Professor Kessler specializes in nineteenth-century European art and visual culture, and is also interested in critical theories, fashion studies, and gender and visual representation. In her research, as in her teaching, she combines close visual analysis of objects with social/historical context and a variety of theoretical frameworks. Kessler has published articles and book chapters on urbanism, fashion, food, gender, and portraiture in late nineteenth-century French visual culture. Her forthcoming book Discomfort Food: The Culinary in Late Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture (University of Minnesota Press) argues that representations of food may be uniquely evocative, conveying material and immaterial possibilities that far exceed their seemingly mundane subject matter. Kessler’s first book, Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet’s Paris, examines the visual/historical/cultural significance of the veil in late nineteenth-century French painting, photography, and popular imagery.
Ph.D. History of Art, Yale University, December 1996
M.Phil. History of Art, Yale University, 1993
M.A. History of Art, Yale University, 1991
M.A. Art History, Williams College, 1989
A.B. English, Vassar College, 1987
Professor, University of Kansas, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Fall 2020-Present
Associate Professor, University of Kansas, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Fall 2007-Fall 2020
Assistant Professor, University of Kansas, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Fall 2000-Spring 2007
Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate Liberal Studies Program, Wesleyan University, Spring 2000
Visiting Lecturer, Yale University, Falls 1998 and 1999
Visiting Assistant Professor, Wesleyan University, Fall 1998-Spring 1999
Visiting Assistant Professor, Barnard College, Fall 1996-Spring 1997
Instructor and Prize Teaching Fellow, Yale University, Fall 1994-Spring 1995
Discomfort Food: The Culinary in Late Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture, In press. University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming Fall 2020.
Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet's Paris (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006).
Awarded: 2006 Millard Meiss Book Subvention Grant, College Art Association and 2006 Vice-Provost for Research Book Subvention Award, University of Kansas; Nominated: 2007 CAA Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and 2008 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies.
“Beyond the Shadow of the Veil: Claude Monet's The Beach at Trouville,” Fashion, Modernity, and Materiality in France: From Rousseau to Art Déco ed. Heidi Brevik-Zender (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018) 135-155.
"At the Threshold: Fairfield Porter's Night, Transitions, and the Steadiness of Friendship," invited chapter for Inspired: Essays in Honor of Susan Kuretsky eds. Elizabeth Nogrady and Joanna Sheers Seidenstein (Poughkeepsie, NY: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery, Vassar College, 2018) 114-121.
"Vuillard Chez Natanson: The Luncheon, Misia's Hair, and Édouard's Cantaloupe," Nineteenth-Century Contexts 40:3 (May 2018) 1-23.
"Édouard Manet’s Ham and Suzanne’s Lost Body in Edgar Degas’ Salon," Contemporary French Civilization special Issue “Beyond Gastronomy: French Food Culture for the 21st Century,” eds. Michael Garval and Philippe Dubois, 42:3-4 (winter 2018) 279-300.
"Edgar Degas's Princess Pauline de Metternich and the Phenomenological Swirl," in Perspectives on Degas ed. Kathryn Brown (London: Routledge Press, 2017) 135-150.
"Parsing Edgar Degas's Le Pédicure," Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 13:2 (Fall 2014): unpaginated.
"Antoine Vollon: Rendering Butter," Dix-Neuf: Journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes 10 (April 2008) 12-24.
"Ocular Anxiety and the Pink Tea Cup: Edgar Degas's Woman with Bandage," Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 5:2 (Fall 2006) unpaginated.
"Dusting the Surface: the Veil, the Bourgeoise, and the City Grid," in The Invisible Flâneuse?: Gender, Public Space, and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris eds. Aruna d'Souza and Tom McDonough (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006) 49-64.
"Filters and Pathologies: Caillebotte and Manet in Haussmann's Paris," Nineteenth-Century Contexts 27:3 (September 2005) 245-268.
"Unmasking Manet's Morisot," Art Bulletin LXXXI, No. 3 (September 1999) 473-489.
This article was profiled: "Manet's Veiled Interest," ArtNews (November 1999) 44.
