Detail of Nameless and Friendless by Emily Osborn, 1857
Faculty / Susan Casteras

Susan Casteras

Professor, Division of Art History
Art Building, room 302

Professorship in American Art History

M.A., M.Phil., Yale University, 1973 and 1975
Ph.D., Yale University, 1977

As a result of my nearly twenty years of curatorial experience as Curator of Paintings at the Yale Center for British Art, I like to emphasize in my classes a strong object-related approach which lends itself whenever possible to firsthand study in museums, private collections, and/or exhibitions. My primary concentration is on British Victorian art, on which I have published extensively on diverse topics such as Pre-Raphaelitism, the iconology of womanhood, male genius, sempstresses, and the Grosvenor Gallery. I equally enjoy teaching and advising in the field of American 19th-century art and often combine an interdisciplinary, Anglo-American perspective and encourage my students in this direction. My most recent research projects include those on fairy paintings, Victorian history pictures, images of emigration, and constructions of race and labor; I moreover continue my work on the huge subject of Victorian religious painting, a much neglected subject. Among the seminars I have taught recently are those entitled Representations of the Other in 19th-Century Art; Pre-Raphaelitism; The Gilded Age in Europe an America; The Body Politic; Death and Dying in Visual Culture; Bloomsbury Art and Artists; American Impressionism and its Regional Permutations; and Art Museums: History, Theory, and Practice. I have several talented graduate students working with me in these areas and exploring new topics. Most have already been chosen to present papers at various symposia and conferences, and some have published their work and won prestigious internships at the National Gallery of Art and elsewhere. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Areas Of Expertise And Research

American and British painting, 1750-1950
Victorian art
Women artists
Constructions of gender, race, and ethnicity
Feminist art and issues
19th-century critical reception and the art press
Northwestern art, 1880-1945
Art Museums: history, theory, practice

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications:

"The Pre-Raphaelization of the Modern Literary Heroine" in Breaking New Ground in Art History

"Aesthetes on Display: 'Not Masculine and Progressive but Reclusive and Retrospective'" in Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism

"From Thackeray to Stowe: British Constructions of Slavery during the American Civil War" in Nineteenth-Century British Travelers in the New World

"Joseph Noel Paton's 'Bond and Free: Five Studies Illustrative of Slavery'" in Visual Resources

"Women and Children Last in Victorian Emigration Paintings" in Exiles and Emigrants: Epic Journeys to Australia in the Victorian Era

"The Symbolist Debt to Pre-Raphaelitism" in Worldwide Pre-Raphaelitism

"Painted Fictions: Commemorating the Everyday in Victorian Art" in Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection

"Winged Fantasies: constructions of childhood, innocence, adolescence, and sexuality in Victorian fairy painting" in Picturing Children

The Defining Moment: Victorian Narrative Painting

"Post-Raphaelite Visions: A Strangely Disordered Gaze" inCollecting the Pre-Raphaelites: The Anglo-American Enchantment

"The Unsettled Hearth: The Problematics of Women and Victorian Interiors" in Re-Framing the Pre-Raphaelites

"Seeing the Unseen: Faces in the Victorian Crowd" in The Victorian Visual Imagination

The Grosvenor Gallery: A Palace of Art in Victorian England (co-edited with Colleen Denney)

English Pre-Raphaelitism and its European Contexts (co-edited with Alicia Faxon)

James Smetham: Artist, Author, Pre-Raphaelite Associate

A Struggle for Fame: Victorian Women Artists and Authors (co-edited with Linda Peterson)

"Stereotyping Creativity: The Cult of Male Genius in Victorian Art" in Rewriting the Victorians

"Against the Norms: Pre-Raphaelite Challenges to Victorian Canons of Beauty" in The Huntington Library Quarterly

Pocket Cathedrals: Pre-Raphaelite Book Illustration(editor)

English Pre-Raphaelitism and its Reception in America in the 19th Century

Richard Redgrave (co-edited with Ronald Parkinson)

Images of Victorian Womanhood in English Art