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Catherine MacKenzie, PhD

Professor, Art History

Catherine MacKenzie, PhD

Catherine MacKenzie received her doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1984, specializing in eighteenth-century French architectural theory. Since coming to Concordia University, she has held a large number of administrative posts in the Faculty and University (most recently, Chair of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, 2001- 2004), and has shifted her academic interests to issues of racism as they pertain to nineteenth and twentieth century art worlds. Her specific research concerns follow two  distinct trajectories: the dynamics of expatriate production by American and British women living in China in the first half of the twentieth century and its reception 'back home' and; the need, in light of the intervention of Nazi 'cultural policies' and gaps in existing art history scholarship, to reclaim the roles of German- Jewish collectors and art dealers in the first third of the twentieth century. In the fall of 2006, Professor MacKenzie curated for the FoFA Gallery an exhibition entitled Auktion 392: Reclaiming the Galerie Stern, Dusseldorf for which several MA students provided research assistance, as well as entries for the accompanying catalogue. Auktion 392 travelled to The Leo Baeck Institute in New York City in spring 2007, and the Ben Uri Gallery, The London Jewish Museum of Art in London, England, in mid-September 2007. Under the management of the Ben Uri Gallery, the exhibition has since appeared at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and several venues in England, and returned to North America in January 2011, with a showing in Florida.

Research & Teaching Interests

  • Race and Representation
  • Cross-Cultural Dynamics in Twentieth-Century China
  • Art Collecting
  • Provenance and the Politics of Art Restitution
  • Feminism and Art History

Teaching activities

Undergraduate Courses

Since 2000

  • ARTH 263 Aspects of the History of Print - Special Topic: German Expressionist Prints in Context
  • ARTH 283 The Life and Work of...Mary Cassatt
  • ARTH 283 The Life and Work of... Michelangaelo
  • ARTH 283 The Life and Work of ...Otto Dix
  • ARTH 283 The Life and Work of ... Käthe Kollwitz
  • ARTH/FMST 348 Special Topics in Art and Film : The Art Historian's 'Gaze'
  • ARTH 351 Aspects of the History of Sculpture - Special Topic: "Emancipation and the 'Freed' in Nineteenth-Century American Sculpture"
  • ARTH 364 Studies in Renaissance Art and Architecture - Special Topic: Art in Italian 'Private' Spaces
  • ARTH 365 Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture - Special Topic: New Approaches to French Rococo Art
  • ARTH 365 Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture - Special Topic: Chinoiserie
  • ARTH 381 Feminism and Art History
  • ARTH 389 Issues in Ethnocultural Art History - Special Topic: 'Producing Polynesians'
  • ARTH 389 Issues in Ethnocultural Art History - Special Topic: 'Savage' Identities in Western Art
  • ARTH 398 Special Topics in Art and Society - Special Topic: Art and Experimentation in China, 1900-1989
  • ARTH 400 Provenance Research
  • ARTH 400 Nazi Art Looting and Its Aftermath
  • ARTH/FMST 448 'Fine Artists' and Cinema
  • ARTH 450 Advanced Seminar in the History of Art and Architecture - Special Topic: Nazi Art Plunder, Then and Now
  • ARTH 450 The 'China Work' of British and North American Artist, 1900-1937
  • ARTH 450 Art and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Graduate Courses

  • ARTH 610 Selected Issues in North American Art and Architecture - Special Topic: Looted Cultural Property: The North American Context
  • ARTH 610 Selected Issues in North American Art and Architecture - Special Topic: "Pacific Crossings"
  • ARTH 621 Collecting and Patronage in Canada: Ethics
  • ARTH 655 Thesis Seminar (annually from 2004-2008)

Thesis Supervision

Alyssa Hauer
'Paved with Good Intentions:' The Developmental Path of American and German Holocaust Restitution Institutions
in progress

Marie Ohlinger
A Balancing Act: Max Beckmann  and American Cultural Politics
in progress

Felicity Hamer  
The Role of Women in Victorian-Era Spirit Photography: A New Narrative
Convocation: Fall 2015

Allan Zigayer
Chuck Close & Frida Kahlo - Self-portraits, Disability and the Abnegated Body
Convocation: Spring 2012

Claudia Oliveira
Fathoming the Unfathomable: Gertrude Kearns and the Representation of the Rwandan Genocide
Convocation: Fall 2011

Silvia Sorbelli, MA
The Renaissance in Montreal - Collectors of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Convocation: Fall 2010

