Natalie Adamson


  • KY16 9AJ

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

Personal profile

Profile Keywords

The interpretation of abstract painting; Surrealism; problems in French painting and political ideology in the post-45 period; modernist photography.

Academic/Professional Qualification

Scottish Society for Art History; College Art Association; Association of Art Historians (Executive Committee Member)


My research and teaching concerns twentieth-century modern visual culture, particularly with regard to the art and politics of France after 1940 and its international and transnational relations around the world; abstract art; surrealism; art criticism and its reception; the practice of painting;  and the history and theory of photography, especially related to  modernism, colour and the photobook. My specialism in post-war French art informed my books Painting, Politics and the Struggle for the École de Paris, 1944-1964 (Ashgate 2009/Routledge 2016) and In Focus: Around the Blues 1957, 1962-3, by Sam Francis (Tate Research Publications, 2019), as well as the co-edited publications Academics, Pompiers, Official Artists and the Arrière-Garde: Defining Modern and Traditional in France, 1900-1960 (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009) and Material Imagination: Postwar European Art, 1946-1971 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). Major grants from the Leverhulme Trust, the Getty Research Institute, the AHRC and the Carnegie Trust have supported my research. I served as Deputy Editor of the International, UK-based journal of record for the discipline, Art History, from 2012 to 2017.

I am currently completing two major research projects. The first is a monograph that examines the abstract painting practice of French artist Pierre Soulages (b.1919) in relation to philosophies of temporality, existentialism and phenomenology, poetic theory, and the cultural politics of the post-45 decades (forthcoming with Yale University Press). The second is the Companion to French Art, 1782 the Present, co-edited with Richard Taws (UCL) for Wiley Blackwell. Other research that is ongoing concerns women artists and abstraction, photography during the 1950s, the representation of ideas of Europe, and transnational networks and artistic relationships between Paris/France and elsewhere.

I have guided seven PhDs to completion and currently supervise or co-supervise seven others on research topics in both art history and history of photography. I invite enquiries from potential students who wish to  pursue research topics related to my interests, however, the earliest I can consider PhD candidates is 2025.


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