William H. Gerdts
Jersey City, NJ
Americanist art historian. Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Gerdts attended Amherst College beginning in 1945 where fellow student Walter Spink (later professor of art, University of Michigan) encouraged him to take classes with Charles Morgan. Morgan, a classicist, taught American and 19th-century European art history as a subspecialty. Morgan instilled in his students an appreciation for all of the art of a period, not just the currently acclaimed masters. According to Gerdts, Morgan and Louise Dresser, curator of the Worster Art Museum, developed in him an early appreciation of American art. He received his BA from Amherst College(1949). Although enrolled in Harvard Law School, Gerdts switched to the Department of Fine Arts where he studied under Ben Rowland (q.v.). He achieved both master's degree (1950) and Ph.D., (1966). After graduation, he was curator at the Norfolk Museum of Art and Sciences (now, Chrysler Museum) between 1953-54 and the Newark [NJ] Museum (1954-66). From 1966-69 he taught as associate professor, University of Maryland, then Brooklyn College 1971-74, and as full professor at Brooklyn College 1974-85. In 1985 he became professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received an honorary doctor of fine arts from Syracuse University (1996).
American Luminism: a Benefit for The Lighthouse, the New York Association for the Blind, October 25th to November 25th, 1978. New York: Coe Kerr Gallery, 1978; American Impressionism. New York: Abbeville Press, c1984; American Neo-Classic Sculpture; the Marble Resurrection. New York: Viking Press, 1973; American Still-Life Painting.(with Russell Burke). New York: Praeger, 1971. 0.DOA
C. McGee. "Lost in Americana." New York 23 (September 10, 1990): 25; Who's Who in American Art 22 (1997-98): 425; William H. Gerdts. "A Personal Re-Collection." For Beauty and For Truth: The William and Abigail Gerdts Collection of American Still Life. Amherst, MA: Mead Art Museum, 1998, pp. 10-30.