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Concepts & Bibliography

The Dictionary of Art Historians team has relied on a number of sources, academic structures, and historiographies related to art history and art historians over the years. Sources and information we’ve gathered:

The Art Bulletin has issued various series on methodology and art historiography. Originally titled, “The Crisis in the Discipline,” these essays subsequently appeared as “The State of Research” and “The State of Art History”. See also the second set of related essays, below.

  • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. “The State of Research on Ancient Art” (initial essay) 68 (March 1986): 7-23 (see Hood response, below)
  • Hood, William. “In Defense of Art History: A Response to Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway.” 68 (September 1986): 480-481, Ridgway response, 481-482.
  • Silver, Larry. “Northern European Art of the Renaissance Era.” 68 (December 1986): 518-535.
  • Hindman, Sandra. “This Illustrated Book: an Addendum to the State of Research in Northern Renaissance Art.” 68 (December 1986): 536-542.
  • Shiff, Richard. “Art History and the Nineteenth Century: Realism and Resistance.” 70 (March 1988): 25-49.
  • Kuspit, Donald. “Conflicting Logic: Twentieth Century Art at the Cross Roads.” 69 (March 1987): 117-132.
  • Hood, William. “Italian Renaissance Art.” 69 (June 1987): 174-186.
  • Gouma-Peterson, Thalia, and Patricia Mathews. “The Feminist Critique of Art History.” 69 (September 1987): 326-357.
  • Cropper, Elizabeth and Charles Dempsey. “Italian Painting of the Seventeenth Century.” 69 (December 1987): 494-509.
  • Haverkamp-Begemann, Egbert. “Northern Baroque Art.” 69 (December 1987): 510-519.
  • Spector, Jack. “The State of Psychoanalytic Research in Art History.” 70 (March 1988): 49-76.
  • Stafford, Barbara Maria. “The Eighteenth Century: Towards an Interdisciplinary Model.” 70 (March 1988): 6-25.
  • Spector, Jack J. “The State of Psychoanalytic Research in Art History.” (March 1988): 49-76.
  • Russell, H. Diane. “On the State of Research Series.” (March 1988): 138 (letter remarking on the ongoing series).
  • Posner, Donald. “On the State of Research in Italian Baroque Art.” 70 (March 1988): 494-509 (letter in reference to the Cropper/Dempsey article).
  • Kessler, Herbert L. “On the State of Medieval Art History.” 70 (June 1988): 166-87.
  • Trachtenberg, Marvin .”Some Observations on Recent Architectural History.” 70 (June 1988): 208-41.
  • Pepper, Steven D. “An Exchange on the State of Research in Italian 17th-century Painting.” 71 (June 1989): 305-309 (refers to the Cropper/Dempsey article, above).
  • Sandler, Lucy Freeman. “An Exchange on The State of Medieval Art History.” 71 (September 1989): 506-07 (refers to the Kessler article, above).
  • Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall. “Japanese Art History 2001: the State and Stakes of Research.” (March 2001): 105-22.
  • Nickel, Douglas R. “The History of Photography: The State of Research.” (September 2001): 548-58.
  • Westermann, Mariët. After Iconography and Iconoclasm: Current Research in Netherlandish Art, 1566-1700.” (June 2002): 351-372.

An additional Art Bulletin series addressing methodology and art historiography appeared in the 1990s under the theme, “A Range of Critical Perspectives.”

  • “The Object of Art History.” [essays series] Art Bulletin 76 (September 1994): 394-410
  • “The Problematics of Collecting and Display.” [essay series] Art Bulletin 77 (March 1995): 6-24, specifically, Berlo, Janet Catherine, and Phillips, Ruth B. “Our (Museum) World Turned Upside Down: Re-presenting Native American Arts.” pp. 6-10; Duncan, Carol. “The Art Museum as Ritual.” pp. 10-13; Preziosi, Donald. “Museology and Museography.” pp. 13-15; Rice, Dannielle. “Museum Education Embracing Uncertainty.” pp. 15-20; Rorimer, Anne. “Reevaluating the Object of Collecting and Display.” pp. 21-24.
  • “Aesthetics, Ethnicity, and the History of Art” [essay series]. Art Bulletin 78 (December 1996): 594-621, specifically, Pohl, Frances K. “Putting a Face on Difference.” pp. 616-21; Biddick, Kathleen. “Paper Jews: Inscription/Ethnicity/Ethnography.” pp. 594-9; Clarke, John R. “‘Just Like Us’: Cultural Constructions of Sexuality and Race in Roman Art.” pp. 599-603; Eisenman, Stephen F. “Triangulating Racism.” pp. 603-9; Okoye, Ikems Stanley. “Tribe and Art History.” pp. 610-15.
  • “Rethinking the Canon.” [essay series] Art Bulletin 78 (June 1996): 198-217, specifically, Celik, Zeynep. “Colonialism, Orientalism, and the Canon.” pp. 202-5; Onians, John. “World Art Studies and the Need for a New Natural History of Art.” pp. 206-9; Rifkin, Adrian. “Theory as a Place.” pp. 209-12; Steiner, Christopher B. “Can the Canon Burst?” pp. 213-17; Camille, Michael. “Prophets, Canons, and Promising Monsters.” pp. 198-201.

Ancient Art Historians

  • Ancient Art and its Historiography. Donohue, A. A., and Fullerton, Mark D., eds. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Pollitt, J. J. “Introduction.” The Art of Ancient Greece: Sources and Documents. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974, pp. 1-9.
  • Tanner, Jeremy. The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.


  • Arnold, Dana. Reading Architectural History. London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Concerning Architecture: Essays on Architectural Writers and Writing Presented to Nikolaus Pevsner. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1968.
  • MacDougall, Elizabeth B., editor. The Architectural Historian in America: a Symposium in Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Society of Architectural Historians. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1990.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus. Some Architectural Writers of the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.
  • Tournikiotis, Panayotis. The Historiography of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.
  • Watkin, David. The Rise of Architectural History. London: Architectural Press, 1980.

Historians of Ancient Art

  • Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988. Indexed 9/98 CP
  • Breaking Ground (see under “Women”).
  • Brendel, Otto. Prolegomena to the Study of Roman Art, Expanded from “Prolegomena to a Book on Roman Art”. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
  • Cook, Robert Manuel. “The History of the Study of Vase-Painting.” Greek Painted Pottery. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 1997, pp. 275-311.
  • Classical Scholarship: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Briggs, Ward W., and Calder, William M., III, eds. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 928. New York: Garland Publishing, 1990.
  • Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. 2 vols. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.
  • “Excavating the old Kingdom: The Egyptian Archaeologists.” pp. 155-65, in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999.
  • Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. “Prologomena to a Historiography of Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture.” Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture: An Annotated Bibliography and Historiography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1992, pp. xxiii-cxxiii.
  • Marchand, Suzanne L. Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Medwid, Linda M. The Makers of Classical Archaeology: A Reference Work. New York: Humanity Books, 2000.
  • Pallottino, Masimo. Civiltà artistica etrusco-italica. Florence: Sansoni, 1971. Describes Italian archaeological work in Etruscan sites.


