Loyola University Chicago

Fine Arts

Department of Fine and Performing Arts


Paula Wisotzki, Ph.D.

Title/s:  Professor of Fine Arts in Art History; Interim Faculty Coordinator of Art History

Office #:  MUND 904

Phone: 773.508.8306

Email: pwisots@luc.edu


Paula Wisotzki is Professor of Art History in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University Chicago, where she is a member of the graduate faculty and is affiliated with the Women’s Studies and Gender Studies Program. She also teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Honors Program. 

She was named a "Master Teacher" in Loyola's College of Arts and Sciences for 2006-2007. She is a long-time board member of the Midwest Art History Society and served a term as President of this regional professional organization of academics and museum professionals. She was an area editor for the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (5 vols. Oxford University Press, 2011).  Her scholarly focus is on American art of the 1930s and 1940s with a special interest the work of women artists and artists whose art was politically engaged.  She was co-editor with Helen Langa of the anthology American Women Artists, 1935–1970: Gender, Culture and Politics (Ashgate, 2016).  Her essay “Revolt in the City:  Labor and Art in the Urban Midwest” appeared in the anthology The American Midwest in a Scattering Time:  How Modernism Met Midwestern Culture (2018), edited by Sara Kosiba.  She has published articles exploring David Smith’s art through the lens of his political engagement, including “Artist and Worker:  The Labour of David Smith” (Oxford Art Journal, 2005).  In addition, she has written on Dorothy Dehner’s early career with her essay “Dorothy Dehner and World War II: Not Just ‘Life on the Farm’” appearing in Archives of American Art Journal (2016).

Some of her recent scholarship explores early twentieth century collaborations between visual artists and choreographers. With her DFPA colleague Sandra Kaufmann, Director of Dance, she received an Academic Program Grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art to support the 2016 international symposium “Framing Justice:  Modernism and Social Advocacy in American Visual Arts and Dance, 1929-1945.”  Her article “Art, Dance, and Social Justice:  Franziska Boas, Dorothy Dehner, and David Smith at Bolton Landing, 1944-1949” appeared in the fall issue of Panorama:  Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art (2021).  The essay “A Terrible Beauty:  Harmony and Dissonance in David Smith’s Art of the 1940s,” was published in the exhibition catalogue Songs of the Horizon:  David Smith, Music, and Dance (Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York, 2023). The article "Anton Refregier and Revolutionary Modern Dance," appeared in the Spring, 2024 issue of the Archives of American Art Journal.

Other recent publications include a brief essay in the exhibition catalogue Double Vision:  Art from Jesuit University Collections (Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, 2021) and a lengthy article, “Visual Arts: Abstraction,” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion and the Arts in the West:  Renaissance to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Having graduated magna cum laude from Lewis and Clark College in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, she earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern University. 



Ph.D., Northwestern University

B.A. (magna cum laude), Lewis and Clark College

Research Interests

Modern and Contemporary Art
American Modernism
Women Artists and Feminist Art History
Strategies of Museum Display and Artifact Interpretation

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Board member and former President, Midwest Art History Society
  • Area editor for the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (5 vols. Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Co-edited with Helen Langa for American Women Artists, 1935-1970: Gender, Culture and Politics (Ashgate, 2016)