BA Fine Arts and Honours in History of Art (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), MA (University of Manchester), PhD (University of Essex)

Contact details:

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Somerset House


London WC2R 0RN

Shulamith Behr completed her studies in Art History and Theory at the University of Essex. In 1990, she was appointed Bosch Lecturer in German Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art and, in 2000, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century German Art.  The title of Honorary Research Fellow was conferred on her in 2012. She is a specialist in the study of German Expressionism and has published widely in the field: as an editor, jointly with David Fanning and Douglas Jarman, of Expressionism Reassessed (Manchester University Press, 1993), as the curator - and author of the accompanying catalogues - of exhibitions on Conrad Felixmüller at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery (Leicester) and at The Courtauld Gallery in 1994, and as the author of Expressionism for Tate Gallery Publishing in 1999. She has published widely on the contribution of women artists to German and Swedish modernism, starting with her Women Expressionists (Phaidon, Oxford, 1988) to essays for catalogues of the Gabriele Münter (1992-93) and Sigrid Hjérten (1999) retrospectives held in Germany and Stockholm. Relating to these interests, she was the curator and contributor to the catalogue of the exhibition Gabriele Münter: The Search for Expression 1906-1917,held at The Courtauld Gallery (23 June – 11 September 2005), and is completing an in-depth study of Women in Expressionist Culture: Artists, Patrons and Dealers (Princeton University Press). Dr Behr’s research on art and exile is published in the volume Arts in Exile in Britain 1933-1945: Politics and Cultural Identity, which she co-edited with Marian Malet. As a Leverhulme and CRASSH Research Fellow during the academic year 2007/2008, her project focused on the exile period of Ludwig Meidner, a leading exponent of German literary and artistic Expressionism. At present she is collaborating with the Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main on an exhibition of Meidner’s works in England ca.1939-1953. 

Research Interests

  • German, Austrian and Scandinavian twentieth-century visual culture
  • Cultural identity, politics and gender
  • Art and exile in Britain 1933-1945



PhD titles supervised to completion include:

  • Import and Reception of Western Art in Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s (co-supervised with John Milner)
  • Yehuda Bacon, Disseminating Memory: Lines across an Abyss
  • Negative Dialectics: The Late Art of East and West German Photography, 1968-1999
    (co-supervised with Julian Stallabrass)
  • The Right to Indifference: Abstraction in the work of Gego (1912-1994) and Jesús Soto (1923-2005)
  • Rescuing Wagner: the Cultural Politics of Set-Design in Germany 1924 -1938
  • Resurrecting Apollo: Figurative Sculpture by Gerhard Marcks in the Federal Republic and its reception in the context of German Philhellenism 1925-1970
  • Art and National Reconstruction in Germany 1945-1955
  • Women under Socialism: Both Sides of the Camera - Women Photographers and the Construction of Female Identity in the Photographic Representation of the GDR c.1949-1961
  • The Making of Fred Uhlman: Life and Work of the Painter and Writer in Exile
  • The Neue Secession in Berlin 1910-1914. An Artist’s Association in the Rise of Expressionism
  • Der Neue Salon: The Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung in Munich 1937-1944
  • Moral Cathedrals: War Damage and Franco-German Cultural Propaganda on the Western Front 1870-1938


PhD theses currently supervised:

  • Alexander Archipenko and cultural exchange between the wars: from European avant-gardes to avant-gardism in the USA
  • The ‘Patient’ City: The Practices of Photographer Gabriele Basilico (co-supervised with Julian Stallabrass)
  • Weimar in Black and White: a Study of the Woodcut in Germany, 1918-1933
  • Russian Women Artists and the First World War (co-supervised with John Milner)
  • Armin T. Wegner’s photographs of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-16, and their afterlife
  • The Archives of Hans Feibusch, the private and the public spheres
  •  Sound Art, Gender and the West German Context
  • Documents of a forgotten network: Émigré loans to Twentieth Century German Art, 1938


Publications in Press:


‘The dynamics of gendered artistic identity and creativity in the Blaue Reiter’, in German Expressionism: Der Blaue Reiter and its Legacies, ed. Dorothy Rowe, Manchester University Press, Manchester.


Recent Publications:

Kandinsky and Theater: the Monumental Artwork of the Future’, in exh. cat. Vasily Kandinsky and the Total Work of Art: from Blaue Reiter to Bauhaus, Neue Galerie, New York, and Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2013, pp. 64-85.

Review Netzwerke des Exils. Künstlerische Verflechtungen, Austausch und Patronage nach 1933

ed. Burcu Dogramaci and Karin Wimmer. (Gebrüder Mann Verlag, Berlin, 2011), The Burlington Magazine, no. 1326, vol. 155, September 2013, pp. 628-629.

