• Art History Textile
    Liubov Popova & Varvara Stepanova, Constructivist textile designs 1924
  • Textile
    Liubov Popova & Varvara Stepanova, Constructivist textile designs 1924
  • Textile
    Liubov Popova & Varvara Stepanova, Constructivist textile designs 1924
  • Textile
    Liubov Popova & Varvara Stepanova, Constructivist textile designs 1924
  • Textile
    Liubov Popova & Varvara Stepanova, Constructivist textile designs 1924
Art History Program

Critical Engagement with Art & Culture

» Bachelor of Arts in Art History

Spring 2023 partyAs a Chapman Art History student, you will learn useful and necessary reading, thinking, and speaking skills that will facilitate a critical engagement with art and culture. Our program is founded on the principal that art is a vital feature of visual and material culture, especially in relation to the politics of space, place and representation. The capacity to critically examine how the visual world shapes, creates, and constitutes our reality, and the ability to articulate those concepts, is deeply consequential. The B.A. in Art History allows students to develop and master the ability to understand images of all kinds through a close examination of the visual and material world. 

Our faculty are deeply invested in teaching students how to write and speak effectively about the visual world around them. The Art History curriculum broadly spans time and geography, with specialists in the fields of: European and American modernism; Ancient Mediterranean culture; Latin American visual and material culture; East Asian art; history of photography; Black American art; and contemporary art.  

(Pictured right: Art History students and faculty)

Our Art History faculty: Wendy Salmond is a specialist in Russian and early Soviet art, architecture and design; Justin St. P. Walsh is a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman art, cultural heritage protection, and the archaeology of human activity in space; Amy Buono is a specialist in Brazilian and transatlantic visual and material culture and museum history and theory; Fiona Shen, a specialist in design history, East Asian art, and museum studies and is the Director of the Escalette Permanent Collection of Art at Chapman University.  

The Escalette Collection, which focuses on modern and contemporary art, is an accessible and engaging resource for the campus community. The Collection supports class learning and research in many ways including tours of the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and access to artworks. Student opportunities include working with the collection as a collections assistant, volunteering as an art ambassador, contributing to the acquisitions process, and helping curate physical and virtual exhibitions.  

The B.A. in Art History offers students opportunities to explore a wide range of careers and professions. Among many career options open to them, Art History students go on to become curators, conservators, art restorers, art dealers, art auctioneers, architects and architectural historians, teachers and professors, cultural heritage workers, journalists, filmmakers, game design consultants, and lawyers, to name only a selection

Art History majors pursue internships in a wide array of cultural institutions across Southern California and the United States, and help build professional networks that assist them upon graduation. Our students have interned at: Philadelphia Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; American Museum of Ceramic Art; Sotheby’s Los Angeles; Laguna Beach Museum; Bowers Museum; Orange County Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art; Patrick Painter Gallery; Hauser & Wirth Gallery. 

Fall 2023 course offerings in Art History:

  • AH 200 Ancient to Medieval Art (Solon) 
  • AH 201 Renaissance to Modern Art (Johnson) 
  • AH 306 Later Greek Art (Walsh) 
  • AH 333 Modern Russian Art (Salmond) 
  • AH 335 Theories of Modernism (Salmond) 
  • AH 340 Contemporary Art: 1945-1970 (Johnson)  
  • AH 350 Chromophobia/Chromophilia: Color and the Making of the Atlantic World  (Buono) 
  • AH 400 Cultural Heritage and the Art World (Walsh) 
  • AH 401 Gender, Art, and Western Culture (Johnson) 

Art History Student Spotlight: Candace Chen ‘23

Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern, Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

Studying art history at Chapman surrounded by extremely supportive faculty has allowed me to truly understand what a career in art history might look like. I am grateful for the art history department at Chapman for not only some of their incredible classes but also for their persistent, encouraging environment that allowed for me to discover some of interests. During my undergraduate career, I cultivated passions for advocacy, archival work, and visual culture. This summer, I will be interning at the Chinese American Museum under the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Program as the Public Programs and Curatorial Intern! I am excited to learn the ins and outs of museum work as well as working closely with AAPI issues, something that I am especially passionate about. I look forward to finishing my last two years at Chapman and seeing what my art history career grows into.

