Art Website

ART (Div. I)

Chair, Associate Professor MICHAEL GLIER

Professors: EDGERTON, EPPING**, FILIPCZAK, HAXTHAUSEN, HEDREEN, E. J. JOHNSON***, LALEIAN, M. LEWIS*, OCKMAN, TAKENAGA***. Visiting Clark Professors: BALKEN§§, LEJA§. Associate Professors: GLIER, JANG, LEVIN, MCGOWAN, PODMORE. Assistant Professors: ALI*, CHAVOYA, JACKSON, L. JOHNSON**, LOW, SOLUM*. Senior Lecturer: E. GRUDIN. Lecturer: SATTERTHWAITE. Lecturers: B. BENEDICT§§, H. EDWARDS, D. JOHNSON§, MATTHEWS, MCCALLUM§. Lecturer in Arts and Humanities: DIGGS. Lecturer in the Graduate Program in the History of Art: SIMPSON. Lecturers in the Graduate Program in the History of Art: CONFORTI, GANZ, HOLLY, LEDBURY, RAND. Arthur Levitt Jr. '52 Artist in Residence: HORNE. Mellon Doctoral Fellow in the History of Photography: DUGANNE.


Three routes are offered: the emphasis of the first is on the history of art, and that of the second is on creative work in studio. The third route through the major allows students to take courses in both halves of the department in more or less equal numbers.

Note: The Art History and Art Studio routes are strongly recommended for any prospective Art major who is contemplating graduate study in Art History or Art Studio.

Sequence courses

ArtH 101-102 Introduction to Western Art History

ArtS 100 Drawing I (or its equivalent as agreed by the department, to be taken by the end of the junior year)

ArtH 301 Methods of Art History (ARTH 448 may be taken to satisfy this requirement)

One Seminar or Graduate Course

Parallel courses

Any five additional semester courses of art history including three concerned with the following:
1) a period of Western art prior to 1800,
2) a period of Western or non-Western art, prior to 1400, and
3) non-Western art.

Sequence courses

ArtS 100 Drawing I

ArtS 230 Drawing II

ArtH 101-102 Introduction to Western Art History

Any three of the 200-level ArtS (studio) courses in three different media

ArtS 319 Junior Seminar

Any two of the 300-level ArtS courses


One of the 300-level ArtS courses and ArtS 418T Senior Tutorial

Sequence courses

ArtH 101-102 Introduction to Western Art History

ArtS 100 Drawing I

One 200-level ArtS course

ArtH 301 Methods of Art History or ArtS 319 Junior Seminar

One ArtH seminar (400-level) or graduate (500-level) course

One 300-level ArtS tutorial or (with permission) ArtS 418T Senior Tutorial

Parallel courses

Any four additional Art Studio or Art History courses. At least one elective must be taken in each wing of the department. At least one of the electives must be an Art History course concerned with a period of Western or non-Western art prior to 1800.

Art History Route: The history of art is different from other historical disciplines in that it is founded on direct visual confrontation with objects that are both concretely present and yet documents of the past. We emphasize analysis of images, objects, and built environments as the basis for critical thought and visual literacy. In addition to formal and iconographic analysis, we use the work of other disciplines to understand visual images, such as social history, perceptual psychology, engineering, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and archaeology. Because of its concentration on visual experience, the Art History major increases one's ability to observe and to use those observations as analytical tools for understanding history and culture.

ArtH 101-102 introduces students to a series of critical studies of important works selected from the history of Western art from antiquity to the present. The critical approach of the introductory course is maintained in all further courses, especially by assigned study of original works in the Williams College Museum of Art, Chapin Library, the Clark Art Institute, and Mass MoCA.

An introductory studio course, ArtS 100, in which no artistic talent or prior experience are assumed, provides vital training in what is a visual as well as a verbal discipline. The requirement of a course in non-Western art expands majors' geographic as well as cultural horizons, and the requirement of two courses in art from periods prior to 1800 provides a necessary concentration on earlier moments in culture. (As the contemporary architect, Philip Johnson, said, "You cannot not know history.") The junior course (ArtH 301) develops awareness of the theoretical implications, as well as the possibilities and limitations of different art-historical methods. The requirement of a seminar or graduate course in the senior year enables students to apply that knowledge of methodology to their most specialized work in the Art History route.

