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Brown, Blanche R.

    Full Name: Blanche Rachel Levine Brown

    Other Names:

    • née Blanche Rachel Levine

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1915

    Place Born: Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Classical

    Career(s): curators

    Institution(s): Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York University


    Classicist and curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1942-1967. Levine was the daughter of Samuel Levine and Bertha Nanes (Levine). She attended Wayne University (the modern Wayne State University) between 1932 and 1934 before switching to New York University. She graduated with a B. F. A in 1936, continuing for her master’s degree at the university’s Institute of Fine Arts with a thesis on Greek painted grave stelai, written under Karl Leo Heinrich Lehmann in 1938. She married the art historian Milton W. Brown the same year. She taught as an instructor at Vassar College and Hunter College during these years. In 1941, she and her husband, a nascent Americanist, bought a car and toured the United States seeking out American art for his upcoming book. Returning to New York, she joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, as a lecturer in 1942 while her husband and other museums staff served in the military. Assigned to the ancient collection, she worked closely with the Yale paleographer C Bradford Welles (1901-1969). Under the curator of Greek and Roman Art, Gisela M. A. Richter, she studied the collections carefully. She continued to work on her Ph.D. at the NYU on the collection of the Ptolomaic grave stelai at the Museum. Richter and museum director Francis Henry Taylor funded additional research in Egypt and Italy. Her degree was granted in 1967, her dissertation, Ptolemaic Paintings and Mosaics and the the Alexandrian Style published by the American Institute of Archaeology. The dissertation was supervised by Peter von Blanckenhagen and her readers included the distinguished classical-subject art historians Dorothy Burr Thompson and Dietrich von Bothmer. She had been appointed an associate professor at New York University in 1966, advancing to professor of art in 1973. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977.

    Selected Bibliography

    [master’s thesis:] Greek Painted Grave Stelai, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, 1938 (unpublished); “The Correlation of Literature and the Fine Arts.”
    College Art Journal, 9, no. 2 (Winter, 1949-1950): 176-180;  [dissertation:] Ptolemaic Paintings and Mosaics and the the Alexandrian Style. New York University, 1967, publsihed, Cambridge, MA: Archaeological Institute of America/Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967;  Anticlassicism in Greek Sculpture of the Fourth Century B.C. New York: New York University Press/Archaeological Institute of America/College Art Association of America, 1973;


    John S. Guggenheim Fellows


    "Brown, Blanche R.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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