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Wittmann, Otto, Jr.

Full Name: Wittmann, Otto, Jr.

Other Names:

  • Otto Wittmann

Gender: male

Date Born: 1911

Date Died: 2001

Place Born: Kansas City, Jackson, MO, USA

Place Died: Montecito, CA, USA

Home Country/ies: United States

Career(s): curators


Overview

Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, 1938-1978 and founding curator of the Getty museum collections. Wittmann was the son of Otto Wittmann, Sr., an auto parts distributor, and Beatrice Knox Billingsley (Wittmann). His mother died in the disastrous 1918 influenza epidemic. After attending private high school in Kansas City, he entered Harvard University in 1929. Wittmann’s first experience of art was in the drawing class of fine arts professor Arthur Pope (1880-1974) as no art museum yet existed in Kansas City. Befriended by the urbanite New Yorker Perry T. Rathbone, who himself had decided to become an art museum director, Wittmann and Rathbone toured the galleries of New York and Boston during their leisure. At Harvard, Wittmann enrolled in the French art history painting course of Paul J. Sachs. Wittmann and Rathbone organized exhibitions on Ben Shahn, Max Ernst and Walter Gropius for the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art, an organization founded by undergraduates Eddie Warburg, John Walker III and Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996). After graduation in 1933–he and Rathbone turned the gallery over to John P. Coolidge–he joined the fledgling William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art (today, Nelson-Atkins Museum) in his native Kansas City, under director Paul Gardner and Harvard classmate Philip C. Beam. Lacking money for graduate school, Wittmann convinced Sachs to allow him participate in his famous “Museum course” as Sach’s assistant, though he never enrolled. This led to an appointment developing the museum of Louis F. and Charlotte Hyde in Glens Falls, NY (today the Hyde Museum) and a lectureship at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Before the outbreak of World War II, Wittmann was drafted into the U.S. army, working initially in personnel before transferring to the famous Art Looting Investigation Unit of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), under which the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section (“Monuments Men”) of the Seventh Army fell. He worked interviewing those responsible for the thefts and in the Munich Collecting Point office as well. While stationed in Washington, DC. he married Margaret “Miggy” Carlisle Hill (1914-1997) in 1945. After discharge from the war in 1946, Wittmann convinced Toledo (OH) Museum of Art president to create a position for him, working under director Blake-More Godwin as assistant director. Godwin recognized Wittmann’s connoisseurship trained under Sachs, and turned collecting at Toledo over to him. Wittmann acquired the spectacular “Crowning of St. Catherine” by Rubens in 1950 after the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Theodore Rousseau, Jr., turned it down as not authentic. He built classical collections with the assistance of (later) Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Dietrich von Bothmer and his sister-in-law, the archaeologist/art historian Emeline Hurd Hill Richardson. He advocated for federal support of the arts and was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the first National Council on the Arts in 1964, a precursor to the National endowment of the Arts. Wittmann’s hires went on to become important museum people in their own right, including Katharine Caecelia Lee in 1968. The following year he hired Kurt T. Luckner to be curator the classical collection. Luckner’s enthusiasm and versatility brought about the glass gallery for the Museum. In 1973 Wittmann hired Roger Mandell as assistant director with the intention of him assuming the directorship when Wittmann turned 65. This happened in 1976. He moved to Los Angeles the same year as a consultant and trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He was hired in 1978 as a consultant to the Getty foundation, just as the Malibu museum was coming into the billion-dollar trust left by oil baron J. Paul Getty (1892-1976). Elected a trustee in 1979, he rose to acting chief curator in 1980, essentially in charge of the entire museum. Wittmann judiciously allayed fears from the art world that the Getty would drive up art prices and acquire every work of importance. He established and chaired the Getty’s acquisition committee carefully purchasing Greek and Roman antiquities, French decorative arts of the 17th and 18th centuries and European old masters, J. Paul Getty’s preferred areas. Wittmann helped recruit John Walsh, Jr., as museum director in 1983, retaining his acquisitions chair role until 1989 when named a trustee emeritus. Wittmann assembled two of the premier public art collections in the United States. During the halcyon years of art acquisitions, 1930s-1970s when prices were comparatively low and availability great, he assembled Toledo’s outstanding collection of masterworks, collecting in every area, including classical vases, Baroque painting, and modern sculpture. Perhaps as distinguished, he set the standard for the Getty museum as a responsible collector among other acquiring museums, laying the groundwork for the museum and the ultimate Getty Center complex today.


Selected Bibliography

“Harvard Postscript.” in, Smyth Craig Hugh, and Lukehart, Peter M., eds. The Early Years of Art History in the United States: Notes and Essays on Departments, Teaching, and Scholars. Princeton: Dept. of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 1993, pp. 55-56.


Sources

“Wittmann of the Toledo Museum, Director for 18 Years, Retires.” New York Times January 18, 1977, p. 32; Duncan, Sally Anne. Otto Wittmann: Museum Man for all Seasons. Toledo, OH: Toledo Museum of Art, 2001; [transcript] Interview with Otto Wittmann, October 25, 1981. California History Project, Archives of American Art; [transcript] Smith, Richard Cándida, interviewer. Otto Wittmann: The Museum in the Creation of Community. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 1995; [obituary:] “Otto Wittmann, Ex-Museum Chief, 89.” New York Times July 28, 2001, p. C15; Oliver, Myrna. “Otto Wittmann, Helped Guide Getty.” Los Angeles Times July 26, 2001, p. B12; personal correspondence, John Wittmann, April 2009.




Citation

"Wittmann, Otto, Jr.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wittmanno/.


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Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, 1938-1978 and founding curator of the Getty museum collections. Wittmann was the son of Otto Wittmann, Sr., an auto parts distributor, and Beatrice Knox Billingsley (Wittmann). His mother died in the disastrou

Wixom, William D

Full Name: Wixom, William D

Gender: male

Date Born: 17 July 1929

Date Died: 26 November 2020

Place Born: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Place Died: Pawling, Dutchess, NY, USA

Home Country/ies: United States

Subject Area(s): Medieval (European)

Career(s): curators

Institution(s): Cleveland Museum of Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art


Overview

Michel David-Weill Chairman of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979-1998.  Wixom was the son of Clinton Wixom and Beatrice Wixom.  After attending the Germantown Friends School, 1943-1947, he studied at Haverford College and supplementing courses at the Barnes Foundation’s experimental art education Center in Merion, PA under the direction of Violette de Mazia (1896-1988).  He graduated from Haverford in 1951. He worked as a Student Fellow in the Department of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1957. The following year he accepted a job as Assistant Curator, Decorative Arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  While in Cleveland, he met Nancy Coe (1927-2018) whom he married.  Wixom earned an M.A. at the New York University, Institute of Fine Arts in 1963.

He was named curator of Medieval and Renaissance Decorative Arts at the Cleveland Museum in 1967 and thus began in earnest his interest in medieval art.  Wixom added notable pieces to the Cleveland Museum collection and mounted exhibits.

He rejoined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1979 as the Michel David-Weill Chairman of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. While at the Metropolitan Museum the Medieval collection at The Met grew at a pace not seen since the opening of The Cloisters in 1938 (NYT).  His well-received exhibitions include the “Glory of Byzantium” (1997) and “Mirror of the Medieval World” (1999) the latter shortly after his retirement from the Met. Wixon and his wife were also art collectors and gave their collections (in many areas) to the Museum. After retirement he continued to author articles. He died at home, age 91.

Wixom was a scholar whose critical opinions and were were both accepted and controversial.  His 1975 Renaissance Bronzes catalog has been singled out for daring (and likