Spadafora Baes

Dissertation Title: The Early Work of a 'Raphael secundus': William Kent in Italy and England, 1709-1724

Advisor: Joseph Manca, Nina J. Cullinan Professor of Art and Art History, Professor of Art History

Claire Spadafora Baes received a bachelor’s degree in the history of art from Washington and Lee University, and completed a master’s degree in the history of art from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Interested in developments in style and taste, travel, and the building of collections, her dissertation considers the training, collecting, and artistic production of 18th-century English artist William Kent in Italy. She has held curatorial internships and fellowships at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Newberry Library, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Blanton Museum of Art, as well as a position at Christie’s; her curatorial interests concern early modern European works on paper, with a focus on Italian 16th- and 17th-century drawings, and reproductive prints. Her museum work has been supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the International Fine Print Dealers Association. Her doctoral research has been supported by the Brown Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; she is a recipient of a 2021-22 Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellowship. Her writing has been published in Notes on Early Modern Art and the Volume of the Walpole Society. She has served as an instructor for Rice University courses on the topic of museums and cultural heritage (ANTH/HURC 341), and the High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy (HART 342). She is a Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where she is responsible for 14th-19th century works on paper.


“‘Remarks by Way of Painting and Archit.:’ William Kent’s Italian Journal.” Volume of the Walpole Society LXXXIII (October 2021), 70-121.

“Rome’s First Guida Popolare: Giuseppe Vasi’s Itinerario Istruttivo.” Notes on Early Modern Art 4, no. 2 (2017), 1-10.

Research Areas

History of Collecting, 16th-18th Century Europe; Prints & Drawings


MA, Art History, University of Illinois, Chicago

BA, Art History, Washington and Lee University

Honors & Awards

2022 Rice University Brown Foundation Dissertation Writing Award

2021 Rice University Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellowship

2021 Rice University James T. Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship

2021 Rice University Brown Foundation Mentored Teaching Award

2020 International Fine Print Dealer’s Association Curatorial Fellowship, Department of Prints and Drawings, Blanton Museum of Art

2020 Paul Mellon Centre Andrew Wyld Research Support Grant

2019 Brown Foundation Dissertation Research Award

2018 Rice University Department of Art History Summer Research Award

2017 Rice University Department of Art History Summer Research Award


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