The study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art at Penn comprises painting, graphic arts, sculpture, photography, optical devices, cinema, and architecture. Specialists in this period often collaborate in advising students who may choose to work on the art of Europe, America, East Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. We encourage interdisciplinary work and cross-border dialogues.

Julie Nelson Davis specializes in the arts of modern Japan, in scholarship that considers Ukiyo-e, from the seventeenth through the later nineteenth century and in its transformation into the contemporary; her interestes and teaching include the wider fields of modern and contemporary art in China, Japan, and Korea. André Dombrowski has written widely about French art of the late nineteenth century, with a special focus on its political and cultural meanings, but his interest covers all aspects of nineteenth-century European art and material culture, including new media, technology, science, and sexuality. Sonal Khullar writes on modernism in India across media and disciplines, including visual art, performing art, cinema, and literature, with special interest in art criticism, art education, art institutions, urban cultures, historical archives, minority artists, and women artists. Michael Leja’s work on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art has charted the crosscurrents between popular culture and the making and reception of high art. Karen Redrobe has written about and continues to explore the visual and audio-visual terrains of photography, stage magic, philosophical toys, and cinema. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw’s research illuminates major questions about American art from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries through the study of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

The study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art at Penn is supported by faculty and colleagues in other departments and by close relationships with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and other regional institutions.