellowship in Conservation Science at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he undertook a comprehensive imaging and spectroscopic study of approximately 150 prints by Hokusai from the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series. Before joining the National Archives, he worked as a research associate at the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Sophie White, PhD
Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Sophie White holds an MA and PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialized in the study of material culture and race. She is the author of more than 20 articles and essays and two monographs, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana and Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana, which has won nine book prizes including the 2020 Frederick Douglass Prize for the best book on slavery. She is currently completing a Digital Humanities Project on slavery for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and is writing a cultural and visual studies history of red hair, for which she was awarded her third NEH fellowship.

Michael Wilson
Curatorial Fellow, African American Museum of Philadelphia

Michael Wilson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University and a Curatorial Fellow at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. His research interests include decolonial aesthetics in addition to the relationship between ancestral memory, memorialization, and counterarchival practices throughout the African diaspora, particularly among artists of Caribbean descent. His publication contributions include the edited volume New Frontiers in the Study of the Global African Diaspora and the monograph Visible Man: Fahamu Pecou.

This in-person and virtual conference is supported by grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, and Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo: A New and Correct Map of the Trading Part of the West Indies . . . , 1741. Published by Henry Overton I (1676–1751); London, England. Engraving, etching, and watercolor on laid paper. Museum purchase with funds drawn from the Centenary Fund 2019.0034