  • Bober, Harry. “Foreward.” The Living Theatre of Medieval Art. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1967, pp. xiii-xviii. Short methodological introduction to medieval art history through the 1960s.
  • Cantor, Norman F. Inventing the Middle Ages: the Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century. New York: W. Morrow, 1991.
  • Grodecki, Louis. “Definitions and Theories/Historical and Physical Circumstances.” Gothic Architecture. (History of World Architecture, “Abrams Gray” series). New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977, pp. 9-34.
  • Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline. Volume 3: Philosophy and the Arts. Edited by Helen Damico. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 2110. New York: Garland Publishing, 2000.
  • Frankl, Paul. The Gothic: Literary Sources and Interpretations through Eight Centuries. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960.
  • “Modern Goths: Modern Scholars of Gothic Art and Architecture.” Mapping Gothic France (website).
  • Rudolf, Conrad. “Introduction: A Sense of Loss: An Overview of the Historiography of Romanesque and Gothic Art.” A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006, pp. 1-43.


  • Burke, Peter. Culture and Society in Renaissance Italy, 1420-1540. New York: Scribner, 1972. Chapter 1 “Historiographers of the Renaissance.”

Historians of Renaissance Art

  • Law, John E., and Østermark-Johansen, Lene, eds. Victorian and Edwardian responses to the Italian Renaissance.  Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005; 2nd ed., e-version only, 2016.

Native American

  • The Early Years of Native American Art History. Janet Catherine Berlo, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992.

Northern Renaissance

  • Ridderbos, Bernhard. “From Waagen to Friedländer.” in, Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception, Research. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005, pp. 218-251.
  • see also, entries under “Historians — Netherlands,” in the Art Historians by Region list.


  • Kubler, George. Esthetic Recognition of Ancient Amerindian Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.


  • Palmer, Sheridan. Centre of the Periphery Three European Art Historians in Melbourne. Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008.


  • Aslanapa, Oktay. Türkiye’de Avusturyali sanat tarihçileri ve sanatkârlar: özellikle Atatürk devri’nde [Österreichische Kunsthistoriker und Künstler in der Türkei]. Beyoglu, Istanbul: Eren, 1993.
  • Bakos, Ján. “The Vienna School’s Views of the Structure of the Art Historical Process.”  Akten des XXV. internationalen Kongress für Kunstgeschichte. Vienna, 1983, i, pp. 117–22.
  • Białostocki, Jan. “Museum Work and History in the Development of the Vienna School.” Akten des XXV. internationalen Kongress für Kunstgeschichte. Vienna, 1983, i, pp. 9–15.
  • Hart, John. “Some Reflections on Wölfflin and the Vienna School.” Akten des XXV. internationalen Kongress für Kunstgeschichte. Vienna, 1983, i, pp. 53–64.
  • Höflechner, Walter, and Pochat, Götz, eds. 100 Jahre Kunstgeschichte an der Universität Graz: mit einem Ausblick auf die Geschichte des Faches an den deutschsprachigen österreichischen Universitäten bis in das Jahr 1938.  Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1992.
  • Ettlinger, Leopold, moderator.  Wien und die Entwicklung der kunsthistorischen Methode.  Internationalen Kongresses für Kunstgeschichte 1. Vienna: Böhlau, 1984.
  • Schlosser, Julius von. “Die Wiener Schule der Kunstgeschichte.” Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Instituts für Geschforschungen 13 no. 2 (1934): 145–226.
  • Shapiro, Meyer.  “The New Viennese School.”  Review of Kunstwissenschaftliche Forschungen II.  Art Bulletin 18 no. 2 (June 1936):  258-66.
  • Stadler, Friedrich and Weibel, Peter, eds. The Cultural Exodus from Austria. New York: Springer, 1995.
  • Verband österreichischer Kunsthistorikerinnen und Kunsthistoriker (online reference source).
  • The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s.  Christopher Wood, ed.  New York: Zone Books, 2000.
  • Wiener Schule: Erinnerung und PerspektivenWiener Jahrbuch fur Kunstgeschichte 53 (2004).  Entire issue devoted to essays on the Vienna school art historians.
  • see also, Hungary.


  • Ringbom, Sixten.  Art History in Finland Before 1920.   History of Learning and Science in Finland, 1828-1918:  15b.  Helsinki:  Finnish Society of Sciences, 1986.
  • The Shaping of Art History in Finland.  Helsinki: Taidehistorian Seura, 2007.


  • Bruneau, Philippe. “Précédé de L’Archéologie grecque en Sorbonne de 1876 à 1914.” in Charle, Christophe, and Bruneau, Philippe, eds. Études d’archéologie grecque. Paris: Picard, 1992.
  • Histoire de l’histoire de l’art en France au XIXe siècle études réunies et publiées. Paris: La Documentation française, 2008.
  • Therrien, Lyne, and Monnier, Gérard. L’histoire de l’art en France: genèse d’une discipline universitaire. Paris: Editions du C.T.H.S., 1998.
  • Le dictionnaire des historiens de l’art actifs en France [website]. Institut national d’histoire de l’art.


