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Patricia Leighten, Professor of Art History and Visual Studies

Patricia LeightenSpecialization:

    Late 19th and Early 20th Century Art
    20th Century Art
    Theory & Criticism
    History of Photography
    Modern Art

Research Interests:
    Modernism and politics in early 20th-century Europe; primitivism; history and theory of photography

Area of Interest: European and North American modernism, art and politics, anarchist theory, primitivism, postcolonialism, history of photography

Patricia Leighten received her PhD from Rutgers University. She is author of The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris (University of Chicago Press 2013) and Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914 (Princeton University Press 1989) as well as coauthor of A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914 (University of Chicago Press 2008) [Le cubisme devant ses contemporains–Documents et critiques (1906-1914), Paris: Les Presses du réel, forthcoming 2014] and Cubism and Culture (Thames & Hudson 2001 [Cubisme et culture 2002]). Her field of research is late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century art and politics. In her research and teaching, she is interested in the relationship between visual culture and the politics of both representation and interpretation.


  • PhD in Art History Rutgers University 1983
  • MA Rutgers University 1975
  • BA summa cum laude University of Massachusetts/Boston 1973

Contact Info:

Office Location:  107B East Duke Building
Office Phone:   (919) 684-2224
Email Address:   patricia.leighten@duke.edu
Web Page:  

Teaching (Spring 2015):   (typical courses)

  • Arthist 288.01, Dada and surrealism Synopsis
    East duke 204b, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
  • Arthist 590s.08, Special topics Synopsis
    East duke 204a, W 01:25 PM-03:55 PM

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1.  The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris. University of Chicago Press, (2013). (Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant, 2011) [html]  [abs]
  2. with Mark Antliff. A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914. University of Chicago Press, (2008).  [abs]
  3. with Mark Antliff. Cubism and Culture. London and New York: Thames & Hudson, (2001). (Cubisme et culture, Paris: Thames & Hudson, 2002)
  4.  Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914. Princeton University Press, (1989).
  5. "Modernist Abstraction, Anarchist Antimilitarism, and War." Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies  (January, 2012). [79]
  6. "Artists in Times of War: Response to Ariel Dorfman’s 'Picasso’s Closet'." Art Bulletin  (March, 2009). [20619654]
  7. "Café Scene"; "Salomé"; "Head of a Woman"; "Vase, Gourd and Fruit"; "Scallop Shells on a Piano"; "Still Life with Calling Card"; and "Ace of Clubs." Picasso and the Allure of Language. Edited by Susan Greenberg Fisher.  (2009).  [abs]
  8. with Mark Antliff. "Primitive." Critical Terms for Art History. Edited by Robert Nelson and Richard Shiff, University of Chicago Press. revised edition (2003).
  9. "Colonialism, l'art nègre, and les Demoiselles d'Avignon." Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Edited by Christopher Green, Cambridge University Press.  (2001).
  10. "Reveil Anarchiste: Salon Painting, Political Satire, Modernist Art." Modernism/modernity  vol. II (April, 1995): 17-47. [html]
  11. "Cubist Anachronisms: Ahistoricity, Cryptoformalism, And Business-As-Usual in New York." Oxford Art Journal  vol. XVII (Fall, 1994): 91-102. [1360577]

Selected Exhibitions

  1. Cubism: Art for a New Century, 2013 - present, in preparation    
  2. Light Sensitive: Photographic Works from North Carolina Collections, February-May 2013, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University [php]    
Selected Invited Lectures

  1. The Secret Life of Henri Cartier-Bresson, November 6, 2014, Vanderbilt University    
  2. "Picasso and His Times", April 6, 2014, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art [EventDetailsAdmin.aspx]    
  3. "A Politics of Technique: Fauvism and Anarchist Individualism", January 25, 2013, Symposium: 'Ideas that Bind: Approaches to Modernist Groups and Networks', History of Art Department, York University (UK)    
  4. "Modernism, Antimilitarism and World War I", November 21, 2013, Conference series: 'Under the Sign of Amadeo', Art History Institute, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)    
  5. "Picasso and His Times", April 30 and May 1, 2012, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto    
  6. “From Mutual Aid to Radical Individualism: Neoimpressionism and Fauvism in Light of Anarchist Aesthetic Theory", September 10, 2011, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA    
  7. Keynote: "Modernism, Antimilitarism and War" (and podcast), November 11, 2010, Modernist Studies Association, Victoria, BC    
  8. "A 'Rationale of Ugliness': Primitivism, Cubism and Its Audience, 1908-13", 2010, Norma U. Lifton Memorial Lecture in Art History, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (October 2010)    
  9. "Man Ray, Cubism and Primitivism", April 6, 2010, University of New Mexico Art Museum    
  10. "Abstracting Anarchism: Élisée Reclus, František Kupka and the Project of Modernism", September 2008, Symposium: Modernism and Antimodernism: Theories, Visions, Ideologies, Politics, National Museum of Romanian Literature and the Amfiteatru Foundation, Bucharest, Romania; and Conference: Humanity and the Earth/L’Homme et la terre: The Legacy of Élisée Reclus (1830-1905), Loyola University, New Orleans, October 2006    
  11. "Violence vs. Creativity in Kupka's Anarchist Art and Aesthetics", September 2007, Annual Conference of the Nordic Network for Avant-Garde Studies on 'Avant-Garde and Violence', University of Iceland, Reykjavik    
Selected Talks

  1. "Expatriates and Exiles", November 2008, UAAC Annual Conference, Toronto