Ivan Gaskell

As a cultural historian, Ivan Gaskell writes history from artifacts, including artworks. His scholarship is at the intersection of history, art history, anthropology, museology, and philosophy. His teaching invariably involves the use of actual objects. He has been a trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics, and serves on the editorial boards of Contemporary Aesthetics, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Word & Image, and World Art. He has published books and articles on a wide range of topics, from the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, to Native American baskets from southern Louisiana. He is preparing a book on writing history from American seventeenth through nineteenth-century artifacts. He is also researching an exhibition and publication on the aesthetics of degradation. He offers research seminars, senior thesis advising, and reading courses with graduate students by arrangement.

Selected Publications
  • Vermeer's Wager: Speculations on Art History, Theory, and Art Museums (2000)
  • Politics and Aesthetics in the Arts co-editor, with Salim Kemal (2000)
  • Performance and Authenticity in the Arts co-editor, with Salim Kemal (1999)
  • Sketches in Clay for Projects by Gian Lorenzo Bernini: Theoretical, Technical, and Case Studies co-editor, with Henry Lie, 1999 (1999)
  • Vermeer Studies co-editor, with Michiel Jonker (1998)
  • Nietzsche, Philosophy and the Arts co-editor, with Salim Kemal and Daniel Conway (1998)
  • Explanation and Value in the Arts co-editor, with Salim Kemal (1993)
  • Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts co-editor, with Salim Kemal (1993)
  • The Language of Art History co-editor, with Salim Kemal (1991)
  • The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish Painting (1990)
Ivan Gaskell

Position: Margaret S. Winthrop Curator of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts in the Harvard Art Museum, and Senior Lecturer on History

Field: United States, Modern Europe

Specialty: Writing of history from artifacts (including artworks); Philosophy of art and artifacts; Museology, and relations among museum scholarship; History; Art History; Anthropology; Philosophy

Contact Info

Robinson Hall

Room L-25

35 Quincy Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

617.495.1897 & 617.496.4252

Office Hours: by appt.
(email to arrange)