  • Beyer, Andreas. Zehn Klassiker der Kunstgeschichte: Eine Einführung. Cologne: Dumont, 1996.
  • Dilly, Heinrich. Deutsche Kunsthistoriker, 1933-1945.  Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1988.
  • Doll, Nikola, and Fuhrmeister, Christian, and Sprenger, Michael. Kunstgeschichte im Nationalsozialismus: Beiträge zur Gechichte einer Wissenschaft zwischen 1930 und 1950. Weimar: VDG, Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 2005.
  • Eberlein, Kurt Karl. Die deutsche Litterärgeschichte der Kunst im 18. Jahrhundert: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Kunstwissenschaft. Karlsruhe: Müller, 1919.
  • Espagne, Michel, and Savoy, Bénédicte, eds. Dictionnaire des historiens d’art allemands. Paris: CNRS, 2010
  • German Essays on Art History.  Gert Schiff, ed.  New York: Continuum, 1988. [SGE] An excellent introduction.
  • Die Geschichte des Kunstgeschichtlichen Institutes der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt 1915-1995.  Frankfurter Fundamente der Kunstgeschichte 17.  Frankfurt am Main: Kunstgeschichtliches Institut der Universität Frankfurt, 2002.
  • Hofner-Kulenkamp, Gabriele. Kunsthistorikerinnen im Exil.  2 vols.  Unpublished dissertation, Hamburg University, 1991.
  • Hofner-Kulenkamp, Gabriele.  “Kennen  Sie Sabine Gova? Deutschsprachige Kunsthistorikerinnen im Exil.” Kritische Berichte 22 no. 4 (1994): 35-43.
  • Hüttinger, Eduard; and Boehm, Gottfried.  Porträts und Profile:  zur Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte. St. Gallen: Erker, 1992.
  • Karlholm, Dan. Art of Illusion: the Representation of Art History in Nineteenth-century Germany and Beyond. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.
  • Kirchner Paulconrad.  Deutsche Kunsthistoriker seit der Jahrhundertwende. Dissertation, Göttingen, 1948.
  • Kunstgeschichte in der Nachkriegszeit 1945-55 [website]. Eine Dokumentation zur Lehr- und Forschungstätigkeit an kunstgeschichtlichen Universitätsinstituten in Deutschland in den Jahren 1945 bis 1955.
  • Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, and 2nd ed., 2007.
  • Michels, Karen.  Transplantierte Kunstwissenschaft:  deutschsprachige Kunstgeschichte im amerikanischen Exil.  Studien aus dem Warburg-Haus no. 2.  Berlin:  Akademie, 1999.  A revised dissertation from the University of Hamburg.
  • Petropoulos, Jonathan.  Chapter 4, “Art Historians,” in The Faustian Bargain:  The Art World in Nazi Germany.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Überblick:  Ästhetische Moderne und Nationalsozialismus:  Kunsthistoriker und Künstler 1925-1937.  Published in conjunction with the Ferdinand-Möller Foundation and the Nationalgalerie Berlin.  Cologne:  Walter König, 1999.
  • Waetzoldt, Wilhelm.  Deutsche Kunsthistoriker vom Sandrart bis Justi.  2 vols.  Leipzig:  E. A. Seeman, 1921-24.  [WDK];  second, unaltered, single-volume edition, Berlin: Bruno Hessling, 1965.
    • Waetzoldt has a separate bibliography in the back of each volume outlining biographical literature on the art historians discussed in his text.
  • Waetzoldt, Wilhelm. Bildnisse deutscher Kunsthistoriker.  Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1921.  [A condensed version of the above title.]
  • Wendland, Ulrike. Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler. Munich: Saur, 1999.


  • Marosi, Erno.  Die Ungarische Kunstgeschichte und die Wiener Schule, 1846-1930. Collegium Hungaricum, Wien, September 1983.  Budapest: Statistischer Verlag, 1983.


  • Agosti, Giacomo. La nascita della storia dell’arte in Italia: Adolfo Venturi, dal museo all’università, 1880-1940.  Venice: Marsilio, 1996.
  • Hope, Charles. “Historians of Venetian Painting.” in The Genius of Venice, 1500-1600. New York: Abrams, 1984.
  • Previtali, Giovanni.  “The Periodization of Italian Art History.”  History of Italian Art.  vol. 2  Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994, pp. 1-118.
  • Samek Ludovici, Sergio. Storici, teorici e critici delle arti figurative d’Italia dall 1800 al 1940. Enciclopedia biografica e bibliografica “Italiana.” vol. 4. Rome: Tosi, 1942 (reprint, 1946).
  • La storia dell’arte nella scuola italiana : storia, strumenti, prospettive. Rome: Carocci, 2003.


  • Kunstgeschiedenis in Nederland:  negen Opstellen.  Contributions by Hecht, Peter, Hoogenboom, Annemieke, and Stolwijk, Chris.  Amsterdam:  Prometheus, 1998.
  • Lugt, Frits.  “History of Art.”  In, The Contribution of Holland to the Sciences:  A Symposium.  A. J. Barnouw and B. Landheer, eds.  New York:  Querido, 1943, pp. 179-211.
  • Marcus-de Groot, Yvette.  Kunsthistorische vrouwen van weleer: de eerste generatie in nederland vóór 1921.  Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, 2003.

South Asia

  • Chandra, Pramod.  On the Study of Indian Art.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 1983.


  • Brown, Jonathan. “Observations on the Historiography of Seventeenth-century Spanish Painting.” Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-century Spanish Painting.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978, pp.  3–18.
  • Ceán Bermudez, Juan Agustin.  Diccionario historico de los mas illustres professores de las bellas artes en España.  6 vols.  Madrid: En la impr. de la viuda de Ibarra, 1800.
  • Diccionario de historiadores españoles del arte. Borrás Gualis, Gonzalo M., and Reyes Pacios Lozano, Ana, eds. Madrid: Cátedra, 2006.
  • Fontbona, Francesco.  “Historiografia de l’art catalana.”  Historia de la historiogria catalana.  Albert Balcells, ed.  Barcelona:  Institut d’estudies catanas, 2003, pp. 271-300.
  • Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio.  Historia de la crítica de arte en España.  Madrid: Ibérico Europea de Ediciones, 1975.
  • Hellwig, Karin.  Die spanische Kunstliteratur im 17. Jahrundert. Kunsthistorische Studien der Carl Justi-Vereinigung 3.  Frankfurt am Main:  Vervuert Verlag, 1996. Chapters 4 and 5.


  • Nordenfalk, Carl. “Art History–The American Way.” in, Bauer, Göran, and Kastrup, Allan, eds. Partners in Progress: a Chapter in the American-Swedish Exchange of Knowledge: Essays. Sumner, MD: Swedish Council of America, 1977, pp. 147-164.


  • Junod, Philippe, and Kaenel, Philippe.  Critiques d’art de suisse romande: de Töpffer à Budry: [publication de la section d’histoire de l’art, Faculté des lettres de l’université de Lausanne]. Lausanne: Editions Payot Lausanne, 1993.


  • Aslanapa, Oktay. Türkiye’de Avusturyali sanat tarihçileri ve sanatkârlar: özellikle Atatürk devri’nde [Österreichische Kunsthistoriker und Künstler in der Türkei]. Beyoglu, Istanbul: Eren, 1993.

