History of Art and Architecture

Ann Sutherland Harris

Professor Emerita


Past PhD(s): Saskia Beranek, Marianne Berardi, Anne Bertrand, John Chvostal, James Jewitt, Kathy Johnston-Keane, Patrizia Costa-Frezza; See a listing of Past PhDs for details

Professor Harris’s research and teaching has embraced a wide range of topics in the history of art and architecture in European late Renaissance and seventeenth-century art in various media.  The literature on seventeenth-century Italian painters was sparse in the 1960s when she began her career. She helped to reconstruct the careers of several artists, including P. F. Mola and Pietro Testa, by publishing documentary information, identifying both paintings and drawings by them and creating a more logical chronology of their work. Her monograph on Andrea Sacchi (1599-1661) is regarded as one of the best of the studies on a major seicento painter published in recent years. She also specializes in artists’ drawings, both their correct identification, and their function in the production of both painting and sculpture, with particular emphasis on the drawings of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.  She has identified and published drawings by Michelangelo, Bernini, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, and many less well-known artists.  She has also been interested in the education of artists, including the role of academies and artists’ levels of literacy.

The exhibition Women Artists, 1550-1950, co-curated with Linda Nochlin, shown in Los Angeles, Austin, Pittsburgh and Brooklyn in 1976-77, helped to open up the field of women’s studies in the discipline.  She has continued to write about women artists of the past and present, especially Artemisia Gentileschi and Alice Neel, as well as the artistic politics and rivalries among both male and female artists.

Her most recent book is Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture London [Laurence King], 2005; 2nd ed., 2008.  While written for use as a textbook in the United States, it has sold well to the general reader in English-speaking countries looking for an introduction to the arts of this century.  It makes teaching this period much easier than before and should encourage future research in this rich century of artistic production.

Education Details

PhD, Courtauld Institute, University of London

Selected Publications

Andrea Sacchi, London: Phaidon, 1977

Selected Drawings of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, New York: Dover, 1977

[with Linda Nochlin], Women Artists, 1550–1950, Los Angeles County Museum et al., 1976–77

Alice Neel: Paintings 1933–1982, Loyola Marymount University Art Gallery, Los Angeles, 1983

Landscape Painting in Rome, 1595–1675, New York: Richard L. Feigen Gallery, 1985

Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture, London and East Rutherford, N.J., 2004

Selected Awards

Grants from the Guggenheim and Ford Foundations, NEA, NEH, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and J. Paul Getty Museum. Also:

1977: Mademoiselle Magazine Woman of the Year (with Linda Nochlin for the exhibition, Women Artists, 1550–1950).

1981: Honorary Doctor of Arts, Eastern Michigan University.

1986: Pittsburgh YWCA Woman of the Year in the Arts.

1990: Honorary Doctor of Humanities, Atlanta College of Art

Additional Information: 

Current Projects

Completion of catalogue of drawings and paintings by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and two articles about unpublished drawings by Nicolas Poussin, as well as essays on aspects of drawing practice by the Carracci and their circle and some newly discovered work by Andrea Sacchi.