Wesleyan portrait of Katherine M. Kuenzli

Katherine M. Kuenzli

Professor of Art History

41 Wyllys Avenue, 307

Section Head

Professor, German Studies

1 Vine Street,


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BA Yale University
MA University of California, Berkeley
PHD University of California, Berkeley

Katherine M. Kuenzli

Katherine M. Kuenzli's research focuses on European modernism 1880-1940, which she studies from a broad cultural and political perspective. Her first book, The Nabis and Intimate Modernism: Painting and the Decorative at the Fin de Siècle (Routledge, 2010), examines the decorative painting of Nabi artists Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, and Paul Ranson, reconstructing their relationship to Impressionism, mass culture, literary Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Wagnerianism, and a revolutionary artistic tradition. The book re-positions the Nabis to occupy a crucial place in modernism's development from 1860 to 1914 and also challenges that narrative to place more emphasis on notions of decoration, totality and interiority.

Kuenzli's current projects include a monograph, Henry van de Velde: Designing Modernism (Yale University Press: forthcoming fall 2019) and a translation and scholarly edition that she is preparing together with Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Elizabeth Tucker, and Michael André, Henry van de Velde: Selected Essays, 1889-1914 (under contract with the Getty Research Institute). Together, these projects recover van de Velde's important role in Neo-Impressionist painting and the German Werkbund, and they demonstrate how ideas of internationalism and the total work of art lie at the heart of modern approaches to museum display, art education, and industrial design.

In addition to her book projects, Kuenzli has published articles in The Art Bulletin, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Art History, and Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, as well as essays in edited volumes and exhibition catalogues. Her work has been supported by Fulbright, Chateaubriand, Dedalus, DAAD, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Getty Library, Canadian Center for Architecture, ACLS, and NEH grants.

Kuenzli teaches courses in modern European art from the French Revolution through World War II. Some of her recent courses include surveys of nineteenth-century modernism and the twentieth-century avant-garde, a freshman seminar on Vincent Van Gogh and the Myth of Genius, and an upper-division seminar on Modernism and the Total Work of Art. 

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Wednesdays 4:30-5:30pm

Fridays 2-3pm


Fall 2019
ARHA 140F - 01
Van Gogh (FYS)

ARHA 240 - 01
19th Century French Painting