Yves-Alain Bois  Professor of Art History, Institute for Advanced Study


Yves-Alain Bois

Professor of Art History, Institute for Advanced Study20th-Century European and American Art


Ph.D., École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1977

A specialist in 20th-century European and American art, Yve-Alain Bois is recognized as an expert on a wide range of artists, from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly. He has curated and co-curated a number of influential exhibitions, including Piet Mondrian, A Retrospective (1994); L’informe: mode d’emploi (1996); Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry (1999); and Picasso Harlequin 1917–1937 (2008). His books include Painting as Model (1990); Formless: A User’s Guide (with Rosalind Krauss, 1997); Matisse and Picasso (1998); and Art Since 1900 (with Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind Krauss, 2004).

Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study since 2005, Bois was previously Attaché de recherche (1977–81) and Chargé de recherche (1981–83) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He has taught at The Johns Hopkins University (1983–91) and at Harvard University, where he was Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Professor of Modern Art (1991–2005) and chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture (2002–2005). A cofounder of Éditions Macula (1976) and a coeditor of the journal October since 1991, Bois is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2005) and the recipient of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award (2001).

Current Research

Bois is currently working on several long-term projects, including a study of Barnett Newman’s paintings, the catalogue raisonné of Ellsworth Kelly’s paintings and sculptures, and the modern history of axonometric projection. A collection of his essays on non-composition in 20th-century art is forthcoming in 2015.

Selected Publications

Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, coauthored with Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind Krauss (Thames & Hudson, 2004; second edition, 2011).

Matisse and Picasso (Flammarion, 1998).

Formless: A User’s Guide, coauthored with Rosalind Krauss (Zone Books/MIT Press, 1997).

Painting as Model (MIT Press, 1990).