"Restructuring Relationships: Berthe Morisot's Edma Series," 12:1, Woman's Art Journal(Spring/Summer 1991) 24-28.
Selected Invited Keynotes/Lectures/Colloquia/Conference Papers Since 2005
["(Dis)Pleasure in Edouard Manet's Brioche and Pears," The Richard R. Brettell Lecture, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, April 23, 2020.]
“The Fruits of Manet’s Labors,” The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los, Angeles, CA, November 3, 2019.
“Antoine Vollon’s Mound of Butter and the Aesthetics of Melting,” public lecture, Department of Romance Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, April 11, 2019.
“Berthe Morisot’s Family Pictures and their Discontents,” Dallas Museum of Art, Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist symposium, March 28-30, 2019.
“Not in the Flesh: What we REALLY do when we teach with images,” “Teaching the Visual” pedagogical roundtable, Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, UC Riverside/Scripps College, November 2018.
“Picturing Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century,” Figge Art Museum, October 14, 2018.
"Melting Materiality and Antoine Vollon's Mound of Butter," Food and Decay conference, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, June 22, 2018.
"Stirring the Copper Pot: Édouard Manet's Fish (Still Life)," Art History Department, Temple University, April 3, 2018.
“Picturing Paris: Urbanism and Modernism in the Capital of the Nineteenth Century,” Wichita Art Museum, March 6, 2018.
"Misia's BIG Hair and Vuillard's Melon," Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Virginia, November 2017.
"Mapping Oranges, Pears, Figs, Quince, Apples, Tomatoes, and Grapes: Gustave Caillebotte's Fruit Displayed on a Stand," Keynote address, European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art, Musueum Aan De Stroom, Antwerp, Belgium, June 8-9, 2017.
"Materializing Veils and the Condition of Seeing in Degas's Three Women at the Races," Degas, Impressionism, and the Millinery Trade Exhibition Symposium, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 2017.
"Gustave Caillebotte's Fruit Displayed on a Stand and the Urban Grid," Food and Architecture Symposium, French Department, Vassar College, April 2017.
“Degas, Photography, and Restoration, or Staging Manet’s Ham,” College Art Association, New York, NY, February 2017.
“Considering Oysters, Butter, Peaches, and a Ham: Representing Food in Late 19th-Century French Visual Culture,” Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, October 2016.
“The Matter of Édouard Manet’s Fish (Still Life),” Art History Department, University College London, October 2016.
“Ingredients: Édouard Manet’s Fish (Still Life),” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, Brown University, October 2016.
“About Face: Skin and Veils in Claude Monet’s The Beach at Trouville,” Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, University of Kent at Paris, France, April 2016.
“Facing Camille in Claude Monet’s The Beach at Trouville,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, Princeton University, November 2015.
“Beyond the Shadow of the Veil,” Fashion, Modernity, and Materiality colloquium, Château de la Bretesche, Missillac France, July 4-8, 2015. Funded by the Borchard Foundation.
“Edouard Manet’s The Ham in Edgar Degas’s Study,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Puerto Rico, October 2014.
“Blurring Time and Space: Edgar Degas’s Portrait of Pauline de Metternich 1861,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Richmond, October 2013.
“Deprivation and Temporality in Claude Monet’s Jar of Peaches 1866,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, University of Virginia, March 2013.
“Preservation and Poverty in Claude Monet’s Jar of Peaches 1866,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, North Carolina State University, October 2012.
“On the Grid: Gustave Caillebotte’s Fruit Displayed on a Stand,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Pennsylvania, October 2011.
“Edgar Degas’ Family Gaze: Re-Reading Le Pédicure,” Art History Department, McGill University, January 2011.
“Approaching the Condition of the Photographic: Edgar Degas’ New Orleans Paintings,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, Yale University, October 2010.
“Touching Family: Edgar Degas’ Le Pédicure,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, University of Texas, Austin, March 2010.
“Friction and Contradiction in Edgar Degas’ Le Pédicure,” College Art Association, Chicago, IL, February 2010.
“Degas in New Orleans: Touching, Feeling, and Le Pédicure,” Art History Department, Tulane University, October 2009.
