Queen's University

Dr. Allison Morehead

Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Art Conservation
LinkedIn profile for Dr. Allison Morehead

Graduate Coordinator


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Queen's University. I specialize in modern art, with particular interests in the French, German, and Scandinavian art of the late nineteenth century, as well as the intersections of art, science, and medicine, and the exhibition history and reception of the art of psychiatric patients and mediums. In my research and  teaching I often combine critical gender theory with approaches drawn from visual and material culture studies. I have been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including those from the Whiting, Kress, Rhoades, and Brocher Foundations, the Social Science Research Council, and a Junior Research Fellowship from King’s College, Cambridge. My book, Nature’s Experiments and the Search for Symbolist Form, published by Penn State University Press in 2017 and funded by a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, considers symbolist painting and printmaking in light of late nineteenth-century practices and discourses of psychological experimentalism. Current projects include the exhibition Edvard Munch and Medicine, which will show the work of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch alongside objects drawn from the history of medicine, a co-edited volume entitled Modernisms and Medicines, and a monograph, funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, entitled Gambling and the Modern Imaginary. 

Research Areas:

Modern art and modernism; Art, science, and medicine; History of collecting, museums, and exhibitions; Critical gender theory; Visual and material culture studies

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Photos taken at the Museum of Health Care

Photo Credit: Sarah Bodri

Most Recent Project

Defending Deformation: Maurice Denis's Positivist Modernism

A critical analysis of the exhibition of Décor centred on whether deformation of the human body, and especially the female nude, could ever constitute the basis for a viable symbolist art practice. Allison Morehead explores Denis's first modernist solution to this problem, which places deformation at the very centre of his understanding if not his execution of symbolist visual form, but only after revaluing pathology and thus diminishing its pejorative connotations. 

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Other Projects

  • Nature's Experiments and the Search for Symbolist Form

    In Nature’s Experiments, I show how the study of pathologies led to an understanding of scientific truths, above all about the human mind and body—extended from the scientific realm into the world of art, underpinned artists’ solutions to the problem of symbolist form, and provided a ready-made methodology for fin-de-siècle truth seekers.

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