2019 – 2020 Showcasing Art History Evening Lecture Series - The Courtauld Institute of Art

2019 – 2020 Showcasing Art History Evening Lecture Series

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Showcasing Art History

Evening Lecture Series XIV, 2019-2020


Showcasing Art History Evening Lecture Series 2020

2019 – 2020 Showcasing Art History Evening Lecture Series

Tuesday Evening Lectures from 7 to 8 pm followed by lively discussion and drinks.

You will find the online booking form at the bottom of this page. The Autumn term has finished and the Spring term is fully booked. Places remain for the Summer term.

Showcasing Art History is a series of 25 lectures on Tuesday evenings over three, free-standing terms (autumn, spring and summer). You are welcome to attend all three terms, a combination of any two terms or just one term.

The series aims to deliver current art-historical thinking in an accessible manner and is open to anyone over the age of 18. Our speakers are specialists in their field and are drawn from members of Courtauld staff and from other leading institutions.

All teaching takes place in our campus at Vernon Square, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW – a short walk from King’s Cross & St Pancras underground station. The map below details Vernon Square’s proximity to Kings’ Cross and Angel stations, and recommended amenities local to the campus.

Spring term 2020

10 lectures,  14 January 2020 – 17 March 2020

Art and Society in Renaissance Florence

The art of Renaissance Florence is often held up as one of the high-water marks of western culture. In this course, we will judge the veracity of this statement, by examining the art produced in the city, its salient stylistic features and its innovations, together with the men (and occasionally women) who commissioned it. We shall begin by considering the cultural heroes that Florentines look up to and the patron saints that (they believed) looked after them. Thereafter, we will consider the narrative that Giorgio Vasari constructed to tell the story of Florentine art, before embarking on classes dedicated to the Medici family and the guilds and confraternities to which artists belonged in the fifteenth century. The remainder of the course is grouped into pairs of lectures: on patronage, both corporate and individual; on style, whether the ‘invention’ of linear perspective or the impact of classical antiquity; and on innovation, from the development of print-making to the appearance of writing on art.

This term will be delivered by Dr Scott Nethersole (6 lectures), with additional contributions by Emily Markham, Alexander Röstel, Dr Joost Joustra and Dr Geoffrey Nuttall.

Summer term 2020

5 lectures, from 28 April 2020 – 26 May 2020

West Coast Stories – Aspects of Californian art in the 1960s and 1970s:
Assemblage, Abstraction, Pop and Moving Image

The summer term lectures will take us to the West Coast of the USA, and in particular to California – an artistic centre quite apart, in its self-image, its institutions and its cultural roots from the generally better-known art-scene of the East Coast.

We shall focus largely on the 1960s and 1970s, a socially and culturally creative period that saw the explosive development of a hedonistic music and counterculture based on new forms of expression and liberation.  It was, however, also a time ravaged by the divisive war in Vietnam, the suppression of free speech throughout the country and the continued struggle for civil, queer and feminist rights – the latter represented for instance in the progressive California Institute of the Arts’ [CalArts] pioneering Feminist Art Program, and embodied in the collaborative installation Womanhouse by Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro and others.

The art emerging from this place and time is among the most exciting produced in America during the 20th century.  Ground-breaking movements and artists emerged, building on and going beyond the characteristic patterns of art-making that were then dominant: the paintings of Sam Francis, for instance, that brought the visual language of abstract expressionism in conversation with that of the rapidly growing culture of psychedelia.  There were also the radical assemblage works of Ed and Nancy Kienholz, whose diorama-like installations presented a dark vision of life on the margins. Ed Ruscha, Peter Saul and other West Coast artists created an idiosyncratic take on Pop art, while the Light and Space movement represented a specifically Southern Californian version of Minimalism.  The Hollywood film industry, of course, loomed large over the Californian scene, and a range of experimental ‘underground’ filmmakers from Kenneth Anger to Chick Strand responded in satirical and deeply personal ways to this cultural dominance.

The summer term lectures will be delivered by Francesca Wilmott, Dr Elizabeth Buhe, and Tom Day.

Autumn term 2019

10 lectures from 8 October 2019 to 17 December 2019 (there is no lecture in the reading week of 29 October).

Making the Modern: Collectors, exhibitions and dealers and their role in the formation of Modern European art 1863-1920

This course investigates the influential role of the art market – of collectors, dealers, curators, exhibitions and critics – in the formation of the modern European art canon.   The avant-garde artists and movements we still revere in our museums and galleries today, and write about as art historians, all depended to a greater or lesser degree on being brought to public attention via ground-breaking, – and largely commercial, – exhibitions.

