Lauren K. Lessing

Mirken Director of Academic and Public Programs

Office: Bixler [ campus map ]
Box 5600

Phone: 207-859-5609
Fax: 207-859-5606
Mailing Address:
5600 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8856
Lessing, Lauren K.


Ph.D., History of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2006 Dissertation: "Presiding Divinities: Ideal Sculpture in Nineteenth-Century American Domestic Interiors." Advisor and Committee Chair: Sarah Burns. BA with honors, Fine Art, Earlham College, 1991

Areas of Expertise

  • American Art
  • American Material and Visual Culture

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
AR110 AIntroduction to Museum Education
AR325 AInside the Museum

Professional Information

Mirken Curator of Education, Colby College Museum of Art, June 2007- present Research Associate in American Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, September 2002-May 2007 Lecturer, Department of Art History, University of Missouri, Kansas City, January-December 2006 Reference Librarian/ Senior Reference Librarian, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago, July 1997-August 2002 Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Earlham College, August 1996-June 1997

Current Research

Nineteenth-Century Ideal Sculpture

The Peale Family

The Relationship Between Painting and Popular Theater

The Snapshot Aesthetic in Early Twentieth Century Realism


"Theatrical Murder and Mayhem in Junius Brutus Stearns's Painting Hannah Duston Killing the Indians," American Art 28 (Fall 2014), forthcoming.

"Forming an American Identity" in Sharon Corwin, ed. The Lunder Collection: A Gift of Art to Colby College (Waterville, ME: Colby College Museum of Art, 2013).

"Not Unworthy of his Hand: Crossing Borders in Benjamin West's A Drayman Drinking," Trans-Portal 2 (Summer 2012). With Terri Sabatos.

"Between Past and Present: Nineteenth-Century Paintings and Drawings," in Joyce Henri Robinson, ed. A Gift from the Heart: American Art from the Collection of James and Barbara Palmer (State College, PA: Penn State University Press, 2013).

"Roses in Bloom: American Images of Adolescent Girlhood," in Holly Pyne Connor, ed., Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century American Art, exh. cat. (Newark: Newark Museum, 2012), 107-32.

Review of Elizabeth Siegel, Galleries of Friendship and Fame (Yale University Press, 2010), in Photography and Culture, 5 (March 2012), 121-24.

"The Artist as Explorer," in Currents 6: Gina Siepel, exh. cat. (The Colby College Museum of Art, 2011), 5-15.

"Angels in the Home: Adelicia Acklen's Sculpture Collection at Belmont Mansion," Winterthur Portfolio 45 (Spring 2011), 29-60.

"New Perspective: Rereading Seymour Joseph Guy's Making a Train," American Art 25 (Spring 2011), 96-111.

"Ties that Bind: Hiram Powers' Greek Slave and Nineteenth-Century Marriage," American Art 24 (Spring 2010), 41-65.

Art at Colby: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Colby College Museum of Art (The Colby College Museum of Art, 2009). With Sharon Corwin and Elizabeth Finch.

"Unveiling Raphaelle Peale's Venus Rising from the Sea, A Deception," Winterthur Portfolio 43 (Summer 2009), 229-59. With Mary Schafer.

The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: American Paintings (The Nelson-Atkins Museum and Marquand Books, 2007). With Margaret C. Conrads and Randall R. Griffey.

Contributing author, Hardy George, ed., Oklahoma City Museum of Art: Selected Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection (Oklahoma City: The Museum, 2007).

Review of Mary F. McVicker, Adela Breton: A Victorian Artist Amid Mexico's Ruins (University of New Mexico Press, 2006) in Aurora 7 (2006), 86-9.

"So Blessed Now that Accustomed Darkness: American Women's Response to Randolph Rogers' Sculpture Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii," University of Michigan Art Museum Quarterly 13 (2000-2001), 53-73.

"The Problem of Provenance: Searching for Looted Art in Museum Collections," Art Documentation 19 (Fall 2000), 48-51.


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