In 1995, she curated the Tate exhibition Dynasties: Painting in Tudor & Jacobean England 1530-1630, for which she received a European Woman of Achievement Award. She also curated the Van Dyck & Britain (2009) and Rubens & Britain (2011-12) shows, both at Tate Britain. Her 2002 Tate exhibition Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist established the theme of the ‘pregnancy portrait’, which will now be the subject of her forthcoming book (Tate Publishing).
The co-editor of Lady Anne Clifford: Culture, Patronage & Gender in 17th Century Britain, Leeds (2009), Karen Hearn’s other publications include: ‘The full-length portrait in early 17th-century Britain’, in The Suffolk Collection, Laura Houliston (ed.), Swindon (2012); ‘Lely and Holland’, in Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision, Courtauld Gallery exhibition catalogue (2012); and '"Picture-drawer, born at Antwerp": Migrant Artists in Jacobean London', in Painting in Britain 1500-1630, British Academy / National Portrait Gallery, forthcoming 2015.
Karen Hearn’s work focuses on art made in Britain between 1500 and 1710, and on British-Netherlandish cultural links during that period. Her small exhibition on the 17th-century portrait-painter Cornelius Johnson will run from 15 April to 13 September 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery in London; it is accompanied by a 72-page book, Cornelius Johnson (Paul Holberton Publishing).