I am a historian of modern art and visual culture, with a particular focus on painting and sculpture in France.

I am currently the Graham Robertson Research Fellow at Downing College, University of Cambridge. Previously, I held a postdoctoral scholarship from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I completed my doctorate (DPhil) and MSt in Oxford University's History of Art Department. My undergraduate degree was in Philosophy, which I studied at Cambridge.

My research, broadly speaking, focuses on modern artworks and artists that lie in a transverse relationship to the canonical avant-garde, and so offer new perspectives on modernism. I am interested in how individual artists responded to intellectual, cultural and social contexts, producing new ideas and forms of enquiry through their artistic practice. Other interests include processes of making, artistic self-fashioning, and gender, as well as visual theory and approaches to art history. I also try to contribute to the ongoing shaping of Art History in ways that recognise past and present ecological breakdown and environmental injustice.

My doctoral project focused on the painter Pierre Bonnard, and has since been revised into the book Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision, published by Yale University Press in 2022. This book offers a new interpretation of Bonnard, drawing on an in-depth study of the artist's diaries, and other written sources. It focuses in particular on how Bonnard’s domestic scenes and landscapes reimagine perception, embodiment, and the passage of time, to show how he complicated the relationship between vision and painting in innovative ways. Drawing attention to indeterminacy, process, and the idea of escaping the self, it aims to offer a new perspective on modernism. It focuses on his later work from the 1920s and 1930s, but connects them to his early work and interests in the 1890s.

I am currently working on new projects that take ecological and feminist approaches to French art after Impressionism.

To get in touch via email: lww23 [the usual sign] cam.ac.uk

Twitter: @LucyWhelan

Other pages and profiles: Google scholar, Downing College, History of Art Department