Art Studio Route: The studio division of the Art major has been structured to foster the development of a critical understanding of making art; to support creative interests and to develop students' perceptions and imaginations as they investigate a variety of visual media. Drawing I, ArtS 100 serves as an introduction to the basic drawing and design principles which establish the foundation for the development of visual expression. ArtH 101-102, an introduction to the history of Western art, provides part of the necessary background in the critical analysis of art. The 200-level ArtS courses provide opportunities to learn the elements of some of the principal visual arts media: architecture, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. These courses combine technical foundations in the medium with analysis of the interrelation of visual form and content. The 300- and 400-level courses place a greater emphasis on the application of appropriate visual skills and strategies to particular thematic concerns, and to the development of the student's individual vision. All studio art seniors exhibit their work in the Williams College Museum of Art as a part of the requirements for the major.

History and Practice Route: This route allows students to study in depth both the history of art and the making of it. It offers considerable flexibility: students may propose courses of study that emphasize particular media, themes or methodological issues. To mention just three examples, students may design sequences of courses that focus on architecture, gender or narration in both the history of art and contemporary practice. And students may take more courses in one wing of the department than the other, as long as the minimum requirements in each wing are satisfied. The History and Practice route is especially well-suited to students interested in arts-related careers outside of higher education, including work in art galleries, art museums, and primary or secondary school education.

Unlike the history or studio routes, acceptance into the History and Practice route is not automatic. The student must first submit a written application in two copies, one for each advisor from the two wings of the department, as well as a list of proposed courses; this application must be approved by the art department.

The application must provide a narrative statement of the theme of the major, and why it cannot be accommodated in either history or studio. It is not enough to submit a list of courses; the student needs to show the coherence and integrity of the plan of study, and how it develops the theme of the proposed major.

Some students will be attracted to both wings of the department but will not have a field of study that falls between the two. In these cases, it is better for the student to choose between history and studio-taking additional courses from the other wing as desired. In short, the History and Practice route is reserved for students with a strong record of achievement who cannot be accommodated in the two wings of the department.

History and Practice majors do not participate in the senior studio exhibition at the end of the year.

History and Practice Faculty Advisors: Michael Glier, Ann McCallum, and Ben Benedict in studio; E. J. Johnson, Peter Low and Michael Lewis in history.


First Digit

The introductory courses in both Art History and Studio have 100-level numbers and are prerequisites for most other courses in the department. The distinction between 200- and 300-level offerings is either one of difficulty or of the sequence in which material is best taken. Also, lecture courses with no prerequisite have a 100- or 200-level number. The 400-level seminars and tutorials are intended for advanced students, usually senior majors.

Middle Digit

Art Studio (ArtS)

Middle digit distinguishes introductory and general courses from those specialized in different media and arts. 0 = introductory; 1 = general; 2 = architecture; 3 = drawing; 4 = painting; 5 = photography; 6 = printmaking; 7 = sculpture; 8 = video; 9 = independents, honors.


Students who wish to become candidates for the degree with honors must show prior evidence of superior performance in the major as well as research capabilities to carry out the proposed project.

Art History:

In order for a project to be considered, the candidate (1) must have arranged for an advisor, and (in consultation with the advisor) a second reader to supervise and evaluate the project (2) should normally have had one course with the advisor. In addition, the topic must be within the advisor's areas of competence and should normally be related to course work which the student has done previously. In the case of an interdisciplinary proposal, the second reader should normally come from the other discipline.

The student submits a 2-page proposal including a statement about the preparation for the project, a description of the topic and a general bibliography. Following approval by the faculty advisor and second reader, this proposal is reviewed by the entire Art faculty, who have the option to request revisions and to refuse the proposal. Students should keep in mind that a thesis in Art History is not necessary for admission to graduate study.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to select one of the following routes and to meet all deadlines. Students who are not making satisfactory progress on their research and writing will not be allowed to continue with the thesis. The completion of the requirements, however, will not guarantee a degree with honors. The degree with honors will be awarded for projects demonstrating a high degree of scholarly achievement and self-motivation. All proposals must be submitted according to the guidelines set out below. The timetable for submission of work, including specific dates, is available in the Art Department office.

Students may select one of the following options:

1) Full-Year Thesis: Research and writing will be carried out during both semesters and WSP of the senior year (students should register for ArtH 493-W031-494). The thesis topic, advisor and second reader must be determined by April 15 of junior year. Students who are on overseas programs junior year are advised to make arrangements prior to their departure, but they may submit a final proposal two weeks before the fall semester of senior year if they have made the necessary arrangements. After the thesis is submitted, the candidate for honors shall present an oral defense before faculty and peers.

