Dr Saul Nelson

History of Art
Departmental Lecturer in History of Art


BA History of Art, Cambridge University (Starred First)
MSt Women's Studies, University of Oxford (Distinction)
Currently awaiting examination for DPhil Contemporary Art History and Theory, Ruskin Art School, University of Oxford

Undergraduate Teaching

I convene the undergraduate core courses Approaches to the History of Art and Art, Design, Architecture: Meaning and Interpretation.

Research Interests

I work on modernist painting in the aftermath of World War II. My approach is global and comparative, encompassing artistic production in Europe, the USA, and Asia. It uses this broadened context to rethink the work of artists who have formerly been seen as regressive or conservative, asking how their work might have engaged such vital political concerns as cold war nationalism or the critique of colonialism. An example of this approach, ‘Writing to Barnett Newman: F.N. Souza and the End of Modernism’, has recently appeared in Art History.


‘Abstract Nationalisms: Barnett Newman and Buried History’, American Art (Forthcoming: Spring 2022).

‘Fashioning Modernism: Rose Piper’s Painting and Fabric Design’, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (Forthcoming: Spring 2022).

‘Writing to Barnett Newman: F.N. Souza and the End of Modernism’, Art History, Volume 44, Issue 4 (September 2021), pp.742-768.

‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’, London Review of Books, Volume 40, Issue 1 (4 January 2018), p.35.

‘“I Was Not a Surrealist. I Was an Existentialist”: Louise Bourgeois Reconsidered’, Oxford Art Journal, Volume 40, Issue 3 (1 December 2017), pp.469-490.