BA (Manchester University) 1991, PGDip (Courtauld, University of London) 1994, MA (Camberwell College of Art) 2003

Contact details

Courtauld Institute of Art

Somerset House


London WC2R 0RN

Elisabeth Reissner

Elisabeth Reissner has a degree in Art History, an MA in Drawing and a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel paintings. Her research interests and teaching reflect the confluence of these disciplines. She has combined work as a paintings conservator in numerous galleries and museums, (including Tate and The Frans Halsmuseum) with both the practice of object based art history and her own art practice. In 2006 she became the first Caroline Villers Research Fellow in Technical Art History. Her focus was the way in which the Courtauld and National Gallery (London) watercolours and oils by Paul Cézanne had been made. This work underpins her PhD which explores the significance in attending to the articulation of pictorial and material means and of tracing an artist’s process of manufacture. Since 2007 she has been a visiting lecturer for the MA Programme Curating the Art Museum at the Courtauld. She takes up the post of part-time lecturer in the Conservation and Technology Department in October 2010.

Research interests

The theoretical underpinnings, claims to meaning, methods and modes of writing of what has been variously termed technical art history, object-based art history and the material-based studies of paintings.

The intersection of technical study of paintings and philosophical and art historical theories concerning making, thinking and pictorial meaning, particularly as this contributes to an understanding of the work of Paul Cézanne. 

The effective use of technical images in museum displays, publications and web-based technical research resources with a focus on the relationship established between such images, the object under consideration and the reader or viewer.

 The theory and practice of conservation and presentation decision making.

Courses Taught in 2010-2011

Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings
MA Curating the Art Museum: Conservation, Presentation and Access: Ethics and Practice


‘Transparency of Means: ‘Drawing’ and Colour in Cézanne’s Watercolours and Oil Paintings in the Courtauld Gallery’, The Courtauld Cézannes, 2008, pp.49-71.

‘Ways of Making: Practice and Innovation in Cézanne’s Paintings in the National Gallery’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin Volume 29, 2008, pp.4-30

With Jacqueline Ridge and Patricia Smithen 'Going Digital at Tate: Notes from the Near Infrared', Digital Imaging for the Paintings Conservator, UKIC Paintings Section 2002, pp.8-15.

‘De ondertekening: een kijkje in Heemskercks atelier’ and ‘En zij gaven hem slagen in het gelaat’ (Jon 19:3): waarom warden de verdwenen druppels bloed niet opnieuw ingeschilderd?’, Conserving, restauratie en betekenis van het altaarstuk ‘Ecce Homo’ 1559-1560, catalogue accompanying the exhibition of Maerten van Heemskerck’s altarpiece “Ecce Homo” at the Frans Halsmuseum in 1997.


Technical art history, making, pictorial meaning, Paul Cézanne, image, object, conservation and presentation.