The creation of the Austen-Stokes Professorship in the Art of the Ancient Americas came about through the singular vision of JOHN AUSTEN STOKES JR. John first encountered the art of the ancient Americas when he moved to Mexico in the 1950s after serving in the Korean War. There he met his Spanish wife-to-be, MARISOL, who shares his love for this art and who, as a child, delighted in exploring the ruins of Teotihuacan. John’s passion for pre-conquest art developed into a career as an art dealer. He has played an important role in forging some of the world’s most preeminent collections of ancient American art.
The Stokes family chartered the Ancient Americas Foundation in 1999 for the purpose of encouraging research and teaching programs in the art of pre-conquest cultures. John and Marisol recognize how central to their own research working with actual ancient works of art has been and, to give art students a sense of how exciting that can be, have donated 90 ancient pieces to the Johns Hopkins University Archaeological Collection for hands-on study. They have donated also a basic research library to the Austen-Stokes Professorship.
The Hopkins tradition runs through three generations of John Stokes Jr.’s family: John Stokes, Senior, Engr ’19, his father, attended until his studies were interrupted by World War I, and Charles Lord, his uncle, was Class of 1923. John was A&S Class of 1952 and, most recently, two of his three daughters came to Hopkins, Rebecca, A&S ’90, and Elena, A&S ’96. His sister, Harriett Stokes Iglehart, Bus '76, A&S '81 (MLA), and her husband also earned degrees at Hopkins.
The establishment of the Austen-Stokes Professorship in the Art of the Ancient Americas at the Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences provides crucial faculty support for scholarship in this exciting area of teaching and research. (Mr. and Mrs. Stokes are pictured here with Lisa DeLeonardis to their right.)
LISA DeLEONARDIS joined the History of Art faculty at Johns Hopkins University in 2004 as associate curator and lecturer. She is the inaugural Austen-Stokes Professor in the Art of the Ancient Americas. Dr. DeLeonardis graduated suma cum laude from Goucher College before going on to earn her master's and doctoral degrees from Catholic University. Prior to her position at Hopkins, she coordinated and served on the editorial board of the Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies, 1530-1900 (2008) at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art.
Since her arrival at Johns Hopkins, Dr. DeLeonardis has developed the ancient Americas core curriculum, directed the annual Distinguished Lecture in Art of the Ancient Americas, and served on the board of the Latin American Studies and Archaeology Programs. In collaboration with the Baltimore Museum of Art, she completed a joint appointment as associate curator. She has also consulted to the Walters Art Museum. Her current areas of interest are the history of art and archaeology of the ancient Americas, particularly Peru.