United States

  • Corn, Wanda M.  “Coming of Age: Historical Scholarship in American Art.”  Art Bulletin 70 (June 1988): 188-207.
  • The Early Years of Art History in the United States:  Notes and Essays on Departments, Teaching, and Scholars. Craig Hugh Smyth and Peter M. Lukehart, eds.. Princeton, NJ: Dept. of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 1993.
  • Dinsmoor, William Bell.  “The Department of Fine Arts and Archaeology.”  A History of the Faculty of Philosophy, Columbia University.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1957, pp. 252-269.
  • Eisler, Colin.  “American Art History, God Shed his Grace on Thee.” Art News 75 (May 1976): 64-73
  • Hiss, Priscilla, and Fansler, Roberta.  Research in Fine Arts in the United States.  New York:  Carnegie Corporation, 1934.
  • Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg.  The Eye of the Tiger:  The Founding and Development of the Department of Art and Archaeology, 1883-1923, Princeton University.  Princeton, NJ:  Department of Art and Archaeology and Art Museum, 1983.
  • Weber, Nicholas Fox.  Patron Saints:  Five Rebels who Opened America to New Art 1928-43.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.



  • Cohen, Getzel M. and Joukowsky, Marth Sharp, eds. Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004.
  • Fraser, Hilary.  Women Writing Art History in the Nineteenth Century:  Looking Like a Woman. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Hofner-Kulenkamp, Gabriele. Kunsthistorikerinnen im Exil. 2 vols. Unpublished dissertation, Hamburg University, 1991.
  • Hofner-Kulenkamp, Gabriele. “Kennen Sie Sabine Gova? Deutschsprachige Kunsthistorikerinnen im Exil.” Kritische Berichte 22 no. 4 (1994): 35-43.
  • Marcus-de Groot, Yvette. Kunsthistorische vrouwen van weleer: de eerste generatie in nederland vóór 1921. Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, 2003.
  • Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979. Contributions in Women’s Studies 18. Sherman, Claire Richter and Holcomb, Adele M., eds. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.


Jewish People

  • Goodwin, George. “A New Jewish Elite: Curators, Directors and Benefactors of American Art Museums.” Modern Judaism 18 no. 1 (1998): 119-152.

Genres of Art Writing

Survey Texts

  • Karlholm, Dan. Art of Illusion: the Representation of Art History in Nineteenth-century Germany and Beyond. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.
  • Schwarzer, Mitchell. “Origins of the Art History Survey Text.” [special issue, “Rethinking the Introductory Art History Survey.”] Art Journal54, no. 3, (Autumn, 1995): 24-29.

Specific Artist


  • Cachin, Françoise. “A Century of Cézanne Criticism, I: From 1865 to 1906.” and Rishel, Joseph J. “II: From 1907 to the Present.” Cézanne. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1996, pp. 24-44, 45-76.  Two excellent essays on writers on Cezanne.


  • Licht, Fred. Goya in Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice-Hall, 1973, “Introduction” pp. 1-23 and “Notes on the Editor and Contributors,” pp. 170-172.
    • Brief essay on Goya’s reception and biographies of the art historians at the end by Licht.
  • Glendinning, NIgel. Goya and his Critics.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1977.
    • Chapters devoted to writer/art historians belonging to periods (Romantics, Racial and Political Interpretations, etc.).


  • Schiff, Gert. Picasso in Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976, “Introduction.” pp. 1-25; “Notes on the Editor and Contributors.” pp. 174-178.
    • Schiff was one of the early art historians with an interest in art historiography.  His “Introduction” and “Notes” are rich with contrasts of methodology on the artist.


  • Carrier, David. Poussin’s Paintings: a Study in Art-historical Methodology. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

Van Gogh

  • Feilchenfeldt, Walter, and Veenebos, Han. Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin: the Reception of van Gogh in Germany from 1901 to 1914.  Zwolle: Waanders, 1988.

Medium or Specialty of Art Historian


  • Griffiths, Antony, ed., Landmarks in Print Collecting: Connoisseurs and Donors at the British Museum since 1753. London: British Museum, 1996.

Methodological Approach


  • Salvini, Roberto. La critica d’arte moderna (la pura visibiltà). Florence: L’Arco, 1949.
    • Selections from the writings of Konrad Fiedler, Adolf von Hildebrand, Alois Riegl, August Schmarsow, Heinrich Wölfflin, Albert Brickmann, Bernard Berenson, Clive Bell, Roger Fry, Adrian Stokes, Jacques Mesnil, Henri Focillon, Roberto Longhi and Lionello

Factual verification on entries only.

  • American National Biography. 24 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, editor. 34 vols. New York: Grove’s Dictionaries, 1996.
  • Enciclopedia biografica e bibliografica “Italiana.” Milan: E. B. B. I., Istituto editoriale italiano B. C. Tosi, 1936ff.
  • Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Michael Kelly, editor. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Directory of American Scholars. “History” volume. New York: R. R. Bowker, [various older editions].
  • Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art. Ian Chilvers, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Neue deutsche Biographie. Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1953ff.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, formerly Dictionary of National Biography.

Proceedings of the British Academy. [“Memoirs” section of relevant volumes.] London: British Academy.

Saur Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Munich: K.G. Saur, 1992- .

Thieme, Ulrich; Becker, Felix; Willis, Fred. C.; and Vollmer, Hans. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. 36 vols. Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 1907-50.

Non-US University Structures

    • Abitur (Germany) – equivalent to a high school diploma given from a Gymnasium.

    • Brevet d’Art (France) – degree issued by French universities, including the University of Paris, Sorbonne, akin to a master’s degree.

    • Gymnasium (Germany) – high school

    • Habilitation (Germany) – a second dissertation or qualifying scholarly paper written after the Ph.D., dissertation allowing the candidate to formally teach at a German university, a Habilitationschrift (literally, “appointment work”). Usually substantially longer than a dissertation

    • lycée – (France) Francophone high school, usually associated with the humanities.

    • Hochschule (Germany) – although literally “high school”, it is a form of German college, often more technically based.

    • Ph.D. (Germany) – a short document, more akin to an American M.A. thesis, which allowed the holder to teach in a Gymnasium or be a civil servant or archivist. (Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages, 81). The dissertation of Heinrich Wölfflin, one of the most famous art historians to graduate from a German university, was only 35 pages.

    • rigorosum (Austria) – an oral comprehensive examination, typical of the university in Vienna (Gombrich, Tributes, 238).

Altertumswissenschaft – A debate ensued during the nineteenth century within the classical-studies community whether “classics” as a discipline should encompass a total study of ancient cultures and embracing all that remains of them: literature, art, artifacts, and documents or only the classical texts. Altertumswissenschaft is the concept of the former, encompassing generally a more scientific approach. It was critical for art historians in that Altertumswissenschaft allowed them entre into the classical studies circles and academic departments, which were much older than fledgling art history departments.

