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Research at St Andrews

Sam Rose


Sam Rose
Postal address:
School of Art History
79 North Street
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 46

Research overview

I am a historian of modern art and modernism, particularly in Britain, with related research interests in aesthetics and the history of art writing. I joined St Andrews in 2016, having previously been a Junior Research Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge (2013-16).

My first book, Art and Form: From Roger Fry to Global Modernism (Penn State, 2019), offers an account of form and formalism based on connections with life, thought, and history, using this to explore the role of formalism in the visual arts and the relationship between form and modernist culture. The writing of Roger Fry is a central theme, but over the course of five chapters the book moves through a range of issues such as art critical description and objectivity, constructions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, design theory’s struggles with mass culture, socially engaged art writing, and the idea of ‘global modernism’.

I am currently working on two projects related to Art and Form: a longer-term examination of art and belatedness in early twentieth-century Britain and America; and a short book on the history of art criticism. Recent essays connected with these various projects have covered areas such as close looking (‘Close Looking and Conviction’Art History, 2017), meanings of aesthetics and the aesthetic (‘The Fear of Aesthetics in Art and Literary Theory’New Literary History, 2017), the historicist claims of formalism (‘The Significance of Form’Nonsite, 2017), ideas of world and global post-impressionism, and Walter Sickert and Roger Fry (‘“With an Almost Pathetic Fatality Doing What is Right”: Late Sickert and his Critics’Art History, 2014).

At St Andrews I teach courses on approaches to the history and theory of art, on modern art in Britain, and on global modernism (in practice this last is a kind of critical survey course of supposedly non-canonical modernisms around the world). Beyond St Andrews I am an editorial board member of Art History and a former member of the Executive Steering Committee of the British Association for Modernist Studies (2016-19).

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