Joan Mickelson, PhD

spaceJOAN MICKELSON, Ph.D. was born in Hollywood, Florida and attended her mother's Outdoor School, then Hollywood Central School and Miss Harris' Florida School for Girls in Miami. As a graduate of South Broward High School she was among the first Florida public school graduates to be accepted at Radcliffe College of Harvard University where she studied Romance languages and art history. She then earned an MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard, all in art history of the modern period.

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Her Ph.D. dissertation, Valori Plastici: Painting in Italy from 1915-1919, is a detailed study of Italian art from Futurism through the Scuola Metafisica to a return to classicism.


spaceFor over thirty years Dr. Mickelson (also known as Joan Mickelson Lukach) was a museum curator and director, writing, editing, and publishing articles and museum exhibition catalogues with a special focus on 19th and 20th century Italy and America. Her biography of Hilla Rebay told the story of the founder of the Guggenheim Museum, who brought together Solomon and Irene Guggenheim, prominent artists, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.


spaceUpon retirement Mickelson returned to south Florida and began the biography of city builder J. W. Young. Both her parents had worked for Young, her father from 1919 to 1934, and her mother in 1925-26. As Young died in 1934, the time, 70 years later, seemed more than right for an investigation of Young's entire career from 1902 to 1934. The research in his various locations took four years and included travel to Long Beach and other California sites, to Indianapolis, New York City, the Hudson Valley, Old Forge in the Adirondacks, Vineland, New Jersey, and of course, southeast Florida.


spaceDr. Mickelson's other interests include South Florida history, American architecture of the modern period, and mystery fiction. Currently she is working on the biography of Julia Fillmore Harris and related subjects. She loves to travel, particularly to cold climates, possibly due to her Norwegian heritage.



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