Connoisseurship – a form of art history and appreciation based upon quality judgments and rankings of the work of art. Connoisseurship frequently attempts to discern the degree of participation of one or a group of artists in the work, known as the “hand” of the artist. It was most effectively employed by Giovanni Morelli and Bernard Berenson. At its best, connoisseurship establishes observable distinctions, frequently called “scientific” that historians can compare and discuss. Particularly for museums and collectors, connoisseurship is an important criteria for art presentation because of its ranking of quality. It was the predominant approach to art history for much of the 19th and early 20th century. Where practiced in isolation, it was guilty of ignoring other important factors in art understanding, such as the social context in which the work of art was created. It is allied closely with formalism (see below), both are the antithesis of Marxist, post-structuralist and feminist methodologies.

Formalism (Formalismus) – the theory that an analysis of the compositional aspects of a work of art (line, brushstroke, etc.) is the key to understanding the work of art. The term was developed from literary history; its most famous art-historical exponent was Heinrich Wölfflin, although in practice he was never a single-minded as his detractors accused him. Formalism is a key tool in style analysis and the periodization of art history based upon appearance. This rather coarse over-practicing in the mid-twentieth century led to a split within methodological camps (see Style, Marxism). Formal analysis is still a basic tenet of art history and art criticism, but today seldom viewed as an endpoint.

Formgeschichte – A term developed from Biblical exegesis which was concerned with the underlying history and traditions from which the Gospels were written (i.e., the historical Jesus). In art history, Formgeschichte came to mean the study of individual form (for example, the characteristic position of a figure in a painting) and its historical precedents in order to determine the inspiration of that art work. The practice is a component of all historic art analysis, but its isolation from other methodologies was criticized by social art historians, among others. It is distinct, or perhaps only a subset, of Formalism. Other notable admirers of the approach included Henk Schulte Nordholt.

Geistesgeschichte – a concept used in cultural history that assumes a specific spirit (Geist) is the underlying principle for the certain group of people and age that creates the art (or cultural product). The concept is heavily indebted to the philosophy of Georg Hegel. In general history, it was most notably employed by Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911). Within art history, the approach was early used by Anton Springer. In the twentieth century, Max Dvořák and his Vienna School colleagues, including Otto Benesch, Wilhelm Köhler/Koehler, and Willi Drost, were principal Geistesgeschichte practitioners. Other notable admirers of the approach included Hans Jaffé and Henk Schulte Nordholt. Its broader meaning can be applied to the history of ideas in general. Denying material or social forces as motovational to history, this form of German philosophical idealism was most practiced between 1890 and 1933. Its critics included some connoisseurship-style art historians, for example, Max Friedländer, who emphasized the study of the physical object (Körpergeschichte) over intellectual theory.

Geisteswissenschaften – “cultural sciences” a term developed by Dilthey (see above) as the counter to the hard sciences. Dilthey believed psychology would be the key to the new cultural discipline. Gesteswissenschaft was a developing concept during the formation of modern art history and was employed by Heinrich Wölfflin. see [unpublished dissertation:] Hart, Joan Goldhammer. Heinrich Wölfflin: An Intellectual Biography. University of California, Berkeley, 1981, p. 3.

Iconography/Iconology – “That branch of the history of art which concerns itself with the subject-matter or meaning of works of art, as opposed to their form” (Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, 1939). In modern times, iconography has come to mean the syntactic understanding of symbols within a work of art: how the combination of symbols creates a new or specific meaning. While studies of symbolism and iconography have existed since the nineteenth century, the practice was most systematically laid out by German art historians connected with Aby Warburg, including Erwin Panofsky and Edgar Wind. Ernst Gombrich discusses its ramifications in his article “Aims and Limits of Iconology,” in Symbolic Images. 3rd ed., 1985. In France, the work of Émile Mâle employed this methodology. In the later twentieth century, iconographical studies suffered a backlash by art historians who accused the practice as ignoring the social context and subject matter of the work, articulated in particular by Svetlana Alpers.

Linear History of Art – the representation of the history of as a series of events one following another in a single progression. Common in survey textbooks and introductory presentations on art. Though a common way to conceive any historic series of events, this approach was much chided by social, feminist and other art-historical movements as ignoring the range of events influencing art

New Art History – Revisionist art history methodologies appearing in the 1970s. A loosely grouped set of principles including structuralism, feminism and Marxist-social history.

Strukturforschung – Theoretical base popular among archaeologists before World War II positing that a hidden structure for objects of a certain period existed. It was developed as a counter to a simple stylistic-continuum approach to art, an outgrowth of the principles of Kunstwollen (above) developed by Alois Riegl. Ancient art (in particular) was grouped according to the principles that determined the work of art. The Strukturforschung historians analyzed the elements of an object’s formal structure postulating what caused its particular stylistic appearance. The movement was most vividly employed by Guido Kaschnitz von Weinberg; others included the (younger) Friedrich Matz, Bernard Schweitzer, Gerhard Krahmer, and to some degree Ernst Langlotz.

Style – the manner in which a work of art is executed, distinct from its subject matter and intellectual meaning.

Totalitätsideal – Literally, the idea that one must know everything to interpret anything. Most notably espoused by the classical art historians Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, Karl Ottfried Müller and the classicist Barthold Niebuhr (1776-1831).

Wissenschaft – literally, the German word for “knowledge,” usually meant as “science.” Generally a scientific approach to a discipline. It was applied to a number of humanistic disciplines where a new, rigorous reliance on the facts and data was the major impetus for conclusion. It was frequently less scientific than its perpetrators intended. See also, Kunstwissenschaft.

Wissenschaftslehre – the theory of a structure of knowledge which makes no assumptions.

All Souls College, Oxford – automonous scholarly research center at Oxford university. Designed to support senior scholars with few (if any) teaching responsibilities.

Bollingen Foundation/Bollingen Series – founded in 1948, the Bollingen Foundation was created by Mary C. Mellon, the art philanthropist Paul Mellon’s first wife, to encourage the arts, including writing, philosophy and art history. The Foundation’s name had been Mrs. Mellon’s oblique way of honoring the psychologist Carl G. Jung, who had a country retreat near a Swiss village called Bollingen. A Bollingen Prize in Poetry caused controversy when it was awarded to Ezra Pound, a consistent supporter of the fascists. The Foundation began issuing a book series, initially the works of Jung, called The Bollingen Series. During the years 1943-1960, the Series was published by Pantheon Books, Inc. of New York City and then Random House, 1961-1969. In 1969 the Series was given to Princeton University Press to continue. The Foundation became inactive. The Bollingen Series has issued many volumes on art history and the Foundation sponsors art historians as Fellows.

