UC Berkeley History of Art Department

People / Faculty


  • Margaretta Lovell


    American Art and Architecture

    Ph.D., Yale University, 1980
    M. Phil., Yale University, 1977
    M.A., University of Delaware, 1975
    B.A., Smith College, 1966

  • Bio

    Margaretta M. Lovell is a cultural historian working at the intersection of history, art history, anthropology, and museology. She holds the Jay D. McEvoy Chair in the History of American Art at U.C. Berkeley, and studies material culture, painting, architecture, and design of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. She received her PhD in American Studies at Yale in 1980, and has taught as Visiting Professor in the History of Art departments at Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Having begun her teaching career at Yale, she has also held the Dittman Chair in American Studies at the College of William and Mary, and the Ednah Root Curatorial Chair for American Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

    Awards include fellowships, residencies, and research grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Antiquarian Society, the Huntington Library, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Terra Foundation, the University of California (Chancellor’s and President’s Fellowships), and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America was awarded the Eldredge Prize by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the pre-1800 book prize from the College Art Association’s Organization of Historians of British Art. Her earlier A Visitable Past: Views of Venice by American Artists 1860-1915 received the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize of the American Studies Association.  She has served as Director of the American Studies Program and as Chair of U.C. Berkeley Academic Senate Committees on Educational Policy and on the Library. As Curator and Project Manager she has arranged major international exhibitions on American and British art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Huntington Library, and the National Museum of Western Art Tokyo. 
Her teaching has been recognized by the College Art Association (The Distinguished Teaching Award, 2014), and by the University of California, Berkeley (The Sarlo Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award, 2009). Most recently she has designed, authored, and administered (with Pat Berger) substantial grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an initiative in Graduate Study in Curatorial Preparedness and Object-Based Learning at UC Berkeley.

    Courses and Seminars she offers include
    Art, Architecture and Design in the United States 1800-present
    Art, Architecture, and Design in the New World, 1500-1800
    American Architecture: Domestic Forms 1650-present
    American Architecture: the U. C. Berkeley Campus
    Maybeck, Morgan, and Greene & Greene: California Architecture 1890-1920
    Tudor and Neo-Tudor Architecture and Design (with Elizabeth Honig)
    European, English, and American Decorative Arts Designed by Architects
    Redesigning the World: William Morris and C. R. Mackintosh
    The Idea of the Villa
    Landscape Painting and Photography in America
    Landscape Painting in Nineteenth-Century England, France, and America
    Sargent, Whistler, and Cassatt
    Homer and Eakins
    Folk Art in America (an American Cultures Course)
    The American Forest, Its History, Ecology, and Representation (with Joe McBride)
    Food in American Culture (with Kathleen Moran)
    The Collection, The Collector, and the Novel
    Art in the World, Art in the Workplace—Exploring Professional Directions
    Material Culture: The Interpretation of Objects (with Pat Berger)
    Mellon Graduate Seminar in Object Analysis (with Pat Berger)
    Mellon Exhibition Graduate Seminar: Berkeley Collects! (with Pat Berger)

    Current research interests include eighteenth-century American painting and decorative arts with an emphasis on artists, artisans, their markets, and their patrons; nineteenth-century American painting (especially landscape painting) and aesthetic theory; the ideology of c. 1900 design and architecture in England, Europe, and America; pre-contact Native American design and architecture; and vernacular aesthetic theory in late twentieth and early twenty-first century American photography, painting, and design. She is working on a book on Fitz Henry Lane, and an essay on the landscape paintings of Wayne Thiebaud. She has two daughters, one a physician and the other a field biologist.


  • Books

  • Select publications

    “The Forest, The Copper Mine, and the Sea: The Alchemical and Social Materiality of Greene and Greene,” in Anne Mallek and Edward R. Bosley, eds., A ‘New and Native’ Beauty: The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene, exh. cat., Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, CA, 2008.

    Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005, paperback 2007)

    "Food Photography and Inverted Narratives of Desire," in Exposure, v. 34: 1/2, summer, 2001, pp. 19 - 24.

    A Visitable Past: Views of Venice by American Artists 1860-1915 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).

    American Painting 1730-1960: A Selection from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 1982), exhibition catalogue. Revised English language version, 1986

    Venice: The American View, 1860-1920 (San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and Washington University Press, 1984)

    William Morris: The Sanford and Helen Berger Collection (Berkeley: Univ. Art Museum and Bancroft Library, 1984) (with Anthony Bliss)