New Chair of the Association for Art History

We are delighted to announce that Frances Fowle is the new Chair of the Association for Art History.

Frances holds dual positions as Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and as Senior Curator of French Art at the National Galleries of Scotland. Within her specialism of European and American nineteenth-century art, Frances’ work focuses on collecting, the art market, national identity, cultural revival and artistic networks.

Trustee of the Association for Art History, Jo Banham, who led the search committee for the new Chair said, “We are delighted that Frances Fowle will take over as Board Chair of the Association after the very successful tenure of Christine Riding. The post attracted strong candidates; Frances’ deep experience in academia and in museums and galleries, as well as her volunteer leadership made her stand out as the right choice to lead the board and fulfil the Association’s mission to enhance the study and practice of art history in the UK.”

Frances began her career working for Sotheby’s auctioneers and, briefly, as an arts journalist. She gained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1994 and has taught at the universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and at Edinburgh College of Art. She worked in the curatorial department at Tate Britain before joining the National Galleries of Scotland in 2001 and the University of Edinburgh in 2005. From 2015-18 Frances was International Director of Edinburgh College of Art. She is currently Chair of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and sits on the Burrell Renaissance Board. She is also a founding Board member of the International Art Market Studies Association (TIAMSA), a group leader for Art UK and is a past Chair of the Scottish Society for Art History.

On her appointment to the Chair’s post, Frances Fowle said, “As someone who has divided her career between teaching, research and curating I am honoured to take up the role of Chair of the Association for Art History. We live in a world dominated by images, and art history is more important today than ever before. As a discipline it teaches us about the world, challenges our assumptions, obliges us to adopt a critical standpoint and, ultimately, makes us more rounded human beings. This is an exciting moment to join the Association and I look forward to seeing current projects come to fruition as well as contributing to the evolving strategy of the organisation.”

The author of several books, including Impressionism and Scotland (2008) and Van Gogh’s Twin (2010), Frances is currently editing an anthology of global impressionism, to be published next year on Yale University Press’s new electronic portal. She has curated numerous international exhibitions on nineteenth-century art in collaboration with organisations such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Finnish National Gallery, the British Museum and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Frances also has a long history with the Association, going back to organising the 2000 Annual Conference bookfair and sitting on the editorial board of the former ‘Art Book’ from 2002-2004. More recently, she has participated in our 2019 Annual Conference and last December she spoke at our annual Careers Day in Glasgow.

As Chair of the Association for Art History Frances will lead a board of fourteen Trustees and be an ambassador for the Association’s commitment to promoting a broad and inclusive art history throughout the UK.