Lucy Whelan

I am an art historian of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My research focuses on art in France, and addresses questions around artistic self-fashioning, subjectivity, gender, and the environment.

My first book, Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision, was published with Yale University Press in 2022. This revisionist study of the painter Pierre Bonnard examined strategies for deconstructing the presumed authority of the gaze of the artist in figurative art, through exploring questions of embodiment, gender, pictorial time, artistic processes, and the depiction of landscape. 

I have also published essays in edited books and exhibition catalogues, and articles in journals including The Burlington Magazine and French History. I am currently working on new projects that take ecological and feminist approaches to French art from c.1890-1970, including on the sculptor Germaine Richier.

My teaching focuses primarily on art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, visual theory and approaches, gender, and ecocritical and environmental approaches to art history. 

I have previously served for three years on the management committee for the Heong Art Gallery in Cambridge.

From September 2024, I will be a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions postdoctoral fellow at Sciences Po, Paris.

Academic positions


2024     Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sciences Po, Paris (from September)

2023-24    Associate Lecturer, Courtauld Institute of Art (Semester 2)


2023–24   Associate Lecturer, University of York (Semester 1)


2020–23   Graham Robertson Research Fellow, Downing College, University of Cambridge


2022–23   Director of Studies in History of Art, Newnham College, Downing College, and Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge


2019–20   Honorary Fellow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University


2017–19   Hanseatic Scholar (A. Toepfer Foundation), Institute for Art and Visual History, Humboldt University of Berlin




DPhil in History of Art, 2018, Department of History of Art, University of Oxford

MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture, 2011, Department of History of Art, University of Oxford

BA (Hons) in Philosophy, 2010, University of Cambridge




Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022. 

More about my book here.

Book chapters

‘On Taking Artists at their Word: Artists’ Writings and Statements from 1850 to the Present’. In Where Words and Images Meet: 1670–2020, ed. Florence Grant and Ludmilla Jordanova. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2024. In press.

‘Painting the Present after Impressionism: Pierre Bonnard and Time’s Continuous Duration.’ In Time on a Human Scale: Experiencing the Present in Europe, 1860–1930, edited by Allegra Fryxell and Julian Wright. Proceedings of the British Academy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

‘Review Article: Three Women Artists in Postwar Paris: Anna-Eva Bergman, Germaine Richier, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.’ French History 37, no. 3 (September 2023): 317–26. 

‘Pierre Bonnard’s Books: An Interpretation.’ Source: Notes in the History of Art 40, no. 4 (Summer 2021): 261–68.

‘Pierre Bonnard’s Books: A Catalogue with an Introduction.’ Source: Notes in the History of Art 40, no. 3 (Spring 2021): 186–97.

‘New Light on Pierre Bonnard’s Wife and Model Marthe.’ The Burlington Magazine 162, no. 1406 (May 2020): 412–19.

Exhibition catalogue essays

‘Balthus: Under the Surface’. In Balthus: Under the Surface. Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, 2023. Commissioned by the Luxembourg & Co. Gallery, London.

‘Dream States, Madness, and Poetry in Bonnard’s Contre-Jour Nudes’. In Bonnard and the Nordic Countries, ed. Linda Hinners (Nationalmuseum Sweden, forthcoming, 2024). Commissioned by National Museum, Stockholm.

Book reviews

‘Nancy Ireson, ed., Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel (review)’. H-France Review 23, no. 102 (June 2023).

‘Review of Out of Breath: Vulnerability of Air in Contemporary Art, by Caterina Albano’. (September 2, 2022).

‘Cézanne’s Gravity by Carol Armstrong (review).’ Modernism/modernity 28, no. 1 (January 2021): 204–8.


Undergraduate modules I have fully designed and led including assessment

Postgraduate modules I have fully designed and led including assessment

Project supervising

Teaching as part of other modules 

Supporting academic progress


In addition to the modules I have fully designed and led, as listed above, I have assessed undergraduate examinations, and postgraduate and undergraduate dissertations, for the Department of History of Art, Cambridge

As a leader for my module 'Gender and Modernism' I was an examiner, History of Art Department, Cambridge, 2023


Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (qualified 2015)

Academic service

Commitees and trusteeships

Committee member, Downing College, Cambridge, 2021-23 (member of General Purposes Committee, Heong Gallery Management Committee, and subgroups for evaluating Institutional Culture, Educational Attainment, Student Experience)

Charity Trustee of Downing College, Cambridge, 2020-23   

Peer review

For: Bloomsbury Visual Arts; Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide (international journal); International Fellowship programme, Herzog August Library; French History (Oxford University Press journal).

Admissions and access

Admissions interviewer for Downing College, Cambridge, 2020-23

Interviewer, Ax:son Johnson Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture, Cambridge University, 2021

Widening access activities (various), Downing College and History of Art Department, Cambridge, 2021

Session leader, Brasenose College widening access scheme, University of Oxford, 2014 and 2014


Centre for Culture and Ecology Reading Group, University of Durham, 2019-2020

Visual Research Workshop for postgraduates and early career researchers, University of Oxford, 2014-15  

Professional services appointment

Research Impact Officer at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, 2012-13

To get in touch via email: lww23 [the usual sign] 

Twitter: @LucyWhelan

Other pages and profiles: Google scholar, Courtauld Institute of Art profile page