Michael Howard

Michael taught the History of Art and life drawing at the Manchester School of Art for many years. He and his wife the painter Ghislaine Howard [also a gallery artist] lived in London and Paris before returning to their native north-west in 1980. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of the Arts Society Bolton. Michael has curated many exhibitions and he and Ghislaine travel world-wide lecturing on art topics although over recent years their involvement with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford have taken centre stage.

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Michael Howard is a scholar, writer, curator and artist, born in 1954. Michael is author of many books, including ‘L.S. Lowry, A Visionary Artist’, ‘The Human Touch’, [a study of Ghislaine’s life and work] as well as books on Goya, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin. He is currently working on a two volume study of the Wigan born painter, Theodore Major and trying to find time to finish his novel, ‘The Emperor’s Man’ that centres upon Albrecht Dürer’’s search for a unicorn. A book of his paintings and poems, ‘Being There’ has been recently published by Gnobilis Press.


1978-80, Courtauld Institute of Art, M.A. in the History of Art
1974, Newcastle Upon Tyne Polytechnic, B.A. hons in the History of Modern Art and Design)
1972, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (Foundation Year, Fine Art)
1965-72, Liverpool Institute High School for Boys

Full-time Employment

1980-2016, Manchester Metropolitan University: former Head of School of the History of Art; Director of Postgraduate Studies in Visual Culture.
1979-1980, Lecturer at the Institute of American Universities, Aix-en-Provence

Part-time Employment

2019 – to the present: Consultancy work with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
2014-2020 Life Drawing Tutor, M.M.U.
1978-1980 Open University, [seasonal]
1978-1982 Campus Director, Paris, American Leadership Study Groups, [seasonal]

Professional Activities

Lecture tours in France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand from 1979 until the present.
Visiting professor at EPI, Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, USA,1996-8
Member of the panel for the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) 1990 – 1993.
Member of Manchester Cathedral’s Art Committee, 2015-2019.
President of Arts Society Bolton
Represented by Wendy J. Levy Fine Art

Documentary Films

Degas and the Dance, directed by Mischa Scorer, world-wide distribution, recipient of the numerous awards including the Peabody Award, 2003

A New Order: An Evening at the Cabaret Voltaire, MMU, 1996

Selected Exhibitions Tib Lane Gallery, 1996-2000, New York Fine Art Fair, Manchester University, Righton Gallery and Holden Gallery, Royal Academy, Wendy Levy Gallery from 1995 onwards

Selected publications:

Embracing Manchester, MMU, 2018
The Human Touch, Ghislaine Howard, Paintings, Drawings and Prints, MMU, 2016
L.S. Lowry, University of Nottingham and the ACGB, 2013
The World of Monet, André Deutsche, in association with Musée Marmottan, 2007, 2013
UPclose, Manchester Art Gallery, Scala, 2002
Gauguin, Dorling Kindersley in association with the Gauguin Museum, Tahiti, 1992, 1999
Stations of the Cross / the Captive Figure, Liverpool Hope University Press, 1998
A New Order: An Evening at the Cabaret Voltaire, MMU, 1996
Techniques of the Masters: Whistler, Chartwell Books,1989
Techniques of the Masters: Goya, Chartwell Books, 1990

Personal Statement

I was Programme Leader in the School of the History of Art and Design, Course Leader in the M.A. in Visual Culture at the Manchester Metropolitan University where I taught both academic and studio based students. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of the Arts Society Bolton.

After leaving the university in 2016, I have continued to work as an independent scholar, writer, lecturer, painter, sculptor, curator, printmaker and ceramicist. I have curated and participated in many exhibitions both here and abroad. In 2007 I represented the U.K. at the international Biennial Arts Festival (Nature/Human) held in Varna, Bulgaria. Amongst the numerous curated exhibitions I have organised are ‘Altered Images’ at the Righton Gallery, MMU and the Manchester Art Gallery; ’Painting in Focus’, at The Lowry and ‘Bibliomania’ which travelled internationally. I work closely with my wife, the painter Ghislaine Howard, and together we have curated numerous exhibitions of her work in major galleries and other less traditional venues.

I have authored a number of major monographs, most notably on Lowry, (in association with The Lowry) Monet, (in association with the Musée Marmottan, Paris), Goya, Gauguin, (in association with the Gauguin Museum, Tahiti), Whistler, Cézanne, and, not least a major publication concerning the work of Ghislaine. Many of these books have have been translated for an international readership. In the 1990s I worked with Richard Kendall on the development of a highly successful series of art books for Dorling Kindersley. I have exhibited at the Royal Academy, Derby Museum and Art Gallery and elsewhere and I have work in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery and numerous private collections in the UK and abroad. I have featured on television and radio many times and is the recipient of various awards including the prestigious Peabody award and the M.E.N. award for best Fringe Drama at the Manchester International City of Drama, 1996.

From the beginning of my professional career, I have tried to bring a creative and inclusive understanding and a greater awareness of the joys and challenges that art can offer to as broad an audience as possible. To this end I decided to centre my professional practice in the art school sector as well as lecturing and working in the broader public arena when I could – hence I have worked with schools, young people and older people, lecturing, talking and sharing my expertise with groups in schools, hospices, refuges, centres for vulnerable, etc.. Working with my wife I have worked with Amnesty International, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and various interfaith groups – a fascinating area of work that has spun off from my engagement with Cathedrals and one of my long-running courses at MMU ‘Representing the Unrepresentable: Art and Spirituality’.

The milieu of the Manchester School of Art was a supportive atmosphere that was much more responsive than many academic institutions in providing access to non-mainstream students and gave me the opportunity to develop such innovative courses that were far from the normal ‘academic’ kind – if that word is interpreted in the narrow, pejorative sense. I developed and taught a number of innovative approaches to my subject, one of which was to introduce poetry as a useful element to nurture a more sensitive and exacting approach to critical looking, thinking and writing than was traditionally expected from students [and others].

I have also introduced these ideas to many non-academic audiences to encourage them to develop a more intimate and ‘useful’ relationship with art.