2) Half-Year Thesis: Research and writing will be carried out during fall term and winter study or during winter study and spring term (Students should register for ArtH 493-W031 or W031-ArtH 494). For students who choose to complete the mini-thesis in the fall, proposals must be submitted by April 15 of the junior year. For those planning to complete the mini-thesis in the spring, proposals must be submitted by November 1.

A student's project is judged by two members of the department, the advisor and second reader; in the case of an interdisciplinary project, a member of the Art Department and a member of the other relevant department or program function as advisor and second reader. In rare cases, a third reader may be appointed by the department at the request of the advisor or second reader.

All routes require that one course and one WSP, in addition to the ten required courses for the major, be dedicated to the honors project.

Art Studio:

Studio art concentrators who wish to be candidates for honors are required to add a 200-level course, and to take the 400 level senior tutorial. An additional 300 level tutorial or 200 level course must be added for a total of twelve courses.

Honors candidates enrolled in the senior tutorial must "evidence" prior experience in the media chosen for the honors work. This "evidence" may consist of one or more 200-level courses in the medium, course work at the 300 level and/or a slide portfolio demonstrating the student's proficiency in the media chosen for the honors project. This work is presented to the senior tutorial instructor at the start of the spring semester.

At the end of the spring semester of the senior year, the honors candidate will orally defend his/her work in the senior exhibition at WCMA. The entire studio faculty will attend the defense. Based on the work and the oral defense, the studio faculty (as a whole) will designate honors, high honors or no honors.

History and Practice:

The route to honors is a combination of the Art Studio and Art History honors routes. At the beginning of senior year, a candidate for honors in History and Practice makes a proposal to two faculty members, one faculty advisor from each wing of the department. If both advisors agree to supervise the project, the candidate enrolls in independent study and works through the fall semester and winter study. The progress of the project is assessed by both advisors at the end of winter study; if the project is not well enough developed, the advisors may end it at that time. If the project is allowed to move forward, the student enrolls either in ArtS 418T Senior Tutorial, if the project is primarily a matter of making art, or in an Honors Independent Study, if it is primarily a writing project. The final project is submitted to the two advisors, who will determine whether or not it will receive honors.


Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Art History

The degree is normally awarded upon successful completion of two years of resident graduate study. To earn the degree the student must earn a grade of at least B- in each of ten courses, at least six of which must be graduate seminars (including ArtH 504). In connection with the preparation of a paper for the Graduate Symposium, students will register for an eleventh course (ArtH 509), to be graded pass/fail, in their fourth semester.

In addition to completing the required courses, students must participate in a group study trip to Europe during winter study period in the first year, complete a Qualifying Paper in January of the second year, and satisfy the language requirement in the manner described below (see "Language Courses").

Senior art majors may enroll in graduate seminars, space permitting, with the permission of instructor.


Reading proficiency in two European languages is required for the M.A. degree in Art History at Williams, and provision for attainment of this qualification is an integral part of the program of study. Of these two, German is required, and French is recommended. Elementary and intermediate undergraduate courses offered by the language departments are open to graduate students, and the graduate program offers advanced, one-semester courses in French and German art-history readings. A student who begins elementary language study after enrollment in the program should expect to take a sequence of courses. Details may be obtained from the Graduate Program office. Entering students with some previous language background will be asked to take a standard reading examination for purposes of placement. A score of 500 is required for admission to the advanced course. Students with scores below 500 will be enrolled in elementary language courses. Students should aim to complete all language work no later than the end of the third semester.

To satisfy the requirement in each of the two required languages, a student must: (a) score 700 or better on the SAT II reading examination upon enrollment in the program or, (b) complete punctually and satisfactorily (B- or better) all assignments and tests in the advanced courses. The same standards and expectations apply to language courses as to other courses and seminars.

Second-year students who have successfully completed German 511-512 and have independently developed their German language skills during the summer may, before the commencement of their third semester of study, arrange to take a two-hour translation examination administered by the Graduate Program. Students who pass the examination are exempted from German 513.

If appropriate to his or her course of study, a student may petition to substitute another language for French. Instruction in Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin, and Greek is regularly offered in the undergraduate curriculum, whereas independent arrangements must be made for Dutch and other languages.