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Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History and Interim Dean of Humanities

Neil McWilliamSpecialization:

    European Art 1780-1900
    Caricature and Popular Culture in the 18th & 19th Centuries
    History of Art Criticism
    Visual Studies/Visual Culture

Research Interests:

Current projects:

    The Aesthetics of Reaction: Tradition, Identity and the Visual Arts in France, c. 1900-1914,
    Emile Bernard: Correspondance choisie

Neil McWilliam received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. His publications include Dreams of Happiness. Social Art & the French Left 1830-1850 (with a revised translation in French, 2007) and Monumental Intolerance, Jean Baffier, A Nationalist Sculptor in fin-de-siècle France and A Bibliography of Salon Criticism in Paris from the July Monarchy to the Second Republic 1831-1851 . His research focuses on the visual culture of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France, and in particular, on public sculpture, the Academy, art criticism, and the interrelationship between aesthetics and political ideologies during the period. In recent years, McWilliam has published widely on the relationship between conservative politics and the arts in France, exploring the impact of nationalist groupings on artistic production, critical writing and art history in the decades before the First World War. His ongoing interest in the career of Symbolist painter Emile Bernard involves a particular focus on this artist's turn in the 1890s towards a strongly traditionalist artistic practice, and its ramifications for understanding the relationship between tradition and innovation in fin-de-siècle French art.


  • Ph.D. University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 1985
  • B.A. University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 1976

Contact Info:

Office Location:  114 S Buchanan Avenue, Bay 9, Dept of Art and Art History, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:   (919) 684-6081
Email Address:   n.mcwilliam@duke.edu
Web Page:  

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. McWilliam, NF. Emile Bernard: Les Lettres d’un artiste (1884-1941). Les presses du réel, (May, 2012): 981 pages.  [abs]
  2. McWilliam, NF. Monumental Intolerance. Jean Baffier, A Nationalist Sculptor in fin-de-siècle France. Penn State University Press, (2000).
  3. McWilliam, NF. "Comment peindre un tableau fouriériste." Charles Fourier – l’écart absolu  (April, 2010): 50-65.
  4. McWilliam, NF. Dreams of Happiness. Social Art and the French Left 1830-1850. Princeton University Press, (1993).
  5. McWilliam, NF. "A Sense of Place. Representing the Region in Nineteenth-Century France." Impressionist France. Le Gray to Monet. Edited by Kelly, S.  (2013): 53-65. (Catalog essay for an exhibition curated at SLAM by Simon Kelly)
  6. McWilliam, NF. "Au-delà de Pont-Aven: A la poursuite d’Emile Bernard." Emile Bernard: Au-delà de Pont-Aven. Edited by McWilliam, N.  (January, 2012): 5-23. (Exhibition catalogue)
  7. McWilliam, NF. "A la recherche de l'Amérique profonde: l'art patriotique contemporain et l'idée de communauté nationale." Histoire De L'Art  no. 70 (2012): 95-107.
  8. McWilliam, NF. "Emile Bernard’s Reactionary Idealism." Academics, Pompiers, Official Artists and the Arrière-garde: Defining Modern & Traditional in France 1900-1960. Edited by Adamson, N; Norris, T.  (2009): 25-49.
  9. McWilliam, NF. "‘Erudition et engagement politique: la double vie de Louis Dimier’." L’Histoire de l’histoire de l’art en France au XIXe siècle. Edited by Recht, R; Sénéchal, P; Barbillon, C; Martin, F-R.  (2008): 403-417.
  10. McWilliam, N. "The Culture of Nationalism." Nations and Nationalism in Global Perspective: An Encyclopedia of Origins, Developments and Contemporary Transitions. Edited by Herb, G.  (2008).
  11. McWilliam, NF. "Exercises de style. La Critique devant les Envois de Rome 1800-1873." D’Ingres À Degas. Rome Et Les Artistes Français 1803 1873  (2003): 139-149. (article commissioned for exhibition catalogue)
  12. McWilliam, NF. "Peripheral Visions: Class, Cultural Aspiration and the Artisan Community in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France." Politics and Aesthetics in the Arts. Edited by Gaskell, I; Kemal, S.  (2000): 140-73.
  13. McWilliam, NF; Leymarie, M; Dard, O. L’Action française et la culture. Presses universitaires du Septentrion, (2010).
  14. N.F. McWilliam (ed.). Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature.   (2010).