Dr. Laura Morowitz, Art History


Dr. Laura Morowitz's scholarship focuses on a variety of issues and periods. She is the author of three books:

  • Artistic Brotherhoods in the Nineteenth Century (with Will Vaughan), Ashgate 2000
  • Consuming the Past: The Medieval Revival in Fin-de-Siecle France (with Elizabeth Emery), Ashgate 2003
  • The Miracles of Prato (with Laurie Lico Albanese), William Morrow/Harper Collins 2009

Her articles and reviews have appeared in The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, The Oxford Art Journal, The Journal of Collections, The Journal of Popular Film and Television and Critical Studies in Television.  Examining issues of nationalism, consumerism, historiography and gender, Dr. Morowitz has published on artists including Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustave Moreau, Vincent Van Gogh, and Edouard Vuillard as well as important writers and cultural figures in nineteenth century France. She has also written on forms of popular culture including television  sitcoms and artistic exhibitions in department stores and Worlds Fairs. She is currently at work on a book focusing on the art and cultural legacy of the Viennese artist Gustav Klimt, for which she and her co-author received a 2011 Hadassah-Brandeis Research Award. Her works have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Catalan, Portuguese and Turkish.

Statement on Art History

I knew from the moment I stepped into my first art history class that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in this field.  Focusing on some of the most interesting and beautiful things human beings have ever made, the field of art history also demands that you know a great deal about history, philosophy, literature, religion and the social sciences.  The field grows continually more fascinating as new methodologies and questions come to the fore.  I will never stop being amazed at how ideas come to be mediated and translated into visual works of art, and how the deep structures of culture find their way into art and architecture.  There is a place for everything in art history—from analysis of political systems to the most nuanced reading of color and light.  The interdisciplinary of art history, combined with its basis in concrete objects, makes it one of the most challenging and stimulating fields one can study.  And in the end, what is more fun than visiting your favorite works of art?  As you grow and learn, they seem to change and grow right along with you.

Statement about experiences at Wagner

One of the best things about teaching art history at Wagner College is the great variety of subjects I get to cover.  From intense seminars on Van Gogh and Gauguin, to introductory classes on art and religion, to team-taught courses on modern art and history, there are constantly new connections to be made and new materials to explore.  Having small classes allows me to really get to know my students and to help them bring their own interests and specialties into their work in art history.  I’ve had psychology majors writing papers on Van Gogh and temporal lobe epilepsy, biology students commenting on how medical definitions affected the view of women in art, and art majors offering the most nuanced and piercing analysis of Vermeer’s light or Arbus’s photographs.  We are so lucky to be in New York City.  Whatever the course I am teaching—medieval art, a class on African masks, the architecture of the Bauhaus, we have living, breathing examples of ALL of it.  That’s where it all comes together.