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 in the broadest sense, and in relationships between modern art and the sacred. 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.

Caroline’s main research is currently centred on the unstable word-image relationships that emerge when artists draw over existing printed materials, from maps (in the case of Pierre Alechinsky, for example) to whole books (Rodin on Baudelaire or Le Corbusier on Homer’s Illiad amongst others), in an effort to annotate, illustrate or alter. This ‘marginal’ rewriting of modernism – and its potential for challenging assumed authorities – will be the subject of a monograph and a forthcoming article.

Caroline enjoys contributing to new developments and explorations of the Courtauld’s collections, and has been involved in short films to introduce the book library’s collection of surrealist journals and Gauguin’s manuscript Avant et Après.  She has also been a regular contributor to the Courtauld’s Public Programmes, including Summer School, Study Tours and the Showcasing Art History lecture series.

Current Teaching

Taught Modules


PhD Supervision

  • Claudine SeroussiContinuity and Disruption: The French Jeweller 1920-29 (Supervisor)
  • Rose Pickering, Memory, Time and the Muse: An Exploration of Édouard Vuillard’s Representations of Women through a comparison with Marcel Proust’s ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ (Advisor)
  • Bella Kesoyan, Transatlantic Dialogue: The French livre d’artiste and printmaking influences in American contemporary artist’s books (Advisor)

Research interests

  • Modern art, with a focus on France c. 1850 to the present
  • Relationships between word and image
  • Modern art, literature and the sacred
  • Modern artists working in non-painterly media, including literature, film and applied arts
  • Links between architecture and poetry, especially the art, architecture and writing of Le Corbusier

Convener of the Word and Image Research Cluster

Member of the Sculptural Processes group, the Graphic Arts Group and the Sacred Traditions and the Arts seminar series.

Recent conference papers and talks

  • ‘Idle chatter, or writing instead of talking: Language and (un)certainty in Gauguin’s Text and Image’, Paper presented at the conference Avant et Après: Gauguin’s Final Words, The Courtauld, 23-24 June 2023.
  • ‘Devotion, Doubt and the ‘Down-and-Out’: Jean Cocteau’s Murals in the Église Notre Dame de France, Leicester Place’, Lecture given as part of the King’s College London AKC Lecture series, 21 November 2022.
  • ‘Repetition as Truth: Language and (un)certainty in Gauguin’s Text and Image’, Paper presented as part of an international workshop on Gauguin’s Avant et Après, The Courtauld, 2-3 November 2022.
  • Member of a panel for the Brooklyn Rail broadcast ‘Guernica: The Survival of a Myth’, 15 April 2022. https://brooklynrail.org/events/2022/04/15/guernica-the-survival-of-a-myth/
  • Multiple Viewpoint Narrative and Universal Language: The Translatability of Picasso’s Guernica, paper presented at the conference Guernica: The Survival of a Myth, 18-19 November 2021, Museo Picasso, Malaga. Conference recording available here: 
  • ‘“…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

  • Caroline Levitt, ‘La narrativa de puntos de vistas múltiples y el lenguaje universal: la traducibilidad de Guernica de Picasso’, in: José Lebrero Stals, Pepe Karmel (eds.), Guernica: Pervivencia de un mito (Malaga: Museo Picasso/Editorial Universidad de Granada, 2022), pp. 87-104. [English title: ‘Multiple Viewpoint Narrative and Universal Language: The Translatability of Picasso’s Guernica’]
  • Caroline Levitt, ‘“Different Eyes at Different Times”: Rasmus Meyer’s Munchs and Samuel Courtauld’s Collection in Dialogue’, in: Barnaby Wright (ed.), Edvard Munch: Masterpieces from Bergen (London: The Courtauld Gallery, 2022), pp. 61-81.
  • Caroline Levitt, ‘Roots: UNESCO by Le Corbusier’ in: UNESCO Art Collection: Selected Works (Paris: UNESCO, 2021), pp. 399-400. Available online in Open Access: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379903
  • ‘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.
  • Book review, Reading Apollinaire’s ‘Calligrammes’ by Willard Bohn (New York, Bloomsbury, 2018), Modern Language Review, 2019.
  • 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.