• Sidlauskas, Susan
  • Department: Department of Art History
  • Position: Distinguished Professor
  • Research Interests: 19th Century
  • Phone: (848) 932-1227
  • Office Hours: Via Zoom or by appointment, Thursdays 2:00-4:00pm. Please e-mail to schedule a meeting time.
  • Office Location: 60 College Avenue

Biographical Information

My primary research interests are concentrated upon the long nineteenth-century, a period when so many of the ideas and art forms that have shaped our culture emerged: Darwin’s theory of evolution, the study of psychology, film, photography, new models of time, as well as a host of radical new forms of visual art and literature.   Both my teaching and research are dedicated to finding a way to demonstrate how those seismic cultural, social, and psychological changes are embedded in the visual structures of the most innovative historical objects we study. Many of my projects have revolved around identifying the traces of how artists collectively imagined the relation of the ever-changing 19th century “self” to its private and public worlds.  I am affiliated with the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and a co-founder of a working group on the medical humanities, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson School of Biological Sciences, that is now based at Rutgers’ Center for Cultural Analysis.  I came to Rutgers in 2005, after teaching at the University of Pennsylvania for twelve years.


Undergraduate Classes Taught:

Rethinking the Portrait: seminar. A consideration of an historical form that has enjoyed a resurgence in contemporary art, considering American and European images from 1800 to the present.

The Art of the Body: The Visual Culture of Medicine (with Tanya Sheehan): An interdisciplinary course about the intersection of science and visual culture, intended to appeal to undergraduates from the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and fine arts.

Realism: undergraduate lecture. The course begins with the art of the French Revolution and concludes with the archetypal “realist”, Gustave Courbet. Works of art are located in larger historical and theoretical contexts.

Impressionism: The emphasis is on the emergence of leisure to 19th century painting, as well as the political and architectural changes in Paris that made it such a key subject in early modernity.

Graduate Classes Taught:

The Body in 19th Century Art: The representation of the body is historicized and located in a wider cultural, social, and economic context.

Portraiture: Theory and Practice: An examination of historical and contemporary theories about portraiture, in relation to the work of modern artists in a variety of media.

Methods in the History of Art: Introduction to key historical and theoretical texts.


Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture, ed. with Donna Gustafson, exh. cat. Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University and Prestel, London and New York, 2014

Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense, University of California Press, 2009
Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Cambridge University Press, 2000

Ongoing Book Projects:
Skins: The Metamorphoses of John Singer Sargent. A book on the late portraits.

Select Publications:

“Inside Out: Cézanne’s Perforated Wall,” forthcoming in Ewa Lajer-Burcharth and Beata Sontgen, eds. Interiors and Interiority, part of a project on Cézanne’s ‘Domestic Uncanny.’

 “The Spectacle of the Face: Manet’s Portrait of Victorine Meurent,” in Therese Dolan, ed. New Perspectives on Manet, Ashgate Press, London, 2012, the first in a series of essays about Manet and contemporary art.

 “The Not-Beautiful: A Counter-Theme in the History of Women’s Portraiture,” from Picturing Women¸ a collection of essays edited by Susan Shifrin.
Article Text (PDF)
Notes (PDF)

"Emotion, Color, Cézanne (The Portraits of Hortense)" Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide (Autumn 2004): http://19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn_04/articles/sidl.html

"Breaking the Mold," Zimmerli Art Museum, Exhibition (Oct. 23, 2005 - March 12, 2006): http://www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu/exhibitions/breakingmold.html

Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas, "The Milliners," The Getty Museum, New Acquisition: http://www.getty.edu/art/acquisitions/milliners.html

Rutgers University, Department of Women's Studies

Longer List of Publications



  • Short Bio: Susan Sidlauskas teaches the history and theory of modern art, and while she offers both undergraduate and graduate field courses, most of her teaching tends to be thematic (“Art and Medicine” for undergraduates; “Race and Representation” seminars for both undergraduates and graduate students.) She is currently co-directing (with Professor Ann Jurecic of the Rutgers English Department) a seminar at Rutgers’ Center for Cultural Analysis on the Medical Humanities. She is the author of a study of interiority: Body, Place and Self in 19th Century Art (2000), and Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense, winner of the Dedalus book prize in 2010. She is currently at work on two book projects: John Singer Sargent and the Physics of Touch and The Medical Portrait in Photography and Film. She hopes to finish essays on Manet’s portraits and Cézanne’s “domestic uncanny” in the near future. She was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow.