Associate Professor of Art; Priscilla Paine Van der Poel Chair
Contact & Office Hours
Hillyer Hall 314
Ph.D., University of Southern California, Los Angeles
M.A., McGill University
B.A., Concordia University
Laura Kalba's teaching and research focus primarily on modern European art, architecture and popular commercial culture.
Her first book, Color in the Age of Impressionism: Commerce, Technology, and Art, received the 2018 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award of the College Art Association and the 2016–17 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies. Published by the Pennsylvania State University Press, it examines the impact of new color technologies on French visual and material culture, from the early commercialization of synthetic dyes to the Lumière brothers' perfection of the autochrome color photography process. Some of her research on this topic has appeared in Representations, Modernism/Modernity, History and Technology, as well as the exhibition catalog Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints (2012).
In 2012, she worked as a curatorial consultant for the Smith College Museum of Art's exhibition Debussy's Paris: Art, Music, and Sounds of the City. And, in 2014, she helped organize an AALAC-funded two-day symposium on the theme Visual Studies in the Liberal Arts.
Tentatively titled Currencies: Symbolism and Signification in the Golden Age of Finance Capital, her second book seeks to illuminate the intersection between economic and artistic modes of representation, examining, more specifically, the ways visual and material culture mirrored and mediated the controversial new understandings of value and money brought forth by the explosion of the financial industry in the second half of the 19th century. Thanks to funding for this project provided by the American Council of Learned Societies (Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars), Kalba will be a visiting associate researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine for the 2018–19 academic year.