Centrum voor Voortgezet Kunsthistorisch Onderzoek – part of Utrecht of University, but separate from the Kunsthistorisch Instituut. Its directors included J. G. van Gelder.

College Art Association, New York – professional association in the United States for academic art historians and artists. Founded 1913 pirmarily on pedagogical lines, today it is the major scholarly professional society for the history of art. Publishes the Art Bulletin.

Collège de France – automonous scholarly research center in Paris, principally a faculty center with few (if any) students.

Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London – British academic art history department founded in the 1930’s on the “German model” of art scholarship, subsequently producing the top scholars of the later 20th century. The school was started by the politician Viscount Lee of Fareham (1868–1947), the wealthy art collector Samuel Courtauld (1876–1947), and the lawyer/image-collector Sir Robert Witt. Courtauld’s mansion, Home House, a Robert Adam house at 20 Portman Square, London, became the venue for his collection and the Institute in 1931. In 1933 Lee was instrumental in accommodating a group of émigré art historians, fleeing Nazi Germany, who had been attached to the Warburg Institute in Hamburg (see below). The advent of Warburg scholars to England changed the methodology in England from one strict connoisseurship to one of document-style research and theory. A jointly-published journal with the Warburg Institute began in 1937. After World War II and the death of its founders, Lee and Courtauld both in 1947 and Witt in 1952, the Institute emerged as one of the major English-speaking art history academies. The Courtauld was led through these seminal post-war years by its most famous director, Anthony Blunt. During the 1960s the Institute moved heavily toward twentieth-century art under the leadership of Alan Bowness. A history of dress department became part of the Institute in 1965, followed by a department of wall paintings conservation in 1985. In 1989 the Courtauld moved into the Strand block of Somerset House, designed by William Chambers between 1775-1780, combining art and faculty into a single environ. See Courtauld Institute of Art, “Our History”.

Dumbarton Oaks, Georgetown, MD – Study Center for early medieval art and history owned by Harvard University. Located on a 16-acre garden estate in Georgetown (greater Washington, DC). The Center includes two small museums of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. It is primarily a ressearch center for advanced scholars and does not offer courses or degree programs. The gardens and museums are open to the public. The home of and founded by Robert Woods Bliss (1875-1962) and his wife, Mildred Barnes Bliss (1860-1969)—the latter heir to the Fletcher’s Castoria patent medicine fortune—the Center was given to Harvard at the start of World War II partially to preserve a heritage feared imperiled by the advent of War in Europe. Bliss lived at the estate until her death, and until 1967 ran it as part of her social life, holding formal teas with the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantinists and—according to the Washington Post—observing their manners. The institution’s first director, John S. Thatcher (1947 to 1949) was a close friend of the Blisses and its second, William Royall Tyler (1969 to 1977), son of the art historian Royall Tyler. In 1977, the Harvard scholar Giles Constable became its third director and brought it into line with other rersearch centers. The Center publishes the scholarly journal Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Eminent art historians who researched there included Sirarpie Der Nersessian (before it was under Harvard’s auspices), Ernst Kitzinger, Wilhelm Koehler, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall, Kurt Weitzmann, Albert M. Friend, Hebert Kessler, Otto Demus, George M. A. Hanfmann, and staff members such as Robert Van Nice.

École des Chartes, Paris. (often mistranscribed, especially by English-language writers, as “Chartres”). The oldest institution in Europe specializing in the archival sciences, including paleography, bibliography, textual editing, and the history of the book.

Erstes Kunsthistorisches Institut, Vienna- see Wiener Institut (below)

Institut für Österreichischen Geschichtsforschung, Vienna – Associated with the University of Vienna.Many of the University of Vienna scholars (Franz Wickhoff and Julius von Schlosser) trained under the eminent diplomatics scholar Theodor von Sickel (1826-1908). Gombrich, in the obituary for Otto Kurz, notes that this institution was modeled after the École des Chartes (above).

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ – privately founded think tank for senior scholars, not simply art history, not formally associated with Princeton University. Founded in the years preceding World War II when Princeton did not hire Jewish faculty, it allowed many eminent Jewish thinkers (most famously, Albert Einstein) to work in proximity to the University. After the war its director was the atomic-bomb scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967). Permanent-member art historians (there were many temporary appointments) included Erwin Panofsky and Kurt Weitzmann. The historian Ernst H. Kantorowicz wrote his famous iconographic study, The King’s Two Bodies there in 1957.

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NY – The gradate program of New York University’s fine arts department dedicated to teaching and advanced research in the history of art, archaeology, and the conservation and technology of works of art. An early exponent of advanced art history teaching in the United States, the program was founded in 1931 but emerged in earnest in 1937 when Walter S. Cook redefined the school to build on the art-historical resources (museum, intellectual and financial) of New York city. Renamed the Institute of Fine Arts in 1937, Cook assembled the most prestigious German-refugee art historians into a study center that changed the fact of art history in the United States. See New York University Institute of Fine Art’s “The Institute – A Brief History.”

K. K. [kaiserlich-königliche] Central Commission für die Erforschung und Erhaltung der Baudenkmale, later the K. K. Zentrale-Kommission für Kunst- und historische Denkmale (Imperial and royal central commission for researching and preserving of monuments) – Founded in 1850 as the first professional and competent unit to safeguard monuments in the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. Work was initially done by honorary conservators, including the Austrian poet Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868). In 1873 it was reorganized into three sections, a) Prehistory and archaeology, b) Architecture, sculpture and painting of the middle ages through the 18th century, and c) Historic monuments. This was the body that Alois Riegl directed, giving him insight for his visionary theories of conservation (and opposing restoration).

Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) – A scholarly foundation begun in 1968 to examine Rembrandt’s painted oeuvre and compile a new catalogue raisonné of his paintings based on current scholarship and connoisseurship. The RRP was supported by the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research (NWO). Rembrandt’s work had been over attributed drastically, even during his lifetime. Catalogs of the last century by scholars such as Hofstede de Groot (q.v.) and others had continued to ascribe his work uncritically. Modern facilities enabled the RRP team to examine over 600 paintings worldwide. The initial team of art historians was composed of professor J. Bruyn; professor J. A. Emmens; professor J. G. van Gelder; Bob Haak; S. H. Levie; and P. J. J. van Tiel. Their research caused the de-attribution of many celebrated Rembrandt works including The Polish Rider (Frick Collection), Man with a Golden Helmet, (Staatliche Museen, Berlin) and Girl at the Half-Opened Door (Art Institute of Chicago).