Focusing on Paris, Vienna, London, Moscow and Munich, we shall examine the influence of a number of such avant-garde shows on artists and the public alike: they included the Salon des Refusés in 1863; the ‘Impressionist’ group shows of the 1870s and 80s;  ‘The Last Futurist Exhibition of Painting ‘0.10’ which displayed Malevich’s Black Square as a modernist icon; Roger Fry’s introduction of ‘Post-Impressionism’ to London in 1910 and 1912;  exhibitions by Der Blaue Reiter in Munich, and the First Russian exhibition in Berlin in 1922.  Whether championing or denigrating the avant-garde, the critical voices that arose in response to these exhibitions tell us much about then current ideas about artistic creativity and the fluctuating ‘value’ – both material and aesthetic – that was attached to works of art.

Prominent critical assessments, and above all the instincts and activities of a growing band of dealers in contemporary art, which included such influential personalities as Ambroise Vollard, Paul Durand-Ruel, and Daniel Henry-Kahnweiler, in turn affected the period’s most notable collectors.   The tastes and wallets of leading art dealers’ clients, private individuals like Sergei Shchukin, Samuel Courtauld and Paul Rosenberg, further determined what was deemed to be worthy of inclusion in the public museums and galleries of modern art in which their collections so often resulted.

Examining this nexus of relations and interests in weekly case-studies, our series draws on recent scholarship, which has challenged the longstanding separation of art history and the histories of exhibitions, curating and collecting.  Our lectures aim to contribute to a multi-faceted understanding of how artistic production was thought about, received and shaped in the period 1863-1920, before museums of contemporary art became the main spaces in which the work of living artists was represented, displayed and promoted.

This term will be delivered by Dr Natalia Murray (4 lectures), with additional individual contributions by Anne Robbins, Dr Caroline Levitt, Dr Charlotte de Mille, Dr Karen Serres,
Dr Niccola Shearman and Emily Christensen.




Each term is free-standing and you can book any of these combinations:

Option 1
Autumn term £195

Option 2
Spring term £195

Option 3
Summer term £95

Options 1 & 2
Autumn and Spring £365

Options 1 & 3
Autumn and Summer £285

Options 2 & 3
Spring and Summer £285

Options 1, 2 & 3
Full Year £455

10% discount is available for bookings by the end of September 2019 for returning Showcasing Art History students (2018-2019 season), and for Spring, Summer and Autumn School 2019 students.

Termly Timetables – Showcasing Art History Lectures 2019-20

Making the Modern: Collectors, Exhibitions and Dealers and their role in the formation of Modern European art 1863-1920

Autumn Term 2019 Timetable

Art and Society in Renaissance Florence

Spring Term 2020 Timetable

West Coast Stories – Southern Californian art in the 1960s and 1970s: Assemblage, Abstraction, Pop and Moving Image

Summer Term 2020 Timetable

Payment of Fees

We accept the following methods of payment:

Fill in our Online Booking Form below and pay via PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account, there will be a ‘Pay by Debit or Credit Card’ option available).

Alternatively, payment can be made by cheque (or telephone) using the downloadable pdf booking form at the very bottom of the page.

CHEQUE PAYMENTS – please simply post your booking form, with a cheque
Cheques should be made payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’
Short Courses
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Vernon Square Campus
Vernon Square
Penton Rise
Kings Cross
London WC1X 9EW

PAY BY TELEPHONE BY CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD please email (or post) your booking form to short.courses@courtauld.ac.uk before making your telephone payment

We are unable to accept American Express or Diners cards.

To make your payment over the telephone using any of the above cards please telephone +44 (0)20 3947 7650.

Our office opening times are Monday to Friday 10.30 to 13.00 and 14.00-17.00 Please note telephone lines get extremely busy and there may be a delay in getting through.


Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your place more than 4 weeks before the start of the course, we will refund 50% of the course/tour fee. For cancellations less than 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, no refund will be payable. We do whatever we can to ensure that courses take place as advertised but we reserve the right to make changes or cancellations


Please note: the Autumn term has finished and the Spring term is fully booked. Places remain for the Summer term.


Online Booking Form

(FORM NOTE: After clicking the form ‘Submit’ button you will be shown the section ‘FORM SUBMITTED’ to confirm your booking if successful).



Download pdf booking form for payment by cheque or telephone

SHOWCASING ART HISTORY BOOKING FORM 2019-20 for booking by post


Please email short.courses@courtauld.ac.uk to be added to the Short Courses Mailing List and you will receive an email when our various programmes are launched.

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