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August 6, 2003
Swann Foundation Announces Fellow for 2003-2004
The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, administered by the Library of Congress, announces the selection of James Wechsler, who recently completed a doctorate in art history at the City University of New York, to receive its 2003-2004 Swann Foundation fellowship.
The fellowship will support research on an important aspect of Wechsler’s dissertation, "Embracing the Specter of Communism: The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert," specifically the area of cartoon and caricature in Gellert’s art and life. Some of Gellert’s earliest known works are antiwar cartoons produced in 1916, the same year he became involved with "The Masses," a socialist journal, where he met such well-known artists as Robert Minor, Boardman Robinson, John Sloan and Art Young, as well as artists of his own generation, Stuart Davis and Maurice Becker. Gellert learned from Minor that the cartoon can be a powerful form of art with the capacity to move great numbers of people. Wechsler focuses on the political cartoons, pamphlets, caricatures and satirical prints of Gellert and his circle in his new project.
As a Swann fellow, Wechsler is required to make use of the Library’s collections and be in residence for at least two weeks during the award period. He will also deliver a public lecture on his work-in-progress during the award period.
New York advertising executive Erwin Swann (1906-1973) established the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon in 1967. An avid collector, Swann assembled a large group of original drawings by 400 artists, spanning two centuries, which his estate bequeathed to the Library of the Congress in the 1970s. Swann’s original purpose was to build a collection of original drawings by significant humorous and satiric artists and to encourage the study of original cartoon and caricature drawings as works of art. The foundation’s support of research and academic publication is carried out in part through a program of fellowships. The Swann Foundation awards one fellowship annually (with a stipend of $15,000) to assist continuing scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon.
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