Dr Lucy Whelan
History of Art
Research Fellow in History of Art

Graham Robertson Research Fellow 

BA (Cambridge), MSt, DPhil (Oxford)


My research centres on modern art in Europe, with a particular focus on France. Broadly speaking, I focus on modern artworks and artists that lie in a transverse relationship to the canonical avant-garde. I am interested in how individual artists responded to intellectual, cultural and social contexts, as well as in processes of making, artistic self-fashioning, and gender. Other longstanding interests include visual theory and approaches to art history. 

My first book, Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision, published by Yale University Press, presents a revised understanding of Pierre Bonnard’s practice as a painter, draughtsman, and photographer. It explores how his works offer original strategies for establishing art as a system of signs—but from within the tradition of figurative painting. As such it aims to reframe some of the major modernist innovations of the early twentieth century.  

I am currently working on a new project that rethinks French art in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. 

Before coming to Downing, I held a Hanseatic Scholarship from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I completed my DPhil and MSt in the History of Art Department at the University of Oxford, and have a BA in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. 



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

Articles and book chapters

'On Taking Artists at their Word: Artists’ Writings and Statements from 1850 to the Present’. Forthcoming in Where Words and Images Meet: 1670–2020, ed. Florence Grant and Ludmilla Jordanova. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023.

‘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, ed. Allegra Fryxell and Julian Wright. Proceedings of the British Academy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. 

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

Lucy Whelan, ‘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.


'Review of Out of Breath: Vulnerability of Air in Contemporary Art, by Caterina Albano’. caa.reviews (September 2, 2022), doi: 10.3202/caa.reviews.2022.72, http://caareviews.org/reviews/4065. 

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