Lilien F. Robinson

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Lilien F. Robinson

Professor, Art History



Born in Slovenia, raised in Serbia and briefly in Switzerland, Professor Robinson's early education was in Serbian and French schools, and thereafter in Washington DC primary and secondary schools. While she had previously had instruction in painting and a strong interest in its history, after an extraordinary and intellectually riveting first lecture in her Art History survey course she was fully committed to its study and to a teaching career. The lecturer was both a formidable teacher and exeptional scholar; Dr. Laurence Leite inspired, encouraged, and guided her in her studies at George Washington. He inevitably conveyed his own wonder and excitement that human creativity elicits - every lecture was a revelation. For Professor Robinson, this mentor remains unsurpassed as a teacher, a model she continues to reflect upon and emulate.


Current Research

A specialist in nineteenth-century European art, Professor Robinson’s primary research focus since 2003 has been on Serbian painting. Her most recent research includes a comparative study of Serbian and French history painting in “History Painting: Its Transformative Implications,” (in press) and a long term book project on nineteenth-century Serbian painting.



  • George Washington University Award
  • Columbian College Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Trachtenberg Service Prize
  • Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Nominee, Outstanding Teacher, Metropolitan Area
  • Nominee, Trachtenberg Teaching Prize



Literary publications include:

  • Co-Editor and Chapter Author of  On the Very Edge: Modernism and Modernity in the Arts and Architecture of Interwar Serbia (1918-1941), Leuven University Press, Leuven, 2014  (Chapter: "From Tradition to Modernism: Uroš Predić and Paja Jovanović")
  • Author of La Vie Moderne: 19th Century French Art in the Corcoran Gallery, Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC, 1983 
  • Co-Author of Antoine-Louis Barye, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1988 


Journal Articles on various aspects of Serbian Painting, published in Serbian Studies, include:

  • "Uri Žvi Greenberg," 2015
  • "Orientalism through the Balkan Lens of Paja Jovanović," 2014
  • "Belgrade: Transformations and Confluences," 2012
  • "Paja Jovanović and the Imaging  of War and Peace," 2010
  • "Exploring Modernity in the Art of Krstić, Jovanović, and Predić," 2009
  • "Interpreting Western Academic Traditions in 19th-Century Serbian Painting," 2008
  • "Inspiration and Affirmation of Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Serbian Painting," 2005
  • "19th-Century Serbian Painting: A Confluence of Nationalism and Secularism," 2003


 Exhibition Catalogs include:

  • "Tradition and Innovation: Still Lifes that Move," Berkley Gallery, Warrenton, Virginia, 2008
  • "Patterns, Places, and Things," Richard Green Galleries, London,2002             
  • "Clay Varience," Embassy of Sweden, Washington DC, 1995
  • "Arthur Smith," College of Southern Maryland, 1993
  • "Anna Klumpke in Context," in Anna Klumpke,  Arizona State University, 1993
  • "Douglas H. Teller," Cosmos Club, Washington D.C., 1988
  • "Clarice Smith," Wildenstein Galleries, New  York, 1986. 
  • "Collecting as a Tradition in Art" in The Intimate Scale: Paintings from the Phillips Collection,  Dimock Gallery, Washington DC, 1983


Papers and Lectures at:

  • Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (2002-2015)
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Corcoran Gallery
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • University of Houston
  • American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association
  • Cosmos Club Annual Symposium
  • Columbian College Alumni Association
  • George Washington University Alumni Association
  • National Gallery Docents, Virginia Chapter
  • Woodward School of Fine Arts, Warrenton, Virginia
  • Guest Curator, Corcoran Gallery - "La Vie Moderne" and "Antoine-Louis Barye" exhibitions



BA (cum laude) in Art History, The George Washington University
MA in Art History - Classical Art & Archeology, The George Washington University
PhD in Art History, Johns Hopkins University


Professional Organizations

Previously served as:

  • President of the North American Society for Serbian Studies
  • Editorial Board, Serbian Studies journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies
  • Co-Editor of the Serbian Studies journal

At The George Washington University:

  • Chaired the Department of Fine Arts and Art History for 22 years
  • Elected to 16 terms as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate
  • Represented the faculty on Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees
  • Committee Member, Middle States Accreditation
  • President, Phi Beta Kappa, GWU Chapter
  • Faculty Representative, Alumni Association

Active member:

  • Numerous College, Faculty Senate and University Committees
  • University and Faculty Senate Special Task Forces
  • College and University Search Committees