School of Social Sciences and Humanities

At a glance

Dr Kathryn Brown

Photo of Dr Kathryn Brown

Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture

I hold a D.Phil in French (University of Oxford) and a PhD in Art History (University of London). Prior to joining Loughborough in 2016, I was a Lecturer in Art History at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. I am a Rhodes Scholar and have taught and held visiting fellowships at the University of Kent (United Kingdom), the University of British Columbia (Canada), Tulane University (USA), and the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University.

My research interests range from 19th- and 20th-century French painting and literature to artists’ books, modernism, contemporary art, and the art market. My latest book is Matisse’s Poets: Critical Performance in the Artist’s Book (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). It offers a new account of Matisse’s position in the literary cross-currents of 20th-century France and shows how the livre d’artiste became the privileged means by which Matisse enfolded literature into his own idiom and demonstrated the centrality of his aesthetic to modernist debates about authorship and creativity. My other books include Women Readers in French Painting 1870–1890 (Ashgate, 2012) and (as editor and contributor) The Art Book Tradition in Twentieth-Century Europe (Ashgate, 2013), Interactive Contemporary Art: Participation in Practice (I.B. Tauris, 2014), and Perspectives on Degas (Routledge, 2017).

I am currently writing a Critical Life of Henri Matisse for Reaktion and am editing a Companion to Digital Humanities and Art History for Routledge.

Prior to becoming an art historian I was a corporate lawyer in the City of London. During my 14-year career in the City, I led teams of lawyers on large-scale mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, and IPOs (initial public offerings). I became a partner in a leading international law firm in 2006. My legal career has provided me with an invaluable background to my recent work on the contemporary art market. It has also informed my teaching and publication in the field of law and popular culture.

I am a member of the editorial board of H-France and the Series Editor of Contextualizing Art Markets for Bloomsbury Academic.

At Loughborough I convene a research group on Museums, Markets and Critical Heritage. I am Deputy Programme Director of Post-Graduate Teaching (Arts), a member of the Post-Graduate Research Committee, and a member of the management group of the Feminism, Sexual Politics and Visual Culture Centre for Doctoral Training.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My personal website is


  • ‘Making History: Museums and Markets in a Globalized Art World’, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, November 2018.
  • ‘Film, Fashion, and the South of France: Matisse in Nice’, Saint Louis Art Museum (May, 2018).
  • Course Leader and Speaker: ‘Imagining Oceania: Contesting Histories, Creating Futures’, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2018
  • Guest Lecture: ‘Matisse’s Alchemy of Words and Things’, Royal Academy of Arts London, 2017.
  • ‘Henri Matisse’s Pasiphaé: Myth, Politics, War’, The Grolier Club, New York (June, 2017).
  • ‘Dessiner les mots, entendre la couleur: Matisse, Jazz, et « l’échec » du livre: École normale supérieure, Paris, Séminaire Texte et Image, Groupe de Recherche à l’École (November, 2016).
  • Keynote: ‘Collage as Form and Idea: Tristan Tzara, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau’: Visual Dada International Conference, Bucharest (June, 2016).
  • La mise en scène de « l’histoire croisée » dans l’œuvre de Fiona Tan: Festival de l’histoire de l’art, Fontainebleau, France (May, 2015).
  • ‘Reading and Disease in Madame Bovary and Nana’: Saint Louis University (April, 2015).
  • ‘Women Readers in Nineteenth-Century French Painting’: Saint Louis University (March, 2015).
  • ‘Degas and the Nude’: Tulane University, USA (March, 2015).
  • ‘Henri Matisse’s Jazz on the Edge’: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art/University of Edinburgh (December, 2014).
  • ‘Making Money Making Art: From Rembrandt to Relational Aesthetics’, De Pont Museum, Tilburg (September, 2014).
  • ‘Interpreting Women Readers in Nineteenth-Century French Painting’, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium (2013).
  • ‘Fake, Real and Imaginary Cities: Fouad Elkoury’s Photographs of Egypt and the Emirates’, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra (2013).
  • Plenary Speaker: ‘Realism and Indifference: Manet, Degas, Courbet’, International Conference on Visual Culture, National Central University, Taiwan (2012).
  • ‘The Aesthetics of Presence: Looking at Degas’s Bathers’, Art History Colloquium, Tulane University, USA (2009).
  • ‘Urban Conspiracies: Seeing and Spying in the Works of Edgar Degas’: Invited Speaker series ‘Metropolitan Consumers’, University of British Columbia (2008).

