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W. Eugene “Gene” Kleinbauer Dies

    W. Eugene Kleinbauer died in Bloomington, IN, where he had been professor of art history at Indiana University.  Though a Byzantinist, many considered him the father of art historiography in the United States While still a professor of art history at UCLA, Kleinbauer wrote Modern Perspectives in Western Art History, 1971, which would become the cornerstone survey of art history departments nationwide teaching art methods- and art-historiography classes.  It, and Udo Kultermann’s Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte (then only available in German) were the basis of this Dictionary of Art Historians founded in 1983.  Kleinbauer’s book created developmental history of art history in 105 pages with accompanying primary source texts and an introduction to each reading.  Many of these readings (all in English translation) were buried in obscure sources, if translated at all.  He grouped the methods of art history into “!ntrinsic Perspectives” (connoisseurship, formalism, iconology) and “Extrinsic Perspectives” (psychological approaches, Marxism and Geistesgeschichte) followed by primary examples of each.  Only Readings in Art History (1969) by Harold Spencer can be thought to have preceded this;  that work, however, did not attempt a history of the discipline.

    Kleinbauer’s second introductory text to art history, Research Guide to the History of Western Art, 1982, written together with Thomas Slavens, built on the earlier work, providing a tool for historiographc scholarship.  Since these, the field has blossomed for English-language scholars with a host of sources, translations, and essays.  

    Lee Sorensen, editor