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Alan Wallach

Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies Emeritus

Email: [[axwall]]

Research Interests

Thomas Cole, The Hudson River School, the beginnings of American modernism, art museums (history, theory, practice), the social history of art, critical theory


1973 Ph.D., The History of Art, Columbia University, New York, New York

1965 M.A., The History of Art, Columbia University, New York, New York

1963 B.A., Mathematics, Columbia College, New York, New York

Awards, Fellowships, Service

2010 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art, The John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies and the Art Historical Institute, The Free University, Berlin

2008 Robert Sterling Clark Distinguished Visiting Professor, Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts

2007 Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award, The College Art Association

2006 Distinguished Visiting Professor, Graduate Program in the History of Art, University of Delaware

2000-2003 Member, Board of Managing Editors, American Quarterly

1996-2000 Member, Board of Directors, The College Art Association

1994-1997 Member, Art Bulletin Editorial Advisory Committee

1985-1986 Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Selected Publications

Co-editor with Andrew Hemingway, Transatlantic Romanticism: American Art and Literature, 1790-1860, University of Massachusetts Press, 2015

“Thomas Cole and Transatlantic Romanticism,” in Hemingway and Wallach eds., Transatlantic Romanticism, 206-226.

“On the Social History of American Art,” in John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, and Jason LaFountain eds., A Companion to American Art, John Wiley and Sons, 2015

“Luxury and the Downfall of Civilization in Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire,” in Caroline Frank and Patricia Johnston eds., Global Trade and the Visual Arts in Federal New England, University of New Hampshire Press, 2014.

“Rethinking ‘Luminism’: Taste, Class, and Aestheticizing Tendencies in Mid-Nineteenth Century American Landscape Painting,” in Nancy Siegel ed., The Cultured Canvas: New Perspectives on American Landscape Painting (Durham, New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire Press, 2011), 115-147.

“The Birth of the American Art Museum,” in Sven Beckert and Julia Rosenbaum eds., The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), pp. 247-256.

“The Norman Rockwell Museum and the Representation of Social Conflict” in Patricia Johnston ed., Seeing High and Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 357-367.

“Thomas Cole’s River in the Catskills as Antipastoral,” The Art Bulletin 84, no. 2 (June 2002), 334-350 and cover

Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States, University of Massachusetts Press, 1998

“Thomas Cole and the Aristocracy,” in Marianne Doezema and Elizabeth Milroy eds., Reading American Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998): 79-108.  A revised version of an essay published in 1981 in Arts Magazine.

 Co-editor with William H. Truettner, Thomas Cole: Landscape into History, National Museum of American Art and Yale University Press, 1994. Author of principal essay.

“Making a Picture of the View from Mount Holyoke,” in David Miller ed., American Iconology: New Approaches to Nineteenth Century Art and Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993): 80-91, 310-312.

“The Universal Survey Museum,” Art History 3, no. 4 (Dec. 1980): 448-469; written in collaboration with Carol Duncan

“The Museum of Modern Art as Late Capitalist Ritual: An Iconographic Analysis,” Marxist Perspectives 1, no. 4 (Winter 1978): 28-51; written in collaboration with Carol Duncan.


Currently adjunct for teaching graduate courses, Department of Fine Arts and Art History, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.