Karen Georgi is a Modernist who specializes in 19th century American painting, and theory and criticism. In her writing and in her courses, she often looks at issues of historiography, or how historians and critics have written about art and its past. What questions have we asked, what ideas and definitions have emerged, what patterns of thought can we identify? She teaches courses in Renaissance art, 19th and 20th century art, and the art of the U.S.
Georgi’s book, Critical Shift: Rereading Jarves, Cook, Stillman, and the Narratives of 19th Century American Art (Penn State University Press, 2013), studies mid-nineteenth century American art criticism, three of its principal representatives—James Jackson Jarves , Clarence Cook, and William Stillman—and the ideas modern scholars have attached to their words.
Additional selected publications and lectures include:
"Summer Camp with William J. Stillman: Looking at Nature, between Ruskin and Emerson," American Art Vol. 32 No. 3 (Autumn, 2018): 22-41. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/701614
"The Connoisseur in 19th Century America: A historical view of his timeless certainties," paper read at "Knowing Gaze" session, 2013 Annual Conference, Association of Art Historians, UK
Guest Seminars, Università degli Studi di Roma, Roma Tre, recent topics include:
"The spectacle of the West: Images of the frontier in American painting, photographs, and popular illustration."
"Emerson, transcendence, and the material world in American landscape painting"
"Reading nature in American landscape painting"
"Looking for origins, making art American: The search for identity in American art an art history in the 18th and 19th centuries"
"James Jackson Jarves's Art Criticism: Aesthetic Classification and Historiographic Consequences," Journal of American Studies 42 no. 2 (August, 2008): 215-235.
"Defining landscape painting in nineteenth-century American critical discourse; Or, Should art 'deal in wares the age has need of'?" Oxford Art Journal 29/2 (2006): 227-245.
"Making Nature Culture's Other: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Painting and Critical Discourse," Word & Image 19 (July-September, 2003): 198-213.