S. Alexandra Anber, MA
Louise Bourgeois's Provisional Stitches: An Examination of Bourgeois's Production of Subjectivity, Materialized
Convocation: Fall 2009

Alena Buis, MA
Ut pictura poesis: Edward Black Greenshields' Collection of Hague School Paintings
Convocation: Fall 2008

Paula Deblois, MA
Mary Fanton Roberts: An Analysis of her Art Criticism in Two Periodicals Craftsman and Touchstone
Convocation: Fall 2008

Jennifer Dyck, MA
A Poetic Exploration of the Box: Tony Urquhart's Use of Space, Miniature, and Memory
Convocation: Spring 2007

Reid Cooper, MA
Participatory Architecture in Montreal: Three Case Studies
Convocation Fall 2006

Lara Tomaszewska, MA
Marionettes and Metaphor: Political Satire in the Photographs of Tina Modotti
Convocation: Fall 1998

Marco Topalian, MA
Metamorphosis, Entropy, and Seduction: Selected Moments from the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo by Moriyama and Teshima
Convocation: Fall 1998

Andrej Kopac, MA
The Dominion Express Building: A Cultural Investigation
Convocation: Spring 1998

Kyle Gordon Whatley, MA
Frank Lloyd Wright's Work in Canada
Convocation: Spring 1997

Andrew William Elvish, MA
Death Becomes Her: The Death Aesthetic in/as Fashion Advertising
Convocation Spring 1997

Margaret E. Hodges, MA
Sigrun Bulow-Hube: Scandinavian Modernism in Canada
Convocation: Fall 1996

Janelle T. Mellamphy, MA
Self/Portraiture, Canada and Taras Polataiko's You Series
Convocation: Fall 1996

Mary Anne Farah, MA
The Significance of the Introduction of Electronic Interaction to the History of the Art Object and the Viewer
Convocation: Fall 1995

Sandra Alfoldy, MA
Theory and Craft: a Case Study of the Kootenay Christmas Fair
Convocation: Spring 1995

Anne Mandely Page, MA
Canada's First Professional Women Painters, 1890-1914
Convocation: Fall 1991

Denis Longchamps, PhD - Art History
Elizabeth Simcoe (1762-1850): une amateure et intellectuelle anglaise dans les Canadas. Son oeuvre ecrite et dessinee, et le projet colonial
Convocation: Fall 2009

Heather Haskins, PhD - Art History
Now You See Them, Now You Don't: The Critical Reception of Women's Work at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, 1888-1916
Convocation: Spring 2005

Randal Rogers, PhD - Art History
From the Painted Past to Digital Futures: (Re)Mediating the Canadian Nation at Expo 2000
Convocation: Fall 2004

Sandra Alfoldy, PhD - SIP
An Intricate Web(b): American Influences on Professional Craft in Canada 1964-1974
Convocation: Spring 2001

Ernestine Daubner, PhD - Humanities
Allegories of Nature, Culture, Gender: Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donnes
Convocation: Spring 2000


  • "Werke der Neuen Sachlichkeit in der Sammlung von Dr. Ismar Littmann," Messerscharf und detailverliebt: Werke der Neuen Sachlichkeit,  ed. A.Tietze, Regensburg: Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, 2015, pp. 20-23
  • “‘And thereon lies a tale:’ Canadian WomenMissionary Artists in China,” Journal of Canadian Art History, Vol.XXXIV:2 (2014 ),  pp. 269-301
  • "Securing Shanghai: British Women Artists and 'Their' City,"  The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1, eds. Martin Farr and Xavier Guégan,  Houndsmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 176-196
  • "Review of Corresponding Influence: Selected Letters of Emily Carr and Ira Dilworth,"ed. L.M. Morra," Journal of Canadian Art History, Vol. XXX, 2009, pp. 116-119.
  • "Estate of Dr. Max Stern vs. Marie-Louise Bissonnette," KUR: Kunst und Recht, Vol. X, No.2. March-April, 2008, p. 36.
  • Auktion 392: Reclaiming the Galerie Stern, Düsseldorf, Montreal: FOFA Gallery, 2006.
  • "Florence Wheelock Ayscough's Niger Reef Tea House," Journal of Canadian Art History, XXIII/1-2, 2002, pp.34-65.
  • "Place Really Does Matter: Marion Greenwood's 1947 'China' Exhibition,"RACAR, XXV, 1-2, 1998 (published fall 2001), pp. 58-72.
  • Biographical Entries on Isabel Bishop, Lucienne Bloch, Marion Greenwood and Alice Trumbell Mason, International Dictionary of Women Artists, London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers,  1998,  Vol. I, pp. 264-267, 274-277, 616-618; Vol. 2, pp. 934-936.