Warburg Institute (and Library), Hamburg Germany and later London, UK. – Innovative library and research center, library and photographic collection devoted to the study of the classical tradition primarily in art, but also literature and the other humanities, characterized by cross-disciplinary research. The Institute began as the private library of the wealthy eccentric art scholar Aby Warburg. Though Warburg was responsible for the initial establishment, he was indefinitely committed to a mental asylum in 1919 and the library-cum-research center was run by Warburg’s disciple, Fritz Saxl, together with is partner Gertrud Bing, as the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg. In 1922 the Institute aligned itself with the newly founded University of Hamburg, instituting a scholarly series, the Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg. The rise of the anti-Semitic Nazi party in Germany forced Saxl to move the Warburg Library “on loan” to the Courtauld Institute at the University of London in 1933, followed by University of Hamburg scholars Hugo Buchthal, Edgar Wind and Ernst Gombrich. The library was housed first at Thames House. It began co-publishing a journal with the Courtauld Institute, University of London (see above), in 1937. When Britain entered the World War II, the Warburg was evacuated to Denham, England, where Buchthal acted as its librarian for most of the 1940s. In 1944 the Warburg Institute was officially made part of the University of London. In 1957 it occupied a new building together with the University’s Slade School of Fine Art. Gombrich served as director of the Institute, its most famous, between 1959 and 1976. It became a member-Institute of the University’s School of Advanced Study in 1994. See “History of the Warburg Institute.”

Wiener Institut, Vienna – created by Josef Strzygowski where scholars from various countries and disciplines could study and teach in reaction to a rivalry with University of Vienna faculty. The history of the early years of the Institute is complicated and frought with intrigue. Strzygowski’s world-view of history and his broad generalizations created a bitter rift with Franz Wickhoff and others at the University of Vienna. The appointment of Max Dvorák, a Czech, to the University, added xenophobic concerns, perhaps supported by the archduke Ferdinand. At Wickhoff’s death in 1909, Strzygowski was manuevered to succeed him over the objections of the other Vienna school scholars. The popularity of Strzygowski’s institute heightened the opposing University of Vienna camp, led by Dvorák. Insurmountable differences led to an administrative and physical separation of the Institute into two separate places, Strzygowski’s to a rented apartment on Vienna’s Ringstrasse opposite the University (Vienna 1, Franzensring 12) and Dvorak’s’ organization in the old rooms in the main university building. The rivalry between Strzygowski and the traditional Vienna scholars was sealed with Dvorák’s successor, Julius von Schlosser in 1922. Stryzgowski claimed his chair was primary due to the length he had now held it. Strzygowski’s institute, Erstes Kunsthistorisches Institut, moved to Vienna 9, Hörlgasse 6. When Strzygowski retired in 1933, his institute was dissolved. The term Zweites Kunsthistorisches Institut is confusing because it was, in fact, established by the original chairs in art history occupied by Rudolf Edelberg von Eitelberger and Alois Riegl. See Universität Wien Institute Für Kunstgeschichte, “Geschichte des Instituts.”

Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich – founded in 1946 in Munich under the direction of Craig Hugh Smith, in the former administration building for the Nazi (NSDAP) party. Directors included Ludwig Heydenreich.

Zweites Kunsthistorisches Institut – see Wiener Institut (above)

Histories of Art History

First Professors in Art History

Johann Fiorillo became the first professor of art at a German University (Göttingen, 1813). In 1844 Gustav Waagen was named professor of “Modern Art History” (i.e., non-classical) at the University of Berlin, the first time art history was formally acknowledged as a university discipline. Jakob Burckhardt was appointed the chair of art history in Switzerland (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich) in 1855, and Anton Springer in Bonn (1859).


Mid-Century Furors and Controveries

An investigation in the 1830s developed as to whether ancient sculpture had been painted. The “polychromy issue” was a major architectural and archaeological concern in the 1830s and 1840s, since it overthrew the accepted notion of Greek art and architecture as pure and colorless, promoted by Johann Joachim Winckelmann. The case began with Guillaume-Abel Blouet in 1832.


The Rise of Foreign Academies in Greece and Italy

The first foreign academy in Rome was established by the French, l’Académie de France, in 1666 under Louis XIV’s minister, Colbert (today at the Villa Medici). National institutions located in Athens and Rome to promote research took shape in the second half of the nineteenth century. With Italy’s unification and the designation of Rome as capital city, archaeological discoveries proliferated under the city’s expansion. The Prussian’s established a research center in 1829 which became their (later German) Archaeological Institute (DAI) in 1871. An École Française beginning in 1873, provided French scholars a locus akin to those of artists at the Villa Medici. Austria followed in 1881 and the United States in 1894, Hungary (1894), Britain (1901), Holland (1904), and Spain in 1910. These academies published their own texts and allowed scholars of various disciplines to collaborate in different areas of classical studies, unlike the more rigidly structured universities. Classical and early-medieval art historians blossomed under these new impetus.


The Middle Ages are Discovered

Before the nineteenth century, the middle ages were viewed as a dark age whose accomplishments were waiting for the Renaissance to be redeemed. The important medieval Cluny, in Paris, for example, was largely demolished and sold for building materials in 1800. Various factors, nationalism (particularly in Germany and France) and an interest in ecclesisatic history led to a a rediscovery and appreciation of the medieval period. Seminal scholars of art who founded both archaeological and conceptual studies of the middle ages who formed the “pantheon of great [early] art historians” (Willibald Sauerländer) included Adolphe Didron, Charles Cahier, Camille Martin in France and Ferdinand Piper and Franz Xaver Kraus in Germany.


Berlin School – Rumohr, Hotho and Waagen

During the early years of art history, two trends distinctly developed. One, an empirical method, frequently focused on the study of the individual work of art. A second view was a more sweeping, theoretical approach that attempted to summarize a period of art. The so-called scientific approach connected with individual painting grew naturally enough from museum work and is most clearly reflected in the writing of the founder of the Berlin Museum, Gustav Waagen and his hire for the prints collection, the academic Heinrich Hotho. Their work is frequently termed the “Berlin School of Art History.”

Although a linear view of art history ignores many important influences, a case has traditionally been made for an intellectual development following progressing from John David Passavant and the Berlin School through Otto Mündler, Giovanni Morelli and Alfred Woltmann, the work of Crowe and Cavalcaselle, though Cornelius Hofstede de Groot, Wilhelm von Bode, Bernard Berenson, Max J. Friedlaender to Hermann Voss.


America Emerges in Art History

The artist and writer John Neal, in his novel Randolph, 1823, was the first in America to write art criticism. William Dunlap was the first American to write a book on the history of art in the United States, History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, 1834, and C. Edwards Lester wrote the first strick biography of American artists (1846), Dunlap’s book was a biographical dictionary with commentary.


