Rose Pickering

PhD Student

Thesis: 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

Supervisor: Professor David Peters Corbett   Advisor: Dr Caroline Levitt

Funded by Courtauld Scholarship (The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust)

The project explores a word-image connection between Édouard Vuillard’s artwork and Marcel Proust’s novel, À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927) by focusing on depictions of women. Studying Vuillard and Proust as contemporaries, the analysis compares both accounts of French modernity through their “feminised” verbal and visual language. Images of women in domestic spaces occur through the entirety Vuillard’s oeuvre, while women, central throughout, bookend Proust’s novel. This study pinpoints how Vuillard’s work has been overlooked in modernist contexts because of its overly “feminine” content. Where Proust is considered a key figure of the avant-garde, Vuillard is pushed to the margins of modernism. The study shows how a comparison with Proust can clarify Vuillard’s particular diagnosis of modernity, demonstrating how his artworks connect to broader themes and shed light on the suppressed aspects of modernism, namely domesticity and, by extension, the female space.


2021—: Doctorate of Philosophy in History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art

2019—2020: Masters in the History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art

2014—2018: Bachelor of Arts in French with a Year Abroad, King’s College London


Research Grants and Scholarships

2021/22: Courtauld Scholarship (The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust)


Research Interests

  • Word and Image relations, specifically the relationship between art and literature
  • Artists and writers living contemporaneously
  • Artists and writers with personal connections
  • French Modernism and the Parisian avant-garde
  • French literature
  • Conditions of women in fin de siècle France
  • Memory
  • Time