B.A., Princeton University; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
Assistant Professor of Art
Specialist in 18 th -century French art and architecture; also teaches and writes about 19 th -century European and contemporary art.
My research focuses on French art, architecture, and material culture from the era of Louis XIV to the Revolution (c. 1660-1789). In particular, I am interested in the dynamic relationship between art and politics, especially gender and cultural politics, and in the ways that early modern patrons and consumers shaped and expressed themselves through art, architecture, fashion, and décor. I have explored these interests in a book, Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de’ Medici to Marie-Antoinette (Harvard University Press, 2011), and in a volume that I co-edited, Architectural Space in Eighteenth-Century Europe: Constructing Identities and Interiors (Ashgate, 2010). Currently I am researching the art and ritual of diplomacy in early modern France, focusing on intercultural and artistic exchanges between France and India as well as Siam (Thailand) and the Ottoman Empire. I have also written about the interplay between historic and contemporary art in various publications, including Artforum .
One of my greatest pleasures is introducing students to the rich, complex world of eighteenth-century art, a subject they know about from popular culture or Hollywood films (such as Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette ) but have seldom examined in depth. In addition to teaching a seminar on Rococo and Neoclassical Interiors—which recently involved the creation of a gallery exhibit and a catalogue co-authored by students—I offer a course on the art and architecture of the European Enlightenment that explores links among art, politics, philosophy, and science. I also teach lectures and seminars on nineteenth-century European art, the city of Paris, art historical methods, and the representation of empire. In my courses I challenge students to engage critically with texts as well as objects through visits to museums and special collections. I have also advised theses and independent studies on topics ranging from Georgian art and medicine to the Goncourt brothers, nineteenth-century art historians and collectors.
My husband is a film curator, and we both get to travel a lot for work: sometimes I accompany him to film festivals, while he has become—to his surprise—an amateur expert on Rococo garden pavilions. We also love to eat and drink wine and aspire to be better cooks. Like many academics, I am addicted to crime novels.