Rachael Z. DeLue

Chair (on leave 2023–2024)
Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 Professor in American Art
Faculty in the Effron Center for the Study of America
Office Phone
3S-19 Green Hall
Office Hours

On Leave: AY 2023–24



Rachael Z. DeLue is the Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 Professor in American Art and Chair of the Art and Archaeology Department at Princeton University. She is jointly appointed in the Effron Center for the Study of America. She is associated faculty in the High Meadows Environmental Institute, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, and the Program in Media and Modernity. DeLue specializes in the history of American and transatlantic art and visual culture, focusing on intersections among art, science, and the history and theory of knowledge and on the transnational and transcultural formation of “America” as a contested geography, identity and idea. She serves as the editor-in-chief of the Terra Foundation Essays and edited Picturing (2016), the first volume in the series. She has also published George Inness and the Science of Landscape (2004), Landscape Theory (2008, co-edited with James Elkins), and Arthur Dove: Always Connect (2016). Other publications consider the French painter Camille Pissarro, Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled, Romare Bearden’s collages, Darwin and the visual arts, the relationship between art writing and medical diagnosis in the United States circa 1900, shoreline landscapes as symbols of empire, the supernatural in American art, and constructions of Native America within Anglo-American archaeology in the early republic.

DeLue was the Reviews Editor for The Art Bulletin from 2012 to 2015 and, for six years, served on the editorial board of the journal American Art. Currently, she serves on the advisory board of the Archives of American Art Journal.

Current Research

Current projects include a study of Charles Darwin’s “tree of life” diagram in On the Origin of Species, an essay on intermedia, and a book about impossible images that considers the many ways that artists and other image-makers in Europe and the United States, from a range of disciplines, including the sciences, have endeavored to create images of ideas, entities, or phenomena that should be impossible to depict.

Teaching Interests

At Princeton, DeLue offers courses on a wide range of topics, and her courses always include visits to area museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as Princeton’s art museum. She regularly serves as a member of the teaching team for “AMS 101: America Then and Now,” the gateway course for American studies, Asian American studies, and Latino/a studies at Princeton. She co-taught an undergraduate course with Professor Nathan Arrington that introduced students to the history of Princeton during the Revolutionary War through the survey and excavation of the Princeton Battlefield. A graduate seminar, “Terrains of Knowledge,” included a trip to the Great Salt Lake, Utah, to explore Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Most recently, she has offered courses on the visual and material culture of natural history and the role of fiction in visualization in the arts and sciences in the long nineteenth century.

Professor DeLue holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to Princeton, she taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2001

Selected Publications

Arthur Dove: Always Connect (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Editor, Picturing (Terra Foundation and University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Co-editor with James Elkins, Landscape Theory (Routledge, 2008)

George Inness and the Science of Landscape (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

“Revenant Painting,” in Andrew Wyeth: Life and Death, ed. Tanya Sheehan (Waterville, ME: Colby Museum of Art, 2022)

“‘Things Not Tangible’: Portraits, Sitters, and the Supernatural,” in Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art, ed. Robert Cozzolino (Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2021)

“Alexander von Humboldt in the Anthropocene,” Picture Ecology, ed. Alan Braddock and Karl Kusserow (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2021), 148–163

“Measuring Native America: Early American Archaeology and the Politics of Time,” Victorian Science and Imagery: Representation and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture, ed. Nancy Rose Marshall (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021)

“Shoreline Landscapes and the Edges of Empire,” in Colonization and Wilderness in Nineteenth-Century American and Australian Landscape Paintings, ed. Kenneth Haltman and Richard Read (Terra Foundation for American Art, 2020)

“The Shape of the Self: Romare Bearden’s Artist with Painting & Model,” in Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 2019)

“Homer Dodge Martin’s Landscape in Reverse,” in Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment, ed. Karl Kusserow and Alan C. Braddock (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum/New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018)

American Art
Home Department and Other Affiliations
Art & Archaeology
Effron Center for the Study of America
High Meadows Environmental Institute
Indigenous Studies