Vienna School

Viennese art history in the 19th century won emancipation from the traditional patrons of the Church and the nobility. Prince Metternich became the highest authority in art matters, including the monument conservation, state-sponsored exhibitions. As the art market developed, and a ministry of education, founded in 1849, included art schools, the educated middle class began collecting art. The great princely collections, including the the Albertina gallery of graphic art in 1822, were open to the public. The Kunsthistorisches Museum, containing collections of the Habsburg imperial family, opened on the Ringstrasse in 1891, making it possible for the public to see the royal collection as a unit. The Museum für Kunst und Industrie, founded in response to the South Kensington Museum in London (modern Victoria and Albert Museum) by Rudolf Eitelberger von Edelberg, was the first decorative arts museum on the European continent. Eitelberger also founded the first chair devoted to art history in Vienna and was first president of the nascent Kunsthistorisches Institut of the Universität in Vienna. The Insitut was responsible for the art historians forming what was known as the (first) Vienna school of art history (see below).


Burckhardt and the Predominance of the Renaissance.

Art history as a discipline examining cultural production–and not simply the development of specific media–blossomed in the work of an historian at the University of Basel, Jacob Burckhardt. Burckhardt derided the ideas of Hegel and Herder, especially their concepts of historical coherence and the biological metaphor of acme and nadir. Burckhardt’s Der Cicerone used art as a key signifier of the advancement of a society. His emphasis on the Italian Renaissance spawned, both fortunately and unfortunately, a huge emphasis on the study of Italian art in Germany. The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence was founded in 1897 as a part of this emphasis. The work of Wölfflin, (Carl) Justi, and Schmarsow held the Renaissance as the point around which art history was founded.


English Schism between Morellians vs Crowe/Cavalcasse in Italian Renaissance Studies

An abiding enmity developed in the last portion of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century between English-speaking scholars of the Italian renaissance. One group, led by Berenson and Roger Fry, espoused connoisseurship decisions of attribution, based on the method of Morelli. The other, led by R. Langton Douglas, (Arthur) Strong and in Austria Franz Wickhoff, based attribution on the model of Crowe and Cavalcaselle. Other factors were also involved, the Douglas/Strong group disapproved of Berenson’s collaboration with art dealers.


The Netherlands Emerges as an Academic Center of Art History

The first academic art historians in the Netherlands is a shared title. Jan Six at the University of Amsterdam was the first professor to be named extraordinarius (1896-1916) of art history. However, Willem Vogelsang at the University in Utrecht was the first ordinarius (full professor) and Wilhelm Martin at the University in Leiden were the first extraordinarius (associate professor), both serving the same years, 1907-1946.


The Re-evaluation of the Baroque

Through much of the nineteenth century, Baroque art and particularly Baroque architecture was viewed as a decadent extravagance, disparaged when it was not ignored by art historians. Cornelius Gurlitt began the reevaluation of the Baroque and Rococo in art history beginning in 1883 with his Das barock- und rococo-Ornament Deutschlands and in his Geschichte des Barockstiles beginning in 1886. A full treatment of the period came with August Schmarsow in 1887, whose book Barock und Rokoko covered the entire spectrum of Baroque art, not simply architecture. Even after Gurlitt’s publications on the Baroque, Heinrich Wölfflin in his study, Renaissance und Barock, 1888, condemned the full Baroque style. Alois Riegl began lecturing on the Baroque in 1894 and 1895, though he criticized Gurlitt’s studies for avoiding historical background and for defining the term “Baroque” insufficiently.


Art Emerges as a Discipline in British Universities

Art professorships, donated by Felix Slade, were established at Cambridge and Oxford universities in 1869. Initially they were held by critics or writers on art, John Ruskin was the first chair at Oxford an focused on aesthetics. Charles Waldstein, an American educated in Germany, was hired as part of the Classical Studies Department at Cambridge University under Sydney Colvin, the first to teach principally on classical art in 1895, though Colvin had delivered regular lectures on the subject. Waldstein’s inaugural Slade lecture, The Study of Art in Universities was published the following year.

First and Second Vienna Schools

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the University of Vienna came to play a major role in mapping the course of art-historical inquiry. Generally, they opposed the iconological traditions (such as Aby Warburg and Dutch art historians) and the emphasis of Italian Renaissance as the preeminent study of art history. Instead, scholars of the first phase, Alois Riegl and his successor Franz Wickhoff, sought to raise the status of early Christian and the so-called minor arts (such as rug design) by demonstrating competing aesthetics. The Vienna School methodology has been described as a triangle of Max Dvořák and his history-based approach, Franz Wickhoff and his stylistic approach and Alois Riegl/Julius Schlosser and their linguistic–historical methodology. Together these four make up the principal fame and direction of the Vienna school of the early 20th century (Edwin Lachnit, see Dvořák entry).


Historiography as an Interest

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the discipline was established enough to have emerging art historians address the historiography. Hans Hermann Russack dissertation on cycles in art history thinking, Der Begriff des Rhythmus bei den deutschen Kunsthistorikern des XIX. Jahrhunderts, was published as his dissertation in 1910. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Methode der Kunstgeschichte of Ernst Heidrich appeared in 1917. A study of “development” as a concept in art history was published by Rudolf Kautzsch in 1917 as Der Begriff der Entwicklung in der Kunstgeschichte. This was followed by the first volume of Deutsche Kunsthistoriker by Wilhelm Waetzoldt in 1921. A book on contemporary art historian’s work by Johannes Jahn was Die Kunstwissenschaft der Gegenwert in Sebstdarstellung (1924). Julius von Schlosser (q.v.) Die Kunstliteratur (1924) and “Stilgeschichte” und “Sprachgeschichte” in der bildenden Kunst (1935).

The Society of Architectural Historians was founded in the United States in 1940 from an initial meeting of Kenneth Conant, his students and others (John Coolidge).


The New Art History Emerges

In the 1960s newer criteria to write art history was adopted by many art historians. This variety of considerations, including feminism as well as an overlay of a literary-theory model of interpretation became known as the “New Art History.” Those practicing it most rigorously often hailed from other disciplines, including Norman Bryson, who named the movement, Yves Bonefoy and Anita Brookner. The New Art History’s bete noire was formalism and connoisseurship. Celebrated arguments in print broke out, notably between Michael Levey of the National Gallery (London) and Brookner.

Harvard’s first Ph.D. in the fine arts was granted to George Edgell (q.v.) in 1913. The Institute of Fine Arts, the graduate school of art history of New York University was founded by Fiske Kimball in 1922. The Institute was located in the Paul Warburg mansion before being moved to the James B. Duke mansion.