A specialist in the history of nineteenth-century European art, Petra Chu has published extensively in this area. She is the author of a widely used college textbook, entitled Nineteenth-Century European Art, currently in its third edition, and one of the two, founding editors of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, an electronic journal devoted to nineteenth-century art (19thc-artworldwide.org).
As department chair for 21 years, she co-founded with Professor Emeritus Barbara Cate, the Master of Arts (M.A.) Program in Museum Professions, of which she is currently the director.
- Ph.D., Columbia University, 1972
- Doctoral degree, Utrecht University, Netherlands, 1967
- Diplome superieure, Sorbonne, France, 1961
- Qing Encounters: Artistic Exchanges between China and the West (co-edited with Ding Ning). Getty Publications, 2015.
- “Le ‘Marketing’ du Château de Chillon.” Essay in cat. exh. Gustave Courbet. Les années suisses (Geneva: Musée Rath, September 2014-January 2015), 186-193.
- “An Orphan in Church by Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 14, 1 (2015)
- Bibliographic Essay on Gustave Courbet
Oxford Bibliographies , 2015
- “Pathos et Mystère: La Figure de Fantaisie Endormie” (Pathos and Mystery: The Sleeping Fantasy Figure). Essay in cat. exh. Figures de Fantaisie, Toulouse (France), Musée des Augustins.
- Founding/Managing Editor, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide
- College Art Association's Distinguished Teacher of Art History Award
- IRCA Fellow, University of Sydney (2015)
- Fellow Getty Research Institute (2013)
- Netherlands Institute of Advanced Research (NIAS), Wassenaar, Netherlands (2004)
- Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra (2003)
- Whitney Art History Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York(1994-95)
- Princeton, Institute for Advanced Study, Fellowship (1990)
- National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Grant (1986-87)
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1986-87)