Research activities

Current Research

  • "A Noble, Stupefying High": The Art Collecting of  Dr. (Ismar) Littmann. This project  addresses the collecting practices of one of Weimar Germany's most  significant German-Jewish collectors.
  • The Role of American and British Women Artists in the Creation of 'Multicultural' Exhibitions in Shanghai, 1916-1941.
  • "One of Julian Bell's 'Fantastic Lady Watercolourists' - Mary Augusta Mullikin in China, 1920-1945," (article in progress).

Participation activities

Conferences & Lectures

"The Art Collecting Practices of the Jewish Lawyer Dr. Ismar Littmann, Breslau," Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg,  25 February 2016
"On the Importance of Teaching Provenance Studies: the Life Stories of       Objects and Social Justice," Winter School Provenance Research, Forschungsverbunds 
Provenienzforschung Bayern, ZI, Munich , 22 February, 2016 

"The Challenges of Holocaust-era Restitution," Art Gallery of Hamilton,
 Hamilton, Ontario, 9 July 2015 .
"Making Space for Another Vera," The Artist Herself: A Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Conference Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, 9 May 2015.


"Behind the Headlines: Restituting Nazi-Looted Art," The University Club, Montreal, September 17, 2014 . "The Restitution of Looted Art," Montreal-Lakeshore University Club, Montreal , 10 February 2014.

  • "Stories Still to be Told: Canadian Women Missionary Artists in China, 1900-1947," Imagining History: A Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Conference, Concordia University, 4 May 2012.
  • "Restituting Holocaust Era Art and Artifacts," High Holiday Service Program, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal, 8 October 2011 Opening Remarks (televised) for Auktion 392 vernissage at Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach, 18 January 2011.
  • "The Galerie Stern and Restitution Issues,"  lecture/workshop to docents of Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach, 17 January 2011.
  • "Otto Dix: Tackling the Thirties," Public Lecture, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 1 December 2010.
  • "Trenchant Images: Sexual Violence in the Art of Otto Dix," lecture to docents, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 12 April 2010.
  • "Shaping Shanghai:  British women artists and "their" city, 1915-1937," for British Abroad: from the Grand Tour to Mass Tourism International Conference, Newcastle University,  Newcastle, England, 2 April  2010.
  • "A response to The Rape of Europa," Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal, 2 November 2008.
  • "Crossing Cultures: From Paper to Thread," for Norman Bethune and Visual Culture(s) Symposium, Concordia University, 18 October 2008.
  • "Restitution: Against Closure, Against Moving On, " keynote address at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem,  for Justice Matters: Restituting Holocaust-Era Art and Artifacts International Symposium, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 19 May 2008.
  • "Reclaiming Looted Art: A Year of Mixed Results," lecture for Tenth Annual Holocaust Education Series of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Concordia University, 24 October 2007.
  • "Expanding Horizons: American Women Artists in China, 1900-1945," Women's Art Society, Montreal, 17 April 2007.
  • "The Galerie Stern Story," session for docents, Leo Baeck Instiute, New York City, 28 February 2007.
  • "The Current Controversy in Germany about Nazi-era Restitution Claims," Shaar Hashomayim Tuesday Night Learning Series, Montreal, 20 February 2007.
  • "Revisiting the Lady with Jade," Third International Hawaii Conference on the Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, January 2005.
  • "Florence Wheelock Ayscough's Niger Reef Tea House," invited lecture for the St. Andrew's Civic Trust, St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, August, 2001.
  • "Interpreting the Chinese Collection," invited lecture for docents, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, February 2000.
  • "The Hybrid (?) Empress Dowager," College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, February 1999.


  • "The Performing Portraits of Hu Shih," Universities Art Association of Canada Annual Conference, London, November, 1998.

Artistic performances


Curator, Crossing Cultures: Images of Norman Bethune in China, FoFA Gallery, Concordia University, 6-31 October 2008.

Curator, Auktion 392: Reclaiming the Galerie Stern, Dusseldorf, FoFA Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, 20 October - 12 November 2006, with on-going contributions to traveling version.

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