Jean-François Bédard

B.Arch, M.Arch, McGill University; M.Phil., Ph.D., Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University

Professor Jean-François Bédard specializes in the theory and practice of French architecture during the long eighteenth century. His teaching has focused on the social rituals and political values of court society in relation to architecture, decoration, and ornament. He has investigated the parallels between rhetoric and architectural design, the invention of the modern architect, and the interrelationship between architecture, ornament, and fashion in the ‘spectacular’ politics of the Ancien Regime.

Professor Bédard completed his graduate studies in 2003 at Columbia University, where he studied with Professors Robin Middleton, Barry Bergdoll, and Joseph Connors in the Department of Art History and Archeology. His dissertation centered on the domestic work of the French architect Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672-1742), a preeminent figure of the French Regency. Bédard has developed aspects of this research as a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art and the Humanities, a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and a Visiting Scholar at the Institut d’histoire de l’art in Paris. His first book related to that project, Decorative Games: Ornament, Rhetoric, and Noble Culture in the Work of Gilles-Marie Oppenord (University of Delaware Press, 2011) traces the importance of noble rituals in the creative process of a court architect such as Oppenord.

Prior to coming to Syracuse, Bédard was Assistant Curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, 1991-95.


  • Curator, “Cities of Artificial Excavation: Works by Peter Eisenman, 1978-1988,” Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, 1994

Grants and Awards

  • Production and Presentation Grant, Graham Foundation, 2008-2009
  • J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art and the Humanities, 2004-2005
  • Visiting Scholar, Institunational d’histoire de l’art, Paris, France, June-August 2009
  • Fellowship in the History of Art at Foreign Institutions, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1999-2001
  • Visiting Scholar, Canadian Centre for Architecture, June-September 2005

Lectures and Papers

  • ‘From Hommes de Goût to Hommes de Bien: Decoding Portraits of Artists and Architects in Eighteenth-Century France,’ 37th Annual Meeting, The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Montreal (30 March -1 April 2006)
  • ‘Oppenord in Italy: The French Academy in Rome and the Debate over the Baroque,’ College Art Association 97th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA (27 February 2009)’
  • The Mondain and the Burlesque: Conversation and Gaming in Gilles-Marie Oppenord’s Ornamental Designs,’ College Art Assocation 93rd Annual Conference, Atlanta (16-19 February 2005)
  • Session chair, ‘Architecture and Rhetoric after Renaissance Humanism (1600-1900),’ The Society of Architectural Historians 59th Annual Meeting, Savannah, GA (26-29 April 2006)
  • ‘Rhetoric and Surprise in Eighteenth-Century Interiors,’ American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 39th Annual Meeting, Portland, OR (27 March 2008)


  • Decorative Games: Ornament, Rhetoric, and Noble Culture in the Work of Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672-1742) Newark, DE: The University of Delaware Press (2011)
  • Political Renewal and Architectural Revival during the French Regency: Oppenord’s Palais-Royal,’ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 68, no. 1 (March 2009) 30-51
  • Catalogue entries in Carlo Scarpa: Intervening with History (New York: Monacelli Press), 1999
  • Catalogue entries in Henry A. Millon, ed., The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe, 1600-1750 (Milan: Bompiani, 1999)
  • The Measure of Expression: Physiognomy and Character in the ‘Nouvelle Méthode’ of Jean-Jacques Lequeu,’ Chora 1, 35-56 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1994
  • Editor, Cities of Artificial Excavations: The Work of Peter Eisenman, 1978-1988 (New York: Rizzoli International Publications

Administration and Service

  • Graduate Chair, Syracuse Architecture, 2013 - 2016