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Sample Essay

Sample application essay for the Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship

The Eva Hesse Archives at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio

My fascination with the life and work of Eva Hesse was sparked in the classroom at Portland State University in History of Modern Art II (ARH 493). As I discovered more about this fascinating artist, I became primarily attracted to her investment in the interconnectedness of art and life. As Hesse described her work in an interview, "[...] in my inner soul, art and life are inseperable."[1] When viewing Hesee's work through the lens of a personal history reflected in one's art, (as is so often evidenced in her own writings and Hesse scholarship) I believe that seeing the letters, photographs, and journals in the Allen Memorial Art Museum Eva Hesse Archives is essential to my research. First-hand engagement and study of this material will support my thesis for a graduate admission writing sample.

An opportunity to investigate the Eva Hesse Archives would greatly enhance my research on this artist. The existing scholarship regarding Hesse's work correctly cites her biography as the driving force behind the creation of her sculpture and drawing. The chance to explore both Hesse's personal writing and items that were in her possession at the time of her death in 1970 would provide necessary personal insight for a meaningful and comprehensive piece. Contact with these objects would focus my research on a biographical track informed more by new research than previous scholarship.

A visit to the Eva Hesse Archives would be my first travel experience devoted solely to the purposes of art historical research. This first trip will be essential in my development as an art historian and will certainly influence how I plan my future educational and career prospects. For your consideration, I have included a proposed budget for a short stay in Oberlin. The trip would ideally take place in the first part of September 20-- following the planned renovations to the Allen Memorial Art Museum scheduled for completion in late August. These proposed calendar dates would also afford enough time to review and incorporate research findings into my thesis prior to graduate school application deadlines in December 20-- and January 20--.

[1] Hesse quoted in Anne M. Wagner, Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O'Keefe. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998): 200-201.



Round trip TriMet transportation to the Portland Airport $4.70 @ $2.35 each way
Round trip airfare, Portland to Cleveland, Ohio $368.00
Round trip shuttle from Cleveland Airport to Oberlin, Ohio $30.00 @ $15.00 each way
Three nights at the Oberlin Inn, Oberlin, Ohio $367.00
Daily per diem expenses $195.00 @$65.00 per day
Total estimated budget $964.70


The Robert and Normandi Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship would be the only means that I would be able to make a pilgrimage to the Allen Memorial Art Museum. As an undergraduate who finances their own living expenses here in Portland, I find that travel funds for such opportunities do not come along often and would be greatly appreciated if awarded. I look forward to a response and offer thanks for your consideration.

Selected Eva Hesse Bibliography:

Hesse, Eva. Datebooks: 1964/5. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Lippard, Lucy R. Eva Hesse. New York: New York University Press, 1976.

Nixon, Mignon. "Eva Hesse Retrospective: A Note on Millieu." October 104 (Spring 2003): 149-156.

Swenson, Kirsten. "Machines & Marriage: Eva Hesse and Tom Doyle in Germany, 1945-65." Art in America (June/July 2006): 166-169.

Wagner, Anne M. Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O'Keefe. Berkeley: University of California Press: 1998.

Wolff-Bernstein, Jeanne. "In Search of Her Own Language." Studies in Gender & Sexuality. 2005: 345-368.