Laugh Lines book cover by Julia Langbein

Laugh Lines: Caricaturing Painting in Nineteenth-Century France was published in March 2022 by Bloomsbury Visual Arts. It’s the first book about Salon caricature, a kind of graphic art criticism in which press artists drew comic versions of contemporary painting and sculpture.  This archival study unearths colorful caricatures that have not been reproduced until now, drawing back the curtain on a robust culture of laughter around fine art and its reception in nineteenth-century France.


“Julia Langbein’s engaging and impeccably researched volume provides an excellent addition to the growing literature on nineteenth-century caricature, a defining visual genre of the modern era, and will become required reading for anyone interested in art headquartered in nineteenth-century Paris.” 

S. Hollis Clayson, Bergen Evans Professor Emerita in the Humanities and Professor Emerita of Art History, Northwestern University, USA

“In this enthralling study, distinctive but neglected artists like Bertall and Cham benefit from being compared with Daumier and Nadar in a wide-ranging historical analysis which explores the rich variety of nineteenth-century printmaking techniques.”

Stephen Bann, Emeritus Professor of History of Art, Bristol University, UK

Laugh Lines makes a significant contribution to our understanding of cultural and artistic changes in France from the 1840s to the 1880s. It offers an important corrective to the historiography on caricature and modernist painting, and illuminates shifting relations between visual art, literature, and journalism.”

Jillian Lerner, Instructor in Media History, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Canada

Over the past two years, I’ve been thinking about old age and its relationship with visual culture. I’ve been co-Investigator of this Wellcome Trust-funded project and am co-editor of a volume entitled Framing Ageing: Interdisciplinary Approaches for Humanities and Social Science Research (Bloomsbury, 2024).  I’m working on a book about how the first public crises of population ageing shaped art and visual culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Some of my other academic writing is accessible here