Debora L. Silverman



Debora L. Silverman is Professor of History and Art History at UCLA where she has taught since 1981. She received her BA and Ph.D from Princeton University. Professor Silverman is interested in the relationship between art, politics, and social change in 19th century Europe, with particular emphasis on the emergence of modernist arts and the varied contexts that shaped their meaning and making in the 1880s. Some of her courses include "Methods and Approaches to Cultural History and Visual Culture;" "Symbolism, Subjectivity and Society in 1880s European Cities;" and "Urban Change and Artistic Innovation in 19th Century London, Paris,and Amsterdam." Professor Silverman is the author of Selling Culture: Bloomingdale's, Diana Vreeland, and the New Aristocracy of Taste in Reagan's America, a study of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute under Diana Vreeland (Pantheon, 1986); and Art Nouveau in Fin-de-Siecle France: Politics, Psychology and Style, a study of the relationship between the decorative arts, republican politics, and the new science of neurology in 1890s France (University of California,1989). She is also author of Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art (Farrar, Straus,and Giroux), an intensive comparative study of the technique and subject matter chosen by the two artists before, during and after their vexed collaboration, highlighting their divergent religious legacies, attitudes to nature, the body, and the physicality of the canvas surface. This book was awarded the 2001 PEN America/Architectural Digest Prize for outstanding writing on the visual arts.