Karen Serres - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Karen Serres

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Dr Karen Serres

Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings

Karen Serres received her training in art history and museum studies at the Ecole du Louvre (1997) and the Sorbonne (1998) in Paris. She completed her MA (1999) and PhD (2004) at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where her research focused on French and Italian Baroque painting.

She was then appointed Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, working on both painting and sculpture. This led to her appointment as Robert H. Smith Research Curator in the Sculpture Department of that institution. In 2009, she was named the Nina and Lee Griggs Associate Curator of European Art at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. She returned to the Courtauld as Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings in September 2012.

Current and recent exhibitions and projects

Karen’s current projects involve the preparation of the Gallery’s Summer Showcase, on unfinished and seemingly unfinished works of art in the collection, as well as a display of the grisailles of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 2016. The Gallery’s permanent collection of paintings before 1900 is the object of an ongoing, long-term research project, with the aim of producing a scholarly catalogue online.

Karen is also preparing an article on the Italian frames commissioned by the art dealer Joseph Duveen, as well as contributing to the catalogue of the Robert H. Smith collection of Renaissance bronzes.

Research interests

  • French and Italian Baroque painting
  • Renaissance bronzes
  • History of taste and of collecting
  • Frames
  • Relationship between art history and conservation research

Recent publications

  • ‘Seurat’s hidden self-portrait’, with Aviva Burnstock, The Burlington Magazine, CLVI, April 2014, pp. 240-242.
  • Editor of The King’s Pictures. The Formation and Dispersal of the Collections of Charles I and his Courtiers, Francis Haskell, New Haven and London, 2013.
  • -‘L’Allégorie chez Vouet et Valentin: paradoxe et propagande dans le cercle des Barberini’, in Olivier Bonfait and Hélène Rousteau-Chambon eds, Simon Vouet en Italie, Presses Universitaires de Rennes and Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, 2011, pp. 151-167.
  • ‘“Beautiful in form and in execution”: the design and construction of Andrea Riccio’s Paschal candlestick’, with Shelley Sturman et al., The Burlington Magazine, CLI, October 2009, p. 666-672.


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