Job title: Chair in History of Art, History of Art

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2313


Office address: Room 0.60, Higgitt Gallery, Hunter Building

Contact time: Thursday, 12pm - 1pm

Research outputs: Prof Neil Cox on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Neil Cox publishes on modern art in France, especially artists and writers associated with Cubism and Surrealism, and also has interests in aesthetics and continental philosophy.

After completing an undergraduate degree at St Andrews, he wrote his PhD on Pablo Picasso’s early Cubism at the University of Essex under the supervision of Dawn Ades, and then taught there for twenty years before coming to Edinburgh in 2013. In 1999, he taught for a semester in the University of California at Berkeley.

He has published extensively on the work of Georges Braque and Picasso, both in terms of their common enterprise in Cubism and their subsequent and very different careers. Alongside this, his work on the question of violence in surrealism has revolved around the intellectuals Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris and Maurice Heine, and their fascination for the figure of the Marquis de Sade.

Among Neil’s key publications are Cubism (Phaidon: London, 2000) and The Picasso Book (London: Tate, 2010). Beyond this, he has published many articles and essays on topics ranging from Renaissance representations of the wars of religion to two recent key essays on American sculptor Richard Serra (2015 and 2017).

Neil has curated several major exhibitions over the course of his career: Cock and Bull Stories: A Picasso Bestiary (1995, Croydon Clocktower); Constable and Wivenhoe Park: Reality and Vision (2000, Art Exchange, University of Essex); and most recently In the Presence of Things. Four Centuries of European Still Life Painting, Part 2: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 1840-1955 (2011, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon).

From 2013-16 he was Director of the ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership, based in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, working with Tate and National Galleries of Scotland to develop research and public engagement events around the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the UK. This led to many events and publications, including publications by University of Edinburgh students and staff, film screenings, conferences, public presentations and debates.

Neil has supervised 17 students to completion, and is currently lead supervisor for five students.

Continental philosophical aesthetics, modern European art, especially Cubism, Surrealism, Braque, Picasso and Duchamp

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

  • Continental philosophical aesthetics
  • Modern European art, particularly - Cubism, Surrealism, Braque, Picasso and Duchamp