Professor Tamar Garb FBA

Prof Tamar Garb

Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art. She graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town with a BA (Art) in 1978. In 1980 she was awarded an MA in Art Education from the Institute of Education, University of London and in 1982 she graduated with a MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. While working part time in secondary and further education, she completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute which was awarded in 1991. She was appointed as Lecturer at the Courtauld in 1988 and at UCL in 1989 and was promoted to reader in 1995 and professor in 2001. Her research interests have focused on questions of gender and sexuality, the woman artist and the body in nineteenth and early twentieth century French art and she has published extensively in this field. Key publications include Sisters of the Brush: Women’s Artistic Culture in Late Nineteenth Century Paris (Yale University Press, 1994); Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin de Siecle France, (Thames & Hudson, 1998) and The Painted Face, Portraits of Women in France 1814 -1914 (Yale University Press, 2007).  Her latest publication in this area is The Body in Time: Figures of Femininity in Late Nineteenth-Century France, (University of Washington Press, 2008). She has also published on questions of race and representation and in 1995 she collaborated with Linda Nochlin on a volume of essays entitled The Jew in the Text; Modernity and the Construction of Identity (T&H). In 2010 she acted as External Exhibition consultant on Gauguin: Maker of Myth for the Tate and as Consultant Editor on the accompanying catalogue.

In addition, Tamar has written about contemporary artists including Nancy Spero, Christian Boltanski, Massimo Vitali and Mona Hatoum. In 2007 she curated an exhibition ‘Reisemalheurs’ situating the paintings of the New York based, South African artist, Vivienne Koorland in the Freud Museum, London.

Her interests have turned recently to post apartheid culture and art as well as the history of photographic practices in Southern Africa.  In 2008 she curated an exhibition on Landscape and Language in South African Art entitled Land Marks/Home Lands; Contemporary Art from South Africa at Haunch of Venison Gallery in London. In April 2011, her exhibition Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. For coverage of the show and films made on location in South Africa, see V&A Channel. The show was nominated for a Lucie award in Curating. She is currently curating a series of exhibitions for the Walther Foundation, new York and Germany,  entitled 'Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive' and was a Leverhulme Research Fellow for 2012-2014. In 2014 Tamar was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.

Feminist politics in the context of global and international developments in theory and practice remain pressing concerns as do questions of gender and sexuality in historic and contemporary areas.  Tamar would welcome applications from new research students working on nineteenth century French art and culture,  contemporary art and photography, especially in relation to  questions of race and sexuality and nineteenth and twentieth century art in general. Students working in the fields of portraiture, the body, gender and representation are also welcome.

Phd Students, Past and Present:


Martin Myrone, (with David Solkin, Courtauld Institute) Bodybuilding: Reforming Masculinities in British Art, 1750-1810

Francesca Berry ‘Un Sanctuaire inviolable? Domesticity and the Interior in Edouard Vuillard’s Work of the 1890s’,

Mark Godfrey, (with Briony Fer) The Holocaust and Abstraction

Harriet Riches, Francesca Woodman and the Representation of Self

Amy Mechowski, Lesbian self representation in early Twentieth Century Paris

Mary Hunter , Collecting Bodies: Art, Medicine and Sexuality in late Nineteenth-Century France

Joanna Walker, Nancy Spero: An Encounter in Three Parts. Performance, Poetry and Dance

Phillipa Kaina, Between History and Modernity: negotiating subjectivity in the early work of Edgar Degas ca. 1854-1870

Gil Pasternak, Intimate Conflicts: Family Photography and State Ideology in Contemporary Israel

Cadence Kinsey (with Maria Loh), Bio Technologies and Feminist Practices

Milena Tomic, (with Briony Fer) Reenactment and Repetition in Contemporary Feminist Practice

Maud Jaquin, Narrative and the Cinematic  in Contemporary Feminist Video

Sandra Rehme, Anais Nin and Interdisciplinarity

Pandora Syparek, (with Petra Lange Berndt) Gender and the Natural History Museum in the 19th C.


Yvette Greslé, Memory and History in Contemporary South African video

Renee Mussai, Women Photographers in Africa

Allison Deutsch: Food and Painting in Nineteenth Century France

Afonso Dias Ramos, Photography in Lusophone Africa

Irina Chikhaidze, Art and the Animal, Posthumanism in art and theory.

Julia Sheikh, Feminism and European Conceptual Art: The feminine in the work of Angels Ribe, Helene Almeida and Ketty La Rocca


A list of publications is available from UCL's Institutional Research Information Service via the Iris link below.