Virginia Reynolds Badgett

Virginia Reynolds Badgett
Graduate Student


Areas of Concentration: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century American Art, decorative arts, design and material culture; museum studies; curatorial practice
Faculty Advisor: E. Bruce Robertson
Committee Members: Jenni Sorkin, Ann Jensen Adams
Dissertation: "Robert Henri's Women: Art, Individuality and Influence"
M.A. Thesis: "Slaves to Fashion, Not Society: Elizabeth Keckly and Washington, D.C.’s African American Dressmakers, 1860-1870" (Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY–Oneonta, completed 2011)


Virginia Reynolds Badgett is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in American Art History with a minor field specialization in twentieth-century decorative arts and design. She is currently writing a dissertation on Robert Henri’s portraits which explores the construction of individuality and its legacy within the cultural landscape of the United States. By rethinking the influence of Henri’s artistic practice on his anti-academic agenda, Virginia argues an individuality specific to the turn of the twentieth century drives Henri’s vision as an artist and reformer. Reassessing Henri’s contributions to American art through the lens of individuality complicates traditional approaches to modernism by linking individuality with realism decades prior to Abstract Expressionism’s so-called triumph of individualism. 

Virginia graduated cum laude with a B.A. in History from Centre College (Danville, KY) in 2009 and received her M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (Cooperstown, NY) in 2011. From 2011 until 2014, she worked as a curatorial assistant at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Virginia’s publications include “Slaves to Fashion, Not Society: Elizabeth Keckly and Washington, D.C.’s African American Dressmakers, 1860 -1870” (Washington History, Fall 2014), a review of the exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 (Panorama, Fall 2016) and entries in a forthcoming collection catalogue for the Crocker Art Museum. She received a pre-ABD research travel award in 2016 and a Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant in 2017.