Kathleen Pierce, PhD
Art History | Visual Culture | Medical Humanities | 19th-Century French Empire


My research explores intersections of art and medicine in the 19th- and early 20th-century French empire. I am in the process of revising a book manuscript, tentatively titled Ephemeral Surfaces: Paper, Paint, and Pathological Skin in the Fin-de-Siècle French Empire. The project examines a broad range of objects—from dermatological illustrations and wax-cast models, to public health posters and Cubist painting and collage—to elucidate relationships between pathological skin and the surface of modern art. The project reveals shared modes of conceptualizing and visualizing surface across the spheres of medicine, public health and artistic production. It also illuminates historically specific modes of understanding the rise of the modernist surface in the early twentieth century.

Recent publicly accessible work related to the book project includes my 2018 article in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide and my presentation at the digital conference Veiling the Body: Cloth, Skin, Membrane, Paper, which retains a digital presence.