Patricia Leighten

Patricia Leighten

Professor Emerita of Art, Art History and Visual Studies


  • Ph.D., Rutgers University 1983

  • M.A., Rutgers University 1975

  • B.A., University of Massachusets at Boston 1973


Patricia Leighten received her PhD from Rutgers University. She is author of The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris (University of Chicago Press 2013) and Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914 (Princeton University Press 1989) as well as coauthor of A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914 (University of Chicago Press 2008) [Le cubisme devant ses contemporains–Documents et critiques (1906-1914), Paris: Les Presses du réel, forthcoming 2018] and Cubism and Culture (Thames & Hudson 2001 [Cubisme et culture 2002]). Her field of research is late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century art and politics, including the history of photography. In her research, she is interested in the relationship between visual culture and the politics of both representation and interpretation. She is currently researching photography and anarchist ideology in the 20th century, and continuing to present her scholarship at conferences and in publications.


Modernism and politics in early 20th century Europe, photographic history and theory


Picasso and the Allure of Language
Throughout his life, Pablo Picasso had close friendships with writers and an abiding interest in the written word. This groundbreaking book, which draws on the collections of... read more »
The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris
The years before World War I were a time of social and political ferment in Europe, which profoundly affected the art world. A major center of this creative tumult was Paris... read more »

Antliff, M, and Leighten, P. Le cubisme devant ses contemporains – Documents et critiques (1906-1914). Paris: Les presses du réel, 2017. (Edited Book)

Leighten, P. The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Antliff, M, and Leighten P, . A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914. University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Leighten, P, Antliff, and M, . Cubisme et culture. Trans. C-M Diebold. Paris: Thames and Hudson, 2002. (Monograph)

Antliff, M, and Leighten, P. Cubism and Culture. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 2001. (Monograph)

Leighten, P. Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914. Princeton University Press, 1989.

Leighten, P. "A Politics of Technique: Fauvism and Anarchist Individualism." Anarchist Avant-Garde. Ed. Kosuch, C. Leiden.: Brill. 2019. (Essay)

Leighten, P. "America, with Burk Uzzle." All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle. Chapel Hill, NC: Ackland Museum of Art, University of North Carolina, 2016. (Essay)

Leighten, P. "Embattled Cubism: Picasso, Rivera and World War I." Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2016. (Essay)

Leighten, P. "Café Scene; Salomé; Head of a Woman; Vase, Gourd and Fruit; Scallop Shells on a Piano; Still Life with Calling Card; and Ace of Clubs." Picasso and the Allure of Language. Ed. SG Fisher. Yale University Press, 2009.

Leighten, P. "Réveil anarchiste: Salon Painting, Political Satire, Modernist Art." Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority. Ed. E Ruin, J MacPhee, and AK Press. 2007.

Antliff, M, and Leighten P, . "Primitive." Critical Terms for Art History. Ed. R Nelson, R Shiff, and UOC Press. 2003.

Leighten, P. "Colonialism, l’art nègre, and les Demoiselles d’Avignon." Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Ed. C Green and Cambridge University Press. 2001. (Chapter)

Leighten, P. "Gary Kuehn: Metaphor and Metamorphosis." Gary Kuehn. 1988. 4-21.

Leighten, P. "Anarchist satire in pre-world War i Paris: The case of František Kupka." Sub-Stance 46.2 (January 1, 2017): 50-70. Full Text

Leighten, P. "The world turned upside down: Modernism and anarchist strategies of inversion in L'assiette au beurre." Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 4.2 (January 1, 2013): 133-170. Full Text

Leighten, P. "Modernist Abstraction, Anarchist Antimilitarism, and War." Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies (January 2012).

Leighten P, . "Passionate Discontent: Creativity, Gender, and French Symbolist Art by Patricia Mathews." Modernism/modernity 8 (April 2001): 369-371. (Review)

Leighten, P. "Kees van Dongen: Art, Anarchism, & Audience." Ideas IV/2 (1996): 46-52.

Leighten, P. "Reveil Anarchiste: Salon Painting, Political Satire, Modernist Art." Modernism/modernity II (April 1995): 17-47.

Leighten, P. "Cubist Anachronisms: Ahistoricity, Cryptoformalism, And Business-As-Usual in New York." Oxford Art Journal XVII (October 1994): 91-102.

Leighten, P. "Editor's Statement: Revising Cubism." Art Journal 47.4 (December 1988): 269-276. Full Text



Light Sensitive: Photographic Works from North Carolina Collections. Curator. Light Sensitive (2013)


Co-organized by guest curator Patricia Leighten, Professor of Art History & Visual Studies at Duke, and Sarah Schroth, Nasher Museum's Interim Director and Nancy Hanks Senior Curator, Light Sensitive included over 100 works drawn from leading North Carolina collections.

Spring 2015

Dada and Surrealism (ARTHIST 288.01)
East Duke 204B, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Special Topics (ARTHIST 590S.08)
East Duke 204A, W 01:25 PM-03:55 PM

Fall 2014

Hist Photo 1839-Present (ARTHIST 303.01)
East Duke 204B, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Topics in Art History (ARTHIST 790.01)
East Duke 204A, Th 01:25 PM-03:55 PM
Hist Photo 1839-Present (VMS 303.01)
East Duke 204B, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2014

European Art 1900-1945 (ARTHIST 280.01)
East Duke 108, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Cubism and Culture (ARTHIST 304.01)
East Duke 108, TuTh 04:40 PM-05:55 PM