STATEMENT OF PURPOSE SAMPLE

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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

I am applying to the graduate program at Columbia University to study American art with Elizabeth Hutchinson. In particular, I am interested in aspects of late nineteenth- and twentiethcentury American art and culture in relation to the emergence of consumerism and capitalist art markets as well as to the formation of discourses on gender and sexuality. My decision to apply to Columbia is based on the belief that your program provides the optimal environment for me to both refine my interests and skills and to prepare for a career involving a combination of independent research, teaching and curatorial work within the realm of twentieth-century American art history and visual culture.

During my undergraduate career at the University of Wisconsin, I had a number of academic, research and work experiences that strengthened my desire to pursue graduate work in art history while molding my specific areas of interest within the field. Perhaps the most formative experience was my senior honors thesis, entitled “Marketing Modernism: Charles Demuth and the Development of the Art Market in Early 20th Century America,” which earned me the Tricia Nordby Hamrin Research Award. Under the advisement of Professor Anna Andrzejewski, I incorporated my additional major in economics and explored a little-studied facet of American art history: the development of the twentieth-century art market and its subsequent impact on artistic production. Specifically, I examined how Charles Demuth attempted to negotiate the complexities of an increasingly commercialized art market by tailoring his work to distinct audiences of dealers, collectors and critics. By considering the relationship between artistic production and market forces, my study offered a model and starting point for further evaluation of twentieth-century American artists and their work. Although I am proud of my thesis and eager to explore the topic further in graduate school, I should also stress...
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