Matthew Affron

B.A., Brown University, 1985
M.A., Yale University, 1986
Ph.D., Yale University, 1995

Associate Professor, 19th and 20th-Century Art
Director of Special Curatorial Projects, University of Virginia Art Museum

Matthew Affron’s main research interest is the social history of modern art in the first half of the twentieth century. Much of his work has focused on the painter Fernand Léger. Mr. Affron has published essays in journals and exhibition catalogues on Léger’s painting, his ideas about the social functions of art, and his involvement with photography and propaganda. He also contributed texts on Léger, Mondrian, Lipchitz, and Chagall to the book that accompanied the exhibition, Exiles and Emigrés: The Flight of European Artists from Hitler. He was co-editor of Fascist Visions (Princeton University Press, 1997), a volume of essays about the interrelations between modern art and fascist ideology in France and Italy.

In 2004 Mr. Affron became Director of Special Curatorial Projects at the University of Virginia Art Museum. His principal responsibility is the organization of exhibition projects that foster teaching and research opportunities within the museum and the art department, across the University, and in collaboration with other institutions. The first of these exhibition projects was “American Collage,” organized in conjunction with the Phillips Collection in 2004. Current projects include collaborations with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée National Fernand Léger.

Mr. Affron teaches several large lecture courses on the history of European and American art from the middle of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Modern Art (1900-1945), The History of Photography. His undergraduate and graduate seminars deal with major art movements (surrealism, cubism), with questions of modernist art theory (theories of modernism, the idea of abstraction), and with focused problems in the history of the avant-garde (experimental cinema in the 1920s).

McIntire Department of Art
309 Fayerweather Hall
(434) 243-8648
ma2x at

University of VirginiaSchool of Architecture