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 new projects that take ecological and feminist approaches to French art from the late nineteenth century to 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.