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PCA, Université Paris-Nanterre and Terra Foundation for American Art Online Workshop

Alma Woodsey Thomas, 1975. Copyright Roland L. Freeman, Washington D.C.

In Spring 2016, the Liberal Studies Department started a collaboration with the Terra Foundation for American Art on a new research program devoted to undergraduate students.

Every semester, students from PCA and Université Paris-Nanterre meet at the Terra Foundation for American Art in the occasion of a unique workshop devoted to undergraduate research in American art.

Students present their research work based on a jointly selected theme, and conducted at the Terra Foundation for American Art Library in Paris to an audience of peers. They work under the supervision of the Liberal Studies Department at PCA, and the Art History department at Université Paris-Nanterre. The workshop is an occasion to share interests and methodologies in the study of American art, and to be active members of a transatlantic network of young art historians.

Because of the current health crisis, the Fall 2020 Workshop will be held on Zoom.

The selected theme for the Fall 2020 session is: COLOR

Join us for an Online Workshop on December 8th 2020, from 1 pm to 3 pm CET by clicking the link below!


  • Rachel Katherine Fallon, Paris College of Art
    “The Colors of Alma Woodsey Thomas”

“The use of color in my paintings is of paramount importance to me. Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness in my painting rather than on man’s inhumanity to man”
– Alma Woodsey Thomas

Born less than thirty years after the violence of American slavery, Alma Woodsey Thomas lived through the gross inadequacies of American Reconstruction, two World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, but her art was devoted to joy. She drew inspiration from color, nature and music, her lyrical strokes evoking the delicate minimalism of a jazz piano. After more than four decades as an educator, it wasn’t until Thomas was in her sixties that she pursued her art full-time. In 1972, Thomas became the first black woman featured in a solo show at the Whitney Museum in New York. She was eighty years old. Connected to the Washington Color School and a member of the Little Paris Studio, inspired by the Parisian Académie Julien, Thomas experimented with the process of her predecessors and transcended this experience into original, organic forms, liberated from convention. Her work goes beyond categorization in terms of style and substance and demonstrates experiments with cubism, abstract expressionism and ultimately becomes an original synthesis of both while never betraying her radical commitment to optimism.

  • Cassandra Levasseur, Université Paris-Nanterre
    “Color and Subjectivity in French and American Impressionism”

As techniques evolved in the second half of the 19th century, new aesthetic concerns appeared with the French Impressionists, such as a new approach to color which emphasizes the subjective point of view of the artists. This is illustrated in the works of Monet, Renoir, Degas or Morisot. These visual innovations, as they were exported to the United-States, mainly through Mary Cassatt’s works with the Impressionists, became a wide source of inspiration for contemporary and later American art, like American Impressionists James McNeill Whistler or John Singer Sargent.

Meeting ID :
823 2773 0845
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