Art History Student Spotlight: Bella Ocaña ‘23

Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern, Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum

Joining the Art History department my freshman year at Chapman was an exciting experience - I could have never known just how impactful it would be on my life. The Art History professors were more than just class lecturers, but mentors to whom I am beyond grateful to have learned from and been guided by. Through my years as an Art History major, I learned vital art historical theory, reflected on the modern art market, and made network connections that launched me into my post-graduation career. This summer I am a Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern in the Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation department. I get to apply my art history degree knowledge towards research, and the preservation of objects at the Getty Center. I am so excited for what the future has in store for me as the Art History program has set me up for success!

Art History Alumni Spotlight: Ellen Joo '19

Research Assistant, Chinese and Korean Art Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Studying Art History under the highly supportive faculty at Chapman University was a transformative experience. Art History taught me how to analyze the visual world around us and to empathize more deeply with others. The flexibility of the program gave me the opportunity to explore the topics and areas of discipline I was most interested in, leading me to discover my passion for Korean Art. The faculty fostered a collaborative environment for students to discuss ideas together, regardless of our respective research interests. The foundational art history courses on a variety of methodologies prepared me to proceed with professional training in the museum field. Chapman’s proximity to the Los Angeles area allowed students to pursue career developmental internships and jobs in art institutions ranging from alternative art spaces to larger, encyclopedic museums. I feel sincerely grateful to the professors and faculty at Chapman University who continue to offer their support and mentorship.

Art History Alumni Spotlight: Alex Espinosa-Michel ‘21

Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern, Drawings Department, J. Paul Getty Museum

My interests from a very young age have been centered in understanding the visual world around me. From the garments that we choose to wear, to the images that we choose to engage with, and to all of the objects that we deliberately keep around us, we are actively curating a specific visual experience that fits our needs and desires. The art history program at Chapman was a welcoming place that allowed me to further explore these interests and refine my analytical skills. My most memorable experience within the program was developing my senior thesis on the portraits of Queen Isabella I of Castile. It allowed me to further explore new and preexisting interests of artistic exchange and patronage within a 15th and 16th century visual context. Ultimately my senior thesis propelled me to pursue a research-based profession. I am working in exhibition and publishing projects with the curatorial staff of the Drawings Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum. I work with themes that highlight artistic exchange, creative process, and technical art history.

Art History Alumni Spotlight: Alyson Brandes '20

Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern, American Museum of Ceramic Art

"I applied to Chapman University as an Art History major after having a really great experience with my AP Art History in high school. I was welcomed into the program by all of the amazing professors. I even ended up writing my senior thesis on a Chicano art collective. Currently, I am working at American Museum of Ceramic Art as a Getty Marrow Undergraduate Curatorial Inter, where I am able to combine my passion for museum work with my love for ceramics (definitely take a ceramics class at Chapman if you're able to!)."

Art History Alumni Spotlight: Prabhnoor Kaur '20

Archiving Intern, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India

"When I first came to Chapman University as a screenwriting major, I hadn't even considered art history. I declared the major on a whim. I never anticipated how much a part of my life the discipline and the department would become. As I began to explore the breadth of the art world, and of what art history could be, I found my passion in contemporary South Asian art. It spoke to issues I cared deeply about and in a visual language I understood very well. My professors introduced me to new ideas and supported me endlessly when I wanted to experiment in the ways I presented my research. The art history program led me to opportunities in undergraduate research and presenting at symposiums, and ultimately to my current position interning for the contemporary art gallery Nature Morte in New Delhi, India, looking at the work of the very artists that have been at the center of my research."

Art History Student Spotlight: Elise Jacobsen '20

Every culture throughout history has had some sort of material culture, and, for me, studying art history gave me the gift of visual literacy- the skills and the opportunity to understand how to see. It was a window into both the immense diversity and the profound unity of the human experience. My professors encouraged me to question my own assumptions and biases, and to find new ways to place my own lived experience in a global context of art and culture. They supported me in exploring big ideas, diving down philosophical rabbit holes in my research. In working with Dr. Salmond as my thesis advisor, I was able to explore our cultural conception of authenticity in art and find meaningful avenues of inquiry. It was this framework of experimentation that led me to the Master of Liberal Arts program at the University of Pennsylvania, taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding material culture and the human experience.