Grazina Subelyte, a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, received a Terra Foundation travel grant in 2016 to conduct research for her dissertation "Kurt Seligmann, Occultism, and Surrealism."

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Terra Foundation Announces Recipients of 2016 International Academic Awards & Fellowships

June 16, 2016

Chicago, IL—The Terra Foundation for American Art announced today its international academic award and fellowship recipients for 2016, including Grazina Subelyte, a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London, who received a travel grant to conduct research in the US for her dissertation on the Swiss-American artist and scholar Kurt Seligmann. (View the complete list of 2016 academic award and fellowship recipients.)

“For more than a decade, the foundation has provided a wide range of support that connects established and emerging scholars alike with resources critical to their academic and professional success,” said Terra Foundation President & CEO Elizabeth Glassman. “To date there is an international network of more than 400 alumni from these programs, who together contribute to a rich, diverse, and sustained cross-cultural dialogue that examines American art from a global perspective.”

Born in Lithuania, Subelyte studied as an undergraduate at Jacobs University Bremen, in Germany; received the English Speaking Union Chilton Art History Scholarship from Christie’s Education, in London, England, to complete her MA; and now works as a curatorial assistant at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in Venice, Italy. Her dissertation “Kurt Seligmann, Occultism, and Surrealism” aims to trace and examine the centrality of magic and the occult in the artist’s visual and written oeuvre and to renegotiate his status within Surrealism and the movement’s relation to the occult.

“This travel grant will allow me to access Seligmann’s complete archive at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, as well as more than 250 volumes on magic and witchcraft from his personal library at the Cornell University Library, Rare and Manuscript Collections,” explained Subelyte. “Additionally, it will enable me to experience firsthand Seligmann’s works in private and public collections in New York and Chicago and at the Seligmann Center, the artist’s former home and studio in Sugar Loaf, New York, where I will curate an exhibition. Collectively, these experiences not only ensure that my PhD has an incredibly solid foundation, but also pave the way for future scholarship on and presentations of Seligmann’s art.”

Similarly, Lucia Klück Stumpf, a doctoral student at the Universidade de São Paulo, in Brazil, will utilize her travel grant to conduct research in the US for her dissertation, a comparative analysis of the representation of the black soldiers serving on the battlefront in the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the Paraguayan War (1864–1870). Stumpf’s plans include visits to the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Research travel grants are just one kind of support offered by the foundation,” stated John Davis, Terra Foundation Executive Director for Europe and Global Academic Programs. “We talked with American art scholars across the globe, listened to their needs, and responded with a full suite of opportunities that help them meet their objectives.” These programs include academic workshop and symposium grants, a book translation prize, an international essay prize, publication grants, fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Fulbright fellowships, visiting professorships in Europe, and the popular Terra Summer Residency program, in Giverny, France.”

According to Allison Stagg, who has lectured widely on early American art in Europe, most recently at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität, in Mainz, Germany, “There is a real appreciation throughout Europe for American art…a real desire here to learn and understand it. In the past few years, I have seen that interest increase, and I am excited to see what is to come for American art in Germany.”

Beginning this fall, Stagg will be the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, where she will teach courses such as “American Art Between the Revolution and the Civil War” and “The Lovers of Fun May Be Gratified: Early American Caricature Prints and Visual Culture, 1789–1840.”

To learn more about Terra Foundation academic awards and fellowships, please visit

Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $350 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial period to 1945, and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, supporting exhibitions, academic programs, and research worldwide