March 30, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-Natasha Staller, associate professor of fine arts at Amherst College and author of A Sum of Destructions: Picasso's Cultures and the Creation of Cubism, has received the Eleanor Tufts Award for a distinguished publication on the arts of Iberia from The American Society for Hispanic Art and Historical Studies.
A Sum of Destructions, published in 2001, "offers new and refreshing insight into the early work of one of Spain's most celebrated artists," according to the citation. "Staller deciphers some of the most puzzling aspects of Picasso's life and work." She "presents the artist as quintessentially Spanish, drenched in the tumult of Spain during the early twentieth century," and unearths "an unprecedented assemblage of documents, including childhood drawings saved by Picasso's parents, art-school manuals, bullfighting treatises, three-minute films, among others." The result is "a path-breaking study for its interdisciplinary analysis of Spanish culture, and for its integration of vision, visual culture, art and art theory," which "contributes to the study of other cultural and intellectual phenomena, such as regionalism, folk revivals, mass culture, public spectacles, and material culture."
Staller, educated at Wellesley College (A.B.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.), has taught at Amherst since 1992, after teaching at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. She has had fellowships at Harvard (Society of Fellows), Yale (Getty Fellowship/ Whitney Humanities Center), the University of Pennsylvania (Mellon Fellowship) and Radcliffe College (Bunting Institute.) Working on The Sum of Destructions for more than 20 years, Staller has lectured on Picasso's cultural heritage in museums and universities, and published parts of the book in Arts Magazine, Art Bulletin, Art History and the catalog of Picasso: The Early Years (1997), an exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.