Michelle Foa

311 Woldenberg Art Center
(504) 314-2227

Michelle Foa, Georges Seurat: The Art of Vision

Michelle Foa, Associate Professor, History of Art | Director of Graduate Studies

Michelle Foa is an Associate Professor of European art from the 18th through the early 20th centuries, with a particular focus on 19th-century French art, visual and material culture, and writings on art.  Her book, titled Georges Seurat: The Art of Vision, was published in 2015 by Yale University Press and takes the artist’s interest in vision as its central focus.  Professor Foa situates Seurat’s body of work as a sustained meditation on different forms of visual engagement with the outside world and as an exploration of the diverse states of mind that these visual experiences can elicit.  She is currently at work on a book on Edgar Degas titled The Matter of Degas: Art and Materiality in Later Nineteenth-Century Paris. Other research and teaching interests include the materials of art, Europe’s global encounters in the 18th and 19th centuries, the relationship between art and science, historiography and art criticism, and 19th-century exhibition spaces and practices.

Before coming to Tulane in 2008, the year that she completed her doctorate at Princeton University, Professor Foa taught at Mount Holyoke College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton.

Michelle Foa was awarded a 2017-2018 Monroe Research Fellowship from the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South for her work on Edgar Degas's New Orleans cotton office pictures.  She serves on the faculty advisory committee of the Environmental Studies Program at Tulane, and she is the lead faculty member for a new 360-Degree course titled "Environmental Perspectives: An Interdisciplinary Approach," for which she received a grant from the Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation and which she will teach in the spring of 2018.

Recent Publications:

Georges Seurat: The Art of Vision, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015.

“‘One Art Eating the Other’ in Emile Zola’s L’Oeuvre,” in Art and Music as Rival Sisters at the Birth of Modernism, 1800-1900. Aldershot, U.K. and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Press, 2014.

“(Anti) Biography and Neo-Impressionism,” RIHA: Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art, special issue on Neo-Impressionism, July 2012.

“Textual Inhibitions: Photographic Criticism in Late Victorian Britain,” History of Photography, February 2012.

“On the Spaces of Painting and Perception: Seurat and Helmholtz” in Georges Seurat: Figure in Space, exhibition catalogue for the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, ed. Christoph Becker, Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2009.  Catalogue published in English, French, and German editions.


Tulane University, Newcomb Art Dept., 202 Woldenberg Art Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5327