Current PhD Students

  • Franziska Wilmsen: Art Commissioning and Contemporary Museums
  • Jennifer Hankin: Imagining Utopia in Contemporary Art
  • Tom Nys: Countering Abortion Stigma through the Arts
  • Mikaela Assolent: Feminist Curating, Education, and Gender
  • Sophia Kier-Byfield: Feminist Pedagogy and the Neo-Liberal University

External Examiner

I have served as an external PhD examiner for the Australian National University, The University of Birmingham, and the University of Edinburgh.


From 2011–2014 I was Chair of the Modern and Contemporary Art section of the Dutch Postgraduate Research School of Art History.

I welcome proposals from prospective postgraduate researchers in the following areas:  nineteenth-century art; modernism; artists’ books; museology; and the art market.


  • BA course (first year) Drawing: Discourses & Debates
  • BA course (first year) Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art & Design
  • BA course (second year) Visual Culture Histories and Theories
  • BA course (second year) Contemporary Art and Aesthetics
  • BA course (second year) Word & Image
  • MA course: Research Methodologies

Office Hours: Semester 1 2019/20

  • Week 1: Tues 1 October 12–2
  • Week 2: Tues 8 October 10–11; Wed 9 October 10–11
  • Week 3: Wed 16 October, 9–11
  • Week 4: Fri 25 October 10–12
  • Week 5: Tues 29 October, 11–1
  • Week 6: Wed 6 November, 10–12
  • Week 7: Tues 12 November 9–11
  • Week 8: Fri 22 November 10–12
  • Week 9: Wed 27 November 10–12
  • Week 10: Tues 3 December 9–11
  • Week 11: Tues 10 December 9–11
  • Week 12: Wed 8 January 10–12

And by appointment. 

  • 2013: Visiting Research Fellowship, Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University, Canberra.
  • 2012: Travel grant, Insitut National d’Histoire de l’Art.
  • 2011: Shpilman Institute Research grant for the project: ‘Remembering the Occupation: La Mort et les Statues by Pierre Jahan and Jean Cocteau’.
  • 2009: Visiting Scholar, Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA.
  • 2009: Claude Pichois Fellowship to carry out research at the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, Vanderbilt University.
  • 2008: Research Fellow, University of Kent, Canterbury: School of Drama, Film and Visual Arts.
  • 2008: Birkbeck College Alumni grant towards obtaining image rights for ‘A Space for the Imagination: Depicting Women Readers in the Nineteenth-Century City’
  • 2007: Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, Canada: Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory.
  • 1988: Rhodes Scholar (South Australia)
  • 1986: DAAD Scholarship (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg).  

I have reviewed article and book manuscripts for Ashgate, Routledge, Bloomsbury Academic, Leuven University Press, Orbis LiterarumH-FranceJournal of Curatorial StudiesFrench StudiesJournal of Visual ResourcesCritical ArtsDix-NeufModernism/ModernityNineteenth-Century Contexts, and The Journal of Art History.

I have reviewed research project proposals for the Flemish Research Council in Belgium, the Austrian Science Fund, the National Research Foundation in South Africa, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

I served on the International Committee of the College Art Association (2010– 2014). 

I was Chair of the Modern and Contemporary Art section of the Dutch Research School of Art History from 2011–14 and was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Foresight Committee on Art History (2012–13).

I am an editor of H-France and the editor of the book series Contextualizing Art Markets (Bloomsbury Academic).