Author Archives: Laura

Laura Fravel is a Curatorial Assistant at the North Carolina Museum of Art and a Ph.D. student in Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her B.A. in Art History at Duke University before donning a lighter shade of blue for her graduate work. Originally from the D.C. area, Laura has interned at the National Building Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Since moving to North Carolina, she has worked with curatorial departments at the Nasher Museum of Art and the Ackland Art Museum. Laura started at the NCMA as a summer intern and stayed with the museum, recently completing her GlaxoSmithKline Curatorial Fellowship in American art.

Motherwell’s Mistakes

The Checkered Skirt—recently back on view in the Museum’s Modern and Contemporary galleries—belongs to a group of abstract figure paintings that Robert Motherwell created in the late 1940s through a deliberate process of trial and error. The artist would begin a painting without any preconceived idea of what the final composition should look like and [...]

The Story behind Harpo’s Benton

A few months back I spoke to Bill Marx, son of Harpo Marx, about his father’s purchase of Thomas Hart Benton’s Spring on the Missouri (1946). Bill let me know about a sketch for the painting—previously unknown to scholars—that the artist had sent his father. This past December, with the generous help of NCMA Trustee [...]

The Last Sleep

Laura describes a 19th century classic.

Medusa Mystery

Laura tackles one of the most enigmatic paintings in the collection

Hearst’s Other Castle

Laura’s research connects our Copley to the real Citizen Kane

Harpo’s Benton

Laura connects our Benton to Harpo Marx

New in the American Galleries: George Bellows

Intern Laura Fravel introduces a newcomer in the American gallery.