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Patricia Leighten, Professor Emerita of Art, 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 2015] 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.


  • Ph.D. Rutgers University 1983
  • M.A. Rutgers University 1975
  • BA summa cum laude University of Massachusetts/Boston 1973
  • B.A. University of Massachusets, Boston 1973

Contact Info:

Office Location:  114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Duke University, Box 90766, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:   (919) 684-2224
Email Address:   patricia.leighten@duke.edu
Web Page:  

Office Hours:

On leave 2015-16Typical Courses Taught:

  • Arthist 369, Modernism/cultural pol
  • Arthist 167, Modernism, avant-gardism, art Synopsis
  • Arthist 198, Cubism and culture Synopsis
  • Arthist 121, Visualizing cultural dissent Synopsis
  • Arthist 199, Hist photo 1839-present Synopsis
  • Arthist 283s, Topics modern art Synopsis
  • Arthist 187, Dada and surrealism Synopsis
  • Arthist 364, Primitivism/art/culture

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Leighten, P. 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. Antliff, M; Leighten P,. A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914. University of Chicago Press, (2008).  [abs]
  3. Antliff, M; Leighten, P. Le cubisme devant ses contemporains – Documents et critiques (1906-1914). Les presses du réel, (2019). (in press) [ouvrage.php]  [abs]
  4. Antliff, M; Leighten, P. Cubism and Culture. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, (2001). (Cubisme et culture, Paris: Thames & Hudson, 2002)
  5. Leighten, P. Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914. Princeton University Press, (1989).
  6. Leighten, P. "Anarchist satire in pre-world War I Paris: The case of František Kupka." Substance  vol. 46 no. 2 (2017): 50-70. (Special issue: "Rebel Lines: Comics and the Anarchist Imagination") [doi]
  7. "Cubist Critiques: Picasso, Rivera and World War I." Picasso and Rivera: Modernism and Ancient Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art  (2016).
  8. Leighten, P. "America, with Burk Uzzle." All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle  (2016).  [abs]
  9. Leighten, P. "The World Turned Upside Down: Modernism and Anarchist Strategies of Inversion in ’L’Assiette au beurre’." Journal of Modern Periodical Studies  vol. 4 no. 2 (2013): 134-170. [html], [doi]  [abs]
  10. Leighten, P. "Modernist Abstraction, Anarchist Antimilitarism, and War." Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies  vol. 2 (December, 2011): 113-150. [79]
  11. Leighten, P. "The White Peril: Colonialism, L'art negre, and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon." European Ghosts: The Representation of Art from Africa in the Twentieth Century  (2015). [european-ghosts-the-representation-of-art-from-africa-in-the-twentieth-century]
  12. Leighten, P. "Artists in Times of War: Response to Ariel Dorfman’s 'Picasso’s Closet'." Art Bulletin  (March, 2009). [20619654]
  13. Leighten, P. "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 Fisher, SG.  (2009).  [abs]
  14. Antliff, M; Leighten P,. "Primitive." Critical Terms for Art History. Edited by Nelson, R; Shiff, R; Press, UOC. revised edition (2003).
  15. Leighten, P. "Colonialism, l’art nègre, and les Demoiselles d’Avignon." Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Edited by Green, C; Cambridge University Press,.  (2001).
  16. Leighten, P. "Reveil Anarchiste: Salon Painting, Political Satire, Modernist Art." Modernism/Modernity  vol. II (April, 1995): 17-47. [html]
  17. Leighten, P. "Cubist Anachronisms: Ahistoricity, Cryptoformalism, And Business-As-Usual in New York." Oxford Art Journal  vol. XVII no. 2 (Fall, 1994): 91-102. [1360577], [doi]

Selected Exhibitions

  1. All About America: The Photographs of Burk Uzzle, June 24-September 11, 2016, Ackland Museum of Art, University of North Carolina [available here]    
  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. Ethics and the ‘Decisive Moment’: The Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's Anarchist Individualism, November 19-21, 2015, Modernist Studies Association, Boston    
  2. "Expatriates and Exiles", November 2008, UAAC Annual Conference, Toronto