Yve-Alain Bois

Yve-Alain Bois, Professor at The European Graduate School / EGS


Yve-Alain Bois (b.1952 in Constantine, Algeria) is Professor of Art History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bois received his PhD. from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1977) and his M.A. from the École Pratique des Hautes Études, also in Paris (1973); both degrees were supervised by Roland Barthes.

Having served as Attaché de recherche (1977–81) and Chargé de recherche (1981–83) at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Bois taught at Johns Hopkins University until 1991. Following this, he was The Joseph Pulitzer Professor of Modern Art (1991-2005) as well as Chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture (2002-2005) at Harvard University.

An expert on 20th century European and American art, Bois has (co-)curated the exhibitions “Ellsworth Kelly: Early Drawings” (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge; High Museum, Atlanta; Arts Institute, Chicago; Kunstmuseum, Winterthur, among others; 1999-2000), “Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry” (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth/Texas 1999), “Picasso Harlequin 1917–1937” (Rome 2008), “Piet Mondrian, A Retrospective” (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; 1994-95) as well as “L'informe, mode d'emploi” (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1996).

Bois co-founded and co-directed Éditions Macula/Macula magazine in 1976 (until 1979) and has been co-editor of the journal October since 1991; he is also a contributing editor to Artforum.

Among his publications are Matisse in the Barnes Foundation (Thames & Hudson, 2016); Ellsworth Kelly: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Reliefs, and Sculpture: Vol. 1, 19401953 (Cahiers d'art, 2015); Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism (co-authored with Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind Krauss, Thames & Hudson, 2004), Formless: A User’s Guide (co-authored with Rosalind Krauss, Zone/MIT, 1997); Matisse and Picasso (Flammarion, 1998), and Painting as Model (MIT Press 1990).

Presented with the prestigious insignia of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres /Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture in 2002, as well as with the Alfred H. Barr Award (2001) and Prix Pierre Daix (2015), Bois was conferred the title of Chun-tu Hsueh Chair Professor at Nanjing University, China, in 2018.