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Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies

Photo of Professor James Kearns

Professor James Kearns

Emeritus Professor of French


French writing and the visual arts in the nineteenth century

My research in this area began with Symbolist Landscapes, a study of the relationships between French writers and painters within the Symbolist movement of 1885-1895. In addition to working on specific examples of these relationships (Mallarmé/Manet, Kahn/Seurat, Jarry/Gauguin), I  analysed the issues that developments in the visual arts were raising for the practice of art criticism. This in turn led me to study in a series of articles the discourse of art criticism in the earlier Second Empire period, with particular reference to the most important French art journalist of the mid-nineteenth century,Théophile Gautier. 

The Art Journalism of Théophile Gautier

Accompanying my most recent book, Théophile Gautier, Orator to the Artists, I am currently one of an international team of seven colleagues preparing the first critical edition of Gautier's reviews of the most important regular exhibition of contemporary art in Europe during the nineteenth century, the Paris Fine Art Salon, to be published in eight volumes from 2011.

  Painting for The Salon? The French State, Artists and Academy, 1830-1852 

From 1 January 2010 I am Principal Investigator and director on this three-year AHRC-funded research project on the history of the Paris Fine Art Salon during the July Monarchy and Second Republic. An Associate Research Fellow, PhD student and myself shall work together to produce a sustained analysis of a 20-year period in the history of the State-sponsored institution which dominated the production and reception of French painting and sculpture during the nineteenth century, and, in doing so, to develop a methodology for embedding the institutional dimension in future art historical research. In advance of this work, I have co-edited with Professor Pierre Vaisse a collection of seven essays on the history of the Salon in « Ce Salon à quoi tout se ramène » : Le Salon de peinture et de sculpture, 1791-1890.

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Postgraduate Supervision since 2001

  • Ph.D. on  ‘Jules Bastien-Lepage et la peinture anglaise', Stéphanie Kennedy, 2007-10

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2011 | 2010 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2003 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1989 | 1988 | 1985 | 1984 | 1983 | 1981 | 1980 |


  • Kearns J. (2011) Coping with Revolution? The French Fine Art Academy during the Second Republic, Intellectual Communities and Partnerships in Italy and Europe: Studies in Honour of Mark Davie, Peter Lang, 55-77.


  • Kearns J. (2010) « Ce Salon à quoi tout se ramène »: Le Salon de peinture et de sculpture, 1791-1890, Peter Lang.



  • Kearns J. (2006) Editing FSB: Swift Profit and Pleasure and the Occasional Panic, French Studies Bulletin, no. 100, pages 51-54.


  • Kearns J. (2005) Gautier et la peinture allemande à l'Exposition Universelle de 1855, Gautier et l'Allemagne, Universitätsverlag, 217-239.



  • Kearns J. (1999) Révolution impressionniste et écriture mallarméenne, 48/14 La Revue du Musée d'Orsay, volume 9, pages 62-67.


  • Kearns J. (1998) On his Knees to the Past? Gautier, Ingres and Forms of Modern Art, Impressions of French Modernity: Art and Literature in France 1850-1900, Manchester University Press, 58-75.
  • Kearns J. (1998) Tout mon esprit quoique étranger: Mallarmé's 'English' Sonnets, Revue de littérature comparée, volume 72, no. 2, pages 149-162.


  • Kearns J. (1997) Painting and the 'Journal' of Eugene Delacroix, MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW, volume 92, pages 974-975, DOI:10.2307/3734252. [PDF]
  • Kearns J. (1997) Théophile Gautier: Exposition de 1859, ed. by Wolfgang Drost and Ulrike Henninges, Modern Language Review, volume 92, no. 4, pages 975-976.
  • Kearns J. (1997) A Guide to French Literature: From Early Modern to Postmodern, Macmillan.


  • Kearns J. (1996) Quelle histoire? Gautier devant l'œuvre de Gérôme au Salon de 1859, Le Champ littéraire 1860-1900: Études offertes à Michael Pakenham, Rodopi, 71-80.


  • Kearns J. (1995) 72 entries on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers and painters, The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French, Clarendon Press.
  • Kearns J. (1995) Recherches poétiques et modernisme pictural chez Mallarmé pendant les années 1890, The Turn of the Century/Le tournant du siècle: Modernism and Modernity and the Arts/Le modernisme et la modernité dans la littérature et les arts, Walter de Gruyter, 442-449.


  • Kearns J. (1994) 'The Writing on the Wall: Descriptions of Painting in the Art Criticism of the French Symbolists', Artistic Relations: Literature and the Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century France, Yale University Press, 239-252.
  • Kearns J. (1994) The Official Line? Academic Painting in Gautier's Salon of 1859, Journal of European Studies, volume 24, no. 3, pages 283-298.
  • Kearns J. (1994) Mallarmé and Morisot in 1896, Australian Journal of French Studies, volume 30, no. 1, pages 71-82.


  • Kearns J. (1993) Bonnard/Matisse Correspondance 1925-1946, ed. by Jean Clair et Antoine Terrasse, French Studies, volume 47, no. 2, pages 236-236.
  • Kearns J. (1993) No Object too Humble? Still Life Painting in French Art Criticism during the Second Empire, French Literature, Thought and Culture in the Nineteenth Century: A Material World. Essays in Honour of D.G. Charlton, Macmillan, 148-168.


  • Kearns J. (1992) Le Salon de 1861 de Banville, Bulletin d'Études parnassiennes et symbolistes, volume 9-10, pages 251-268.
  • Kearns J. (1992) Félix Fénéon: lettres à Francis Vielé Griffin (1890-1913) et documents annexes, French Studies, volume 46, no. 4, pages 473-473.


  • Kearns J. (1989) L'Impressionnisme [self-study tape and accompanying script].
  • Kearns J. (1989) A Titian Legacy for Mallarmé's Faun?, French Studies Bulletin, volume 31, pages 1-4.
  • Kearns J. (1989) Symbolist Landscapes: The Place of Painting in the Poetry and Criticism of Mallarmé and his Critics, Modern Humanities Research Association.


  • Kearns J. (1988) Marcia Pointon, The Bonington Circle: English Watercolour and Anglo-French Landscape, Modern Language Review, volume 83, no. 3, pages 731-732.


  • Kearns J. (1985) Stéphane Mallarmé: Œuvres complètes. I. Poésies, ed. by Carl Paul Barbier and Charles Gordon Millan, Modern Language Review, volume 80, no. 3, pages 719-723.


  • Kearns J. (1984) Les français des Français: Dossier 4: l'informatique [Booklet and tapes of language teaching materials].


  • Kearns J. (1983) La Correspondance de Paul Adam: de l'époque symboliste au monde proustien, ed. by J.A.Duncan, Modern Language Review, volume 78, no. 3, pages 717-718.


  • Kearns J. (1981) Gérard Genette: A Different Genre, The Literary Review, no. 33, pages 21-23.


  • Kearns J. (1980) An Interview with Jacques Derrida, The Literary Review, no. 14, pages 21-22.

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More information

Conference Papers Given (since 2001)

  • 2004 to present: papers given to annual workshop on edition of Gautier's Salons, Paris, Centre allemand de l'histoire de l'art
  • ‘Line and Colour in French Painting during the Second Republic'
    July 2004 at the University of Cambridge, Society for French Studies Annual Conference

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