“The Chiropodist in the House: Edgar Degas’ Le Pédicure,” New York Academy of Medicine, June 2008 and Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, October 2008.
“The Face of Fashion in Second Empire Paris,” George Washington University Center for Global Humanities, April 2008.
“Antoine Vollon and the Perversion of Butter,” College Art Association, February 2008.
“Making Up in Manet’s Paris and the Ideal Bourgeois Visage,” Fordham University, November 2007.
“Decapitation, the Uncanny, and Antoine Vollon’s Mound of Butter,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Alabama, October 2007.
“Impressionism and Modernity: Berthe Morisot,” Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, September 2007.
“Excavation and Accretion in Charles Marville’s Paris Photographs,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, April 2007.
“Unmasking Manet’s Morisot,” French Department, North Carolina State University, December 2006.
“Regarding the Orient: The Universal Exhibition and the Gendered Gaze,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Indiana, October 2006.
“Ocular Anxiety and the Pink Tea Cup: Edgar Degas’s Woman with Bandage,” Burke Lecture, Art History Department, Indiana University, October 2006.
“Paris in Ruins,” College Art Association, Boston, MA, February 2006.
“Lipstick Traces: Matière as Maquillage in Manet’s Woman Reading,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association, University of Texas, Austin, October 2005.
“The Screen and the SurFace,” New England Modern Languages Association, Cambridge, MA, April 2005.
“Veils, Dust, and Seduction in Haussmann’s Paris,” French Department, Vassar College, February 2005.
New York Public Library Food Studies Fellowship, 2016-2017
Hall Center for the Humanities Research Fellowship, University of Kansas, research leave Fall 2016
Schlesinger Library Research Grant, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Hardvard University, 2013-2014
Countway Fellowship in the History of Medicine, Harvard and Boston Medical Libraries, 2011-2012
Hall Center for the Humanities Travel Grant, University of Kansas, 2008-2009
Audrey and William H. Helfand Fellowship in the Medical Humanities, New York Academy of Medicine, 2007-2008
James E. Seaver Lecturer, Humanities and Western Civilizations Program, University of Kansas, February 2007
Millard Meiss Book Subvention Grant, College Art Association, for book: Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet's Paris (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006)
Outstanding Educator, University of Kansas Torch Chapter of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, Fall 2005
Vice-Provost for Research Book Subvention Award, University of Kansas, for book: Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet's Paris (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006)
Wood Fellowship, Philadelphia College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2005-2006
Hall Center for the Humanities Research Grant, University of Kansas, Research Leave, Fall 2005
Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching, Chancellor's Office, University of Kansas, May 2005
Hall Center for the Humanities Travel Grant, University of Kansas, 2004-2005 Getty Library Research Grant, Getty Foundation, Summer 2003
Mentor of the Year, honorable mention, University of Kansas, Spring 2003
Luther Gregg Sullivan Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow, Wesleyan University, 1999-2000 (2-year fellowship; accepted for 1 year)
Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Wesleyan University Center for the Humanities, 1997-1998
National Endowment for the Humanities, Dissertation Fellowship, 1995-1996
Whitney Humanities Center Graduate Fellowship, Yale University, 1995-1996
Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, Whiting Foundation, 1995-1996, declined
Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies, 1995
Gender and Revolution: European Art 1789-1848
Introduction to Modern Art: 1789 to the Present
Survey of Western Art: Renaissance to the Present
19th-Century European Art
Profiling: The Portrait in Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture
The Spectacle of Fashion: Mme de Pompadour to Mme Cézanne
Women in Visual Culture in Late 19th-Century France
Art Histories: Theories and Methods
Manet in Contexts
Constructing and Deconstructing 19th-Century Paris
The Modern Portrait
Paris: Urban text and Visual Representation
Rozanne Stringer, "Hybrid Zones: Representations of Race in Late Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture," 2011.
Heather Jensen, "Portraitists à la Plume: Women Art Critics in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France," 2007.
Temma Balducci, "Destabilizing Separate Spheres in Early Third Republic French Painting," 2005.