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Karen Serres


Former affiliations
  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Karen Serres received her training in art history and museum studies at the Ecole du Louvre (1993-1997) and the Université Paris IV-Sorbonne (1997-1998). She completed her MA (1999) and PhD (2004) at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where her research focused on French and Italian Baroque painting.

She was then appointed Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, working on both painting and sculpture. This led to her appointment as Robert H. Smith Research Curator in the Sculpture Department of that institution. In 2009, she was named the Nina and Lee Griggs Associate Curator of European Art at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. She returned to the Courtauld as Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings in September 2012.

Karen’s current projects involve the preparation of the Gallery’s Summer Showcase, on unfinished and seemingly unfinished works of art in the collection, as well as a display of the grisailles of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 2016. The Gallery’s permanent collection of paintings before 1900 is the object of an ongoing, long-term research project, with the aim of producing a scholarly catalogue online.

Karen is also preparing an article on the Italian frames commissioned by the art dealer Joseph Duveen, as well as contributing to the catalogue of the Robert H. Smith collection of Renaissance bronzes.

Research interests

  • French and Italian Baroque painting
  • Renaissance bronzes
  • History of taste and of collecting
  • Frames
  • Relationship between art history and conservation research

Fellowships, Awards and Honours

  • French Academy in Rome-Villa Medici Fellowship
  • British Federation of Women Graduates Scholarship
  • Ecole Française de Rome Fellowship
  • University of London, Central Research Fund Travel Grant
  • Courtauld Institute of Art, Courtauld Studentship
  • British Academy, Arts and Humanities Research Board Scholarship
  • British Council in Paris, Entente Cordiale Scholarship
  • Courtauld Institute of Art, Lucas Travel Grant

Professional Affiliations

  • College Art Association
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Italian Art Society (member of the grant and travel committees)
  • Association des historiens de l’art italien

Education/Academic qualification

'Models and Motifs. Caravaggesque Iconography in Seicento Rome', The Courtauld Institute of Art


'The Significance of the Theme of the Rape of the Sabine Women in the 17th century ', The Courtauld Institute of Art


'The Group Portraits of the Parisian Aldermen in the 17th Century', Université Paris IV-Sorbonne


'The Didactic Presentation of Sculpture in French Museums from 1945 to 1980', Ecole du Louvre


External positions

Yale University Art Gallery


National Gallery of Art, Washington


National Gallery of Art, Washington


Agence Pont des Arts, Paris



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