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

Graham Robertson Research Fellow 

BA (Cambridge), MSt, DPhil (Oxford)

My research interests centre on modern art in France and Germany. I am interested in seeing the art of this period as a form of knowledge or enquiry, particularly as it connects to questions of visual perception, time, landscape, and the relation between nature and culture. I have related interests in strategies for close looking, in phenomenological approaches to art, in processes of making, and in continental philosophy before 1960. 

My first book, Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision, forthcoming with 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 decentring the role of vision in representation and establishing art as a system of signs—but from within the tradition of figurative painting. As such it aims to reframe the major modernist innovations of the early twentieth century. 

I am currently working on a new project that rethinks the art of France and Germany at the end of the Second World War from an ecological perspective. This will examine how artists in the period from 1940 to 1960—including Germaine Richier, Jean Dubuffet, Emil Schumacher, Bernard Schultze and Wols—pioneered practices that explored the interdependence between culture and nature. This project arises partly from my research on Bonnard and landscape, but also from my increasing interest in ecological approaches to art history. I am also currently working on smaller projects relating to the process of looking at art, and on artist statements. 

Before coming to Downing, I held a Hanseatic Scholarship from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I completed my DPhil at Oxford University in 2018. I enjoy teaching modern and contemporary art history, visual theory and approaches to art.


Pierre Bonnard Beyond Vision (forthcoming with Yale University Press, 2022)

Articles and book chapters

‘Painting the Present after Impressionism: Pierre Bonnard and Time’s Continuous Duration’, forthcoming in Time on a Human Scale: Experiencing the Present in Europe, 1860-1930, ed. Julian Wright (Proceedings of the British Academy, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2021).

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

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

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


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