Patricia Berman

Theodora L. and Stanley H. Feldberg Professor of Art

Art historian specializing in the art and visual culture of the late 19th-, 20th-, and 21st centuries.

My research interests include turn-of-the-(20th) century European art, especially in Scandinavia, and mid-century modern American painting and photography. I am particularly interested in national identity formation, issues of gender and sexuality, and in the problems of public space. My books include studies of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, Belgian artist James Ensor, and of Danish painting in the nineteenth century.

I teach at all levels of the curriculum, including our foundation courses: surveys of modern art, contemporary art; and the history of photography; and upper-level seminars including Propaganda and Persuasion, the Bauhaus, Nationalisms and Modern Art, Installation Art, and The Body in Modernity. The Davis Museum is a critical part of my teaching -- it is available as a remarkable laboratory and resource. In partnership with the Davis staff, I have been able to include students in the organization of exhibitions, including "Cold War Modern: The Domesticated Avant-Garde," co-taught with Martin Brody in the Music Department, “Artists Take Action: Recent Acquisitions from the Davis” (also a Maurer Public Speaking seminar), and “Breaking Binaries” with Professor Nikki Greene. Perhaps my favorite teaching experiences are the Calderwood Seminars on Public Writing, for which I offer “Fashion Across Time” and “Art in Public Places.”
Curatorial work has included “The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography” (2017-2020; 2011, American-Scandinavian Foundation; Munch Museum, Oslo; and 5 other venues); “Munch|Warhol and the Multiple Print” (2013, New York and Ankara, Turkey); “Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America, A Centennial Retrospective 1912\2012"" (2011, American-Scandinavian Foundation); "In Munch's Laboratory: The Path to the Aula"" (2011, Munch Museum, Oslo), “Edvard Munch and the Modern Life of the Soul” (2006, Museum of Modern Art, NY); "Edvard Munch and Women: Image and Myth" (1997, San Diego Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum (Ore.), Columbia, S.C., and the Yale University Art Gallery); and "Modern Hieroglyphs: Gestural Drawing and the European Vanguard, 1900-1918" (1995, Wellesley and the Equitable Collection).

From 2010-2015, I held a faculty position at the University of Oslo (Norway), where I facilitated a research network entitled "Edvard Munch, Modernism, and Modernity." Currently, I am involved in several international research networks including “Firing the Norwegian Canon” (Norway); “Munch and Medicine” (Canada), and “Cultural Amnesia and the Golden Age of Finnish Art” (Finland).


  • B.A., Hampshire College
  • M.A., New York University
  • Ph.D., New York University