TERRA Foundation

The Larca enjoys a close partnership with the Terra Foundation.  

Based in Chicago, the Foundation is dedicated to the study and promotion of American art. It supports exhibitions, study programs, and international exchange programs for academics and curators.

For more information about the Terra Foundation for American Art.

At the Terra Foundation Paris Center, students and academics have access to Europe’s only research library devoted exclusively to American art. The Paris Center is the hub of the Foundation’s European activities, fostering a rich dialogue on the visual arts of the United States through academic programs, institutional partnerships, exhibition and publication programs.

For more information about the Terra Foundation Paris Center.

Terra Foundation grants and partnerships accessible to Larca members

Post-Doctoral Research and Teaching Fellowship in Paris

A Post-Doctoral specialist in American art spends two years in Paris and teaches Visual Culture seminars open to students from the Masters programs at Université de Paris and Paris-Nanterre.

Call for Application : Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellowship for American Art, Université de Paris and Université Paris Nanterre, 2022–24

Summary :

Endowed by a generous grant of the Terra Foundation, this two-year research and teaching fellowship in Paris offers a postdoctoral scholar the opportunity to pursue their own work, and teach at Université de Paris (ex-Diderot) and Université de Paris-Nanterre. The fellow will receive a $ 42,000 annual stipend (to cover all costs including travel, housing, visa, health insurance, research, and so on; to be disbursed in euros).

In addition, the program also includes a $ 2,000 annual fund towards the organization of scientific events.

Each fall in the 24-months period (2022–24) the Fellowship recipient will teach (in English) a seminar in American art history and visual culture to graduate students specializing in art history (Paris Nanterre) and American visual and cultural studies (Université de Paris).

S/he will conduct personal research in conjunction with the Art History and Visual Culture research teams of the two partner universities.

Jonathan Dentler, the newly appointed Terra Foundation Research and Teaching Fellow for 2020-2022

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Jonathan Dentler, the newly appointed Terra Foundation Research and Teaching Fellow for 2020-2022. He will be teaching a seminar on press photography open to our Masters students.

‘I recently received my Ph.D. from the Department of History at the University of Southern California, where I also earned a Visual Studies Graduate Certificate. My dissertation, “Wired Images: Visual Telecommunications, News Agencies, and the Invention of the World Picture, 1917-1955,” examines wire photography services, a type of press organization that transmitted news images using radio waves and telephone wires. In it, I argue that wire photos helped publics around the world to visualize the way in which they had become connected by massive and otherwise invisible infrastructural systems. I look forward to my time in Paris, and to meeting students and colleagues at the Larca.’


Visiting Professor

The Larca invites a renowned academic who gives a series of seminars and lectures on American art and visual culture.

In novembre 2021, le Larca invites  Pr Gary van Zante, MIT Museum.


International Conference

The Terra Foundation Research and Teaching Fellow organizes an international conference or study-day in collaboration with the Larca and Paris-Nanterre University.

Call for papers: Picturing Prehistory in American Art and Visual Culture (Paris, 7-8 Apr 22)

  • Paris, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Apr 7–08, 2022
  • Deadline: Nov 15, 2021
  • Jonathan Dentler

New Worlds, Old Worlds, Lost Worlds: Picturing Prehistory in American Art and Visual Culture

Subject Fields: Art History & Visual Studies, American History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Archaeology, Native American and Indigenous Studies

Atlantis, pre-Columbian “Mound Builders,” cave men locked in combat with T. Rex — visions of ancient, ruined, or “lost” worlds on a spectrum between fact and fantasy have long fascinated American artists and producers of visual culture. How have U.S. artists and image makers depicted prehistory, and to what ends? How have visualizations of prehistory from the eighteenth century to 1980 contributed to new conceptualizations of culture, time, and space? (Bleichmar and Schwartz, 2019)

From the moment of contact between indigenous Americans and people from what became the “Old World,” the Americas posed a problem for established stories about prehistory or “deep time.” On the one hand, this was a “New World,” seemingly without written history, while on the other it did not fit easily within biblical stories about prehistory. Such uncertainty, together with the cultural and technical revolutions of time and space that characterized several centuries of European commercial and imperial expansion, produced a great deal of pictorial speculation about deep time. As the “myth and symbol” school of American studies demonstrated during the 1950s and 1960s, mythic time has played an important role in U.S. culture, in visions of a mechanical Eden that would combine technology with the pastoral, evading Europe’s history and social conflict (Marx, 1964). Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, developments in both the sciences and popular culture accelerated a process in which various “old” and “lost” worlds were invented to make sense of and imagine the new. These worlds might be at the bottom of the ocean, buried underground, or lost in jungles, but they could be brought back via the image.

For this two-day conference, we invite papers examining images of prehistory, in different media and in both artistic and nonartistic contexts. We particularly wish to focus on how such images functioned as a way of “worldmaking,” to imagine and invent deep pasts and distant origins. We will ask about the relationships between production, circulation, and reception, as well as between image, media, form, and concepts of time.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
– Visions of lost worlds under the sea or below ground;
– Visual and material culture and art dealing with pre-contact Americas and indigenous peoples;
– Art and visual culture of biblical history and the holy land;
– Science, religion, and the visual culture of deep time;
– Visual culture’s relation to mythical and historical time;
– Disenchantment and (re)enchantment between science, religion, and popular knowledge;
– Landscape, nature, and deep time;
– Art and visual culture related to geology and paleontology;
– Prehistory and the “culture of time and space” (Kern, 1983);
– Optical media and deep time;
– The visual culture and aesthetics of ruins

  • Papers may be in French or English.
  • To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of about 250 words and a two-page CV to: .
  • Deadline: November 15, 2021

The conference is organized by Jonathan Dentler, Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow, and by the Université Paris Nanterre (HAR) and Université de Paris (LARCA).