"We historians just cannot raise the dead and put them on our couch."
Sir Ernst Gombrich (1909-2001)
"Some scholars, we know, offer little interest once we leave their writings: they are their work."
Hans Belting (b.1935 ), Dumbarton Oaks Papers 1991
". . . nothing, not even neglect, lasts forever."
Leo Steinberg, introduction to the reprint of his 1960 dissertation.
". . . [the] art historian will gradually disappear, no great loss either, you will admit."
Giovanni Morelli. Italian Painters: Critical Studies of Their Works
"In United States, it is axiomatic that the undertaker and the museum director arrive almost simultaneously."
John Walker, Self Portrait with Donors, 1974
"Academicians enter the museum with ideas, art connoisseurs leave it with [them]."
Max J. Friedländer
Biographical and methodological information about art historians can be difficult to find. Tucked away in obscure obituaries or foreign-language Festschriften, the basics of where an art historian trained or who his/her major influence was, or even what methodology the scholarship employs are often impossible to discern. This database is designed to give researchers a beginning point to learning the background of major art historians of western art history.
This dictionary is a compilation of art historians mentioned in major art historiographies. Additional names have been added to balance for gender or other neglected categories. Historians included here are the selection of the authors of those historiographies, and not generally the editor's. This site is not intended to be a Who's Who of Art Historians (other works do that job already). Please note that the Dictionary of Art Historians is a work in progress; entries which contain an historian's name and little else are yet to be completed.
History of this Project
The Dictionary of Art Historians began in the fall of 1986 by indexing the historians cited in Eugene Kleinbauer's Research Guide to the History of Western Art (1982) and his Modern Perspectives in Western Art History (1971), neither of which possessed an extensive index. Heinrich Dilly's Kunstgeschichte als Institution (1979) and some of Kultermann's Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte (1966), [the latter then only available in German] were added. The project remained dormant for a few years in card file format. In the interim, a myriad of art historiographies appeared or were reprinted. In 1996, the card project was transferred into an electronic form.
Lee Sorensen, the editor, received his graduate degrees in art history and library science both from The University of Chicago. His articles include "Art Bibliographies: A Survey of their Development, 1595-1821" Library Quarterly 56 (January 1986): 31-55 and the entries on "Art Catalogs and Cataloging" in the Dictionary of Art (1996) IV: 20-29. He served as the consultant for art historians for the Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography (1994) and twice served on the executive board of the Art Libraries Society of North America (1996-98). He was that society's web administrator from 1998-99. For the past twenty years he has been art reference librarian and bibliographer at Duke University. He has been on the advisory board for Oxford University Press' Dictionary of Art since 2004.
Belgian & Dutch Historians
Monique Daniels (MD) began writing entries on Dutch and Belgian art historians in 2000. She studied art history at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and later at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, where she graduated in 1983. Her main interests are in Dutch and Flemish medieval art and architecture as well as in the art of the sixteenth century and the Dutch Golden Age. She worked for many years at the Municipal Art Museum of Leiden and as a docent with the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University.
Duke University undergraduate Clare Counihan performed the initial task of retyping everything from note cards into computer-readable files. Jennifer "Gigi" Dillion, then a graduate student in Duke's Department of Art and Art History, indexed the books in the summer of 1998. She's responsible for the entries contained in Bazin's Histoire de l'histoire de l'art. Craig Pepin, at the time a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Duke, indexed the Archäologenbildnisse. Lanitra Walker, another graduate student in art history, created the essays which bear her initials, LMW. Neil Stratford advised generously on the medievalist biographies. Corina Stan (CS), a graduate student in Duke's Program in Literature, wrote many of the entries on Spanish-language art historians.
Antje Lemke provided the editor with files and encouragement he never would have been able to find. ARLIS (Art Libraries Society) members continue to advise on substantive changes without receiving their due credit. Robert Woodman Wadsworth (late of the University of Chicago Libraries and Library School) set a standard for bibliography after whom this work is patterned. Len Klekner first pointed out to the editor when both were graduate students how art historians' intellectual lineage is inextricably bound to their personal lives and education. A. Craig Hawbaker, librarian at the University of the Pacific, was a huge influence in my professional and personal life. Max Marmor, currently President of the Kress Foundation, many years ago helped shape this project with his insights on the discipline. Family and friends of individual scholars have assisted greatly.