Académie Matisse and its relevance in the life and work of Sigrid Hjertén’, in A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1900-1925, ed. Hubert van den Berg, et al, Rodopi, Amsterdam & New York, 2012, pp. 149-164.

‘Künstlergruppe Brücke and the Public Sphere: Bridging the Gender Divide’, in Bridging History: Perspectives on Brücke, ed. Christian Weikop, Ashgate, Farnham, 2011, pp.  99-124.

'Die Künstlergruppe Brücke und die Öffentlichkeit – Von der Überbrückung der Kluft zwischen den Geschlechtern', in Rosa. Eigenartig grün. Rosa Schapire und die Expressionisten, ed. Sabine Schulze, Ausst.-Kat. Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Hatje und Cantze, Ostfildern, 2009, pp. 54 – 87

with Sander L. Gilman, 'Forced Journeys. An Introduction’, in Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain 1933-1945, ed. Rachel Dickson and Sarah Mac Dougall, Ben Uri Gallery and Lund Humphries , London, 2009


Interpretive essays to catalogue, guide and panels, Georg Baselitz Retrospective, The Royal Academy, London, 2007

‘Kandinsky, Münter and Creative Partnership’, in Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction 1900-1921, ed. Hartwig Fischer and Sean Rainbird, Tate Publishing, London, 2006, pp. 77-100; 213-214. German edition, ‘Kandinsky und Münter: Eine kreative Partnerschaft’, in Kandinsky: Malerei 1908-1921, Kunstmuseum Basel, pp. 75-98; 216-218, 2007

‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky: Tate Liverpool’, exhibition review, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXLIX, no. 1241, August 2006, pp. 560-562

Entries on ‘Ida Dehmel’ and ‘Dr Rosa Schapire’ in Jewish Women: a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopaedia, ed. Paula E. Hyman and Dalia Ofer, Shalvi Publishing Ltd, Jerusalem, 2006, CDROM

Author of ‘Preface’, co-editor of volume and single author of essay, ‘Klaus E. Hinrichsen (1912-2004): the Art Historian behind “Visual Art behind the Wire”’, in Arts in Exile in Britain 1933-1945: Politics and Cultural Identity, ed. Shulamith Behr and Marian Malet, The Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, vol. 6 (2004), Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York, 2005

‘Beyond the Muse: Gabriele Münter as Expressionistin’, in Gabriele Münter: The Search for Expression 1906-1917, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery in association with Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2005, pp. 43-71

n ‘Expressionism’ in the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Charles Scribner’s and Sons, New York, 2005
Expressionism - Bibliography

‘Differencing Modernism: Swedish Women Artists in Avant-Garde Culture’, in Utopia and Reality: Swedish Modernism 1900-1960, ed. Cecilia Widenheim, Yale University Press, London and New York, 2002, pp. 108-121; published as well in the quarterly of the Institute of Art History of the Polish Academy of Sciences: Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, no. 3- 4, 2003, pp. 451-464

‘Modernity, Family and Fashion: Performative strategies and the artist couple Sigrid Hjertén and Isaac Grünewald’, in Sigrid Hjertén och Isaac Grünewald: Modernismens pionjärer, ed. Birgitta Flensburg, Norrköpings Konstmuseum and Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, 2002, pp. 14-26; published and translated as ‘La modernité, la famille et la mode. Le couple Sigrid Hjertén-Isaac Grünewald et leurs strategies de mise en “oeuvre”’, in ArtNord: La Revue des arts nordiques, no. 6, 2003, pp. 34-38

‘Veiling Venus: Gender and Painterly Abstraction in Early German Modernism’, in Manifestations of Venus: Essays on Art and Sexuality, ed. Caroline Arscott and Katie Scott, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 126-141

‘Att differentiera modernismen - Svenska kvinnliga konstnärer i det tidiga 1900-talets avantgarde-kultur’, in Utopi och verklighet - svensk modernism 1900-1960, ed. Cecilia Widenheim, P. A. Norstedts and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2000, pp. 108-121

Single author of Expressionism, Tate Movements in Modern Art, Tate Gallery Publishing, London, 1999 (Cambridge University Press 2000)

‘Sigrid Hjertén und der “Körper”: die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Akt’, in Sigrid Hjertén – Wegbereiterin des schwedischen Expressionismus (bilingual catalogue: Sigrid Hjertén: Pioneer of Swedish Expressionism) ed. Katarina Borgh Bertorp, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, and Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, Berlin, 1999, pp. 33-41


Arts in Exile, Expressionism, Felixmüller, German Art, Grünewald, Hjertén, Kandinsky, modernity, Münter, Meidner, public sphere, remigration, Schapire, Swedish Modernism, van Heemskerck, Werefkin, Women Expressionists