Dr Caroline Levitt

Senior Lecturer; Head of History of Art Department

Caroline Levitt is currently Head of the History of Art department and a member of the teaching and research faculty.

She is a specialist in 19th and 20th century French art and literature, and has a particular interest in relationships between text and image/object. She completed her BA in French and History of Art at UCL in 2004 and came to the Courtauld for an MA (2005) and PhD (2008), supervised by Prof Christopher Green. She teaches on all areas of her research interests.

Caroline’s main research is currently centred on books that have been drawn over by their artist-owners in an effort to annotate, illustrate, ornament, critique, obfuscate or even deface. Through examining the activity of artists such as Rodin on the poetry of Baudelaire or Le Corbusier on Homer’s Iliad it is possible to develop a picture of an intriguing, and literally ‘marginal’ rewriting of Modernism.

Caroline is also a regular contributor to the Courtauld’s Public Programmes, including Summer School, Study Tours and the Showcasing Art History lecture series.

Current Teaching

Research interests

  • Modern art, with a focus on France c. 1850-1945
  • Surrealism
  • Relationships between art and poetry, c. 1850 to the present, especially illustrated books and books drawn over by their artist owners
  • Modern artists working in non-painterly media, including literature, film and ‘decorative’ arts
  • Links between architecture and poetry, especially the art, architecture and writing of Le Corbusier

Convener of the Word and Image Research Cluster

Recent conference papers and talks

  • ‘“…and find the title long afterwards”: Gauguin Rethinking Gauguin’, Open Courtauld Hour series 3 episode 1, Rethinking Gauguin, 1 October 2020. Online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7ajTOymhVc 
  • ‘Questioning Topographies in Word and Image: Pierre Alechinsky and Gilbert Lascault’s Arrondissements (1983)’. Word and Image research seminar, The Courtauld, 20 November 2019. 
  • ‘Re-forming the Past, Crafting the Modern: The Tapestries of Le Corbusier’, The Weaver’s Workshop: Materiality, craft and efficacies in the art of tapestry, Association for Art History Conference 5-7 April 2018.
  • ‘What is the point of titles? Understanding Gauguin’s Nevermore’, ResFest 2018, The Courtauld Institute of Art, April 2018.
  • ‘Silent non-production: poetry, immateriality and Apollinaire’s Medardo Rosso’, Study Day: Medardo Rosso Sight Unseen and his Encounters with London, The Courtauld Institute of Art/Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, February 2018.

Recent and forthcoming publications

Articles and essays

  • ‘Weaving Words: Le Corbusier and Jean Lurçat Between Tapestry and Poetry’, LC. Revue de recherches sur Le Corbusier, No. 2 (Sept 2020), pp. 76-89. Available online
  • ‘The World at War: Early Twentieth Century’, Art and Time: A World History of Styles and Movements, London, Phaidon, 2014
  • ‘Raoul Dufy, Pierre Alechinsky and Jim Dine: Depicting the Arts in Guillaume Apollinaire’s “Le Poète assassin锑, Nottingham French Studies, (Special Issue on ‘Art in French Fiction since 1900’), Autumn 2012. Available online
  • ‘Apollinaire, Derain and L’Enchanteur pourrissant: The Decay and Multiplication of Gothic Meaning’, Cleaver L., Lepine A. (eds), Gothic Legacies: Four Centuries of Tradition and Innovation, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars, 2012
  • ‘Modern Art, 1900 to mid-century’ The Art Museum, London, Phaidon, 2011
  • ‘From the Walls of Factories to the Poetry of the Street: Inscriptions and Graffiti in the Work of Apollinaire and the Surrealists’, Papers of Surrealism, Issue 9, Summer 2011. Available online
  • ‘Screening Poetry: Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton and Experimental Cinema’, Immediations: the Courtauld Institute of Art journal of postgraduate research, vol. 2, no.1, London, Jul 2008


  • Book review, A Moment’s Monument: Medardo Rosso and the International Origins of Modern Sculpture by Sharon Hecker (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), CAA.reviews, 2019. (Forthcoming)
  • Book review, Reading Apollinaire’s ‘Calligrammes’ by Willard Bohn (New York, Bloomsbury, 2018), Modern Language Review, 2019. (Forthcoming)
  • Book review, Constantin Brancusi by Sandy Miller (Reaktion Books, 2010), Slavonic and East European Review, April 2011.
  • Exhibition review, Mondrian/De Stijl, Centre Pompidou, Paris, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 153, no. 1296, March 2011.
  • Exhibition review, Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Tate Modern, London, Art and Christianity Journal, issue 64, Winter 2010.
  • Book review, Picasso and Apollinaire: the persistence of memory by Peter Read (University of California Press, 2008), The Burlington Magazine, vol. CL, no. 1268, November 2008.