Davis, John Chercheur invité (mars-mai 2013)

John Davis is the Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in American art history. He is a specialist in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art and architecture, and his research interests include landscape and genre painting, religion, race, urbanism, and the interplay of text and image. He has taught as a visiting professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, and l'Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has received fellowship support from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Fulbright Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author or co-author of five books and catalogues and dozens of articles and essays.


(With Sarah Burns) American Art to 1900 : A Documentary History. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2009.

“Gli scritti teorici sul paesaggio di Thomas Cole e Asher B. Durand,” in Pittura e paesaggio in America, 9-29. Treviso : Linea d'Ombra, 2007.

“Real Estate and Artistic Identity in Turn-of-the-Century New York,” American Art 20 (Summer 2006), 56-75.

“A Change of Key : The Banjo during the Civil War and Reconstruction,” in Picturing the Banjo, edited by Leo Mazow, 48-69. University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005.

“The End of the American Century : Current Scholarship on the Art of the United States,” Art Bulletin 85 (September 2003) : 544-80.

“Catholic Envy : The Visual Culture of Protestant Desire.” In The Visual Culture of American Religions, edited by David Morgan and Sally Promey, 105-28. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001.

“Eastman Johnson's Negro Life at the South and Urban Slavery in Washington, D.C.,” Art Bulletin 80 (March 1998) : 67-92.

The Landscape of Belief : Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture. Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1996. (Paperback ed., 1998).

"Children in the Parlor : Eastman Johnson's Brown Family and the Post-Civil War Luxury Interior," American Art 10 (Summer 1996) : 50-77.

Projet de recherche

During his tenure as Visiting Professor at INHA and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, John Davis will work on two essays, the first examining the American artists who were invited to exhibit with Les XX and La Libre Esthétique (Sargent, Whistler, Chase, Cassatt, Alexander, Robinson, Hassam) and the second exploring the nationalistic discourse on American exceptionalism in nineteenth-century art theory and criticism. He will reflect on how this discourse has shaped the recent practice of American art history, which has sometimes resulted in the definition of American art by absence or negation. He will contrast the essentialist interest in “ethos and essence” with the more material, provincialist framing of center and periphery, seeking to understand exceptionalism within an international context. In addition, Professor Davis will conduct editorial work for the Blackwell Companion to American Art, which he is co-editing with Jennifer Greenhill and Jason LaFountain.