The Wit Collection: Art History Jokes 1

Few academics write jokes about their discipline; their publication is not perhaps a certain pathway to tenure or promotion. It may even be worse than coming out as a conservative.

Art historian Dr. Mark Stocker decided, however, that enough was enough. He has written over 200 jokes and sought to publish them. After numerous rebuffs from newspapers, professional journals and even blogs, he has at last found a saviour in the Postil Magazine.

As too many jokes may be injurious to the health, he proposes drip-feeding five a month over the next few months – or if necessary years, as more may well be written. Should any readers outside the discipline find the jokes a touch esoteric, Dr Stocker is willing to explain them – with a smile on his face. He may be contacted through this magazine.


Who is the god-awful, deadly French theorist that hip art historians so liked to quote, c. 1980? … Bourdieu.

Which resort did an eminent, quirky Bauhaus painter like to go to for his holidays? …Kleethorpes.

Who was the boss of the aforementioned Bauhaus painter who got into trouble for inappropriate behaviour? … Walter Gropius.

What was Gertrude’s favourite drink in Parisian cafes, c. 1912? … Steinlager.

A philosophically contorted art historian was asked to give a lecture on Belgian Symbolist sculpture. He commenced his lecture thus: ‘What do I mean by Minne?’

Matty taking Dr. Stocker out for a stroll at their friend Jane’s estate, in Cust, New Zealand

Dr Mark Stocker is a former academic and art curator who lives in New Zealand. Besides his jokes, he has 230 marginally more serious publications, many of which are on Victorian public monuments, numismatics and New Zealand art. His book When Britain Went Decimal: The Coinage of 1971 will be published by the Royal Mint in 2021.

The image shows, “Youth Making A Face” by Adriaen Brouwer, painted ca. 1632–1635.