Profile: Nancy Locke

Associate Professor of Art History

Dr. Locke teaches courses in European art, ca. 1780–1940, and the history of photography from its inception to the present. She is the author of Manet and the Family Romance (Princeton University Press, 2001), as well as articles in such journals as Art Bulletin, Burlington Magazine, and Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide; furthermore, she has published chapters in edited volumes on such topics as fascism and art in France and Italy, and the representation of childhood in the nineteenth century. Recent essays on Manet, “The Social Character of Manet’s Art,” in the exhibition catalogue Manet, l’inventeur du moderne (Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 2011), and “Manet and the Ethics of Realism,” in Perspectives on Manet (ed. Therese Dolan, Ashgate, 2012), propose that Manet was above all an artist concerned with giving form to the social questions and ethical dilemmas of modern life.

Dr. Locke is currently researching the relationship between Manet’s art and nineteenth-century photography. Another article explores the context surrounding Paul Cézanne’s early wall painting, Mary Magdalen. Dr. Locke has given invited lectures at museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her current project is her book-in-progress, Cézanne’s Shadows, which considers Cézanne’s engagement with the art of the past. In addition to considerations of artistic influence and the art history of the nineteenth century, Cézanne’s Shadows leads Dr. Locke in the direction of closer formal analysis of painting. Before she joined the faculty at Penn State in 2003, she taught for eleven years at Wayne State University in Detroit. The recipient of several grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Dedalus Foundation, Dr. Locke has also juried grant proposals for several major granting agencies in the United States and Canada.

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How Photography Evolved from Science to Art

Much like a painting, a photograph has the ability to move, engage and inspire viewers. It could be a black-and-white Ansel Adams landscape of a snow-capped mountain reflected in a lake, with a sharpness and tonal range that bring out the natural beauty of its subject. Or it could be Edward Weston’s close-up photograph of a bell pepper, an image possessing a sensuous abstraction that both surprises and intrigues. Or a Robert Doisneau photograph of a man and woman kissing near the Paris city hall in 1950, a picture that has come to symbolize romance, postwar Paris and spontaneous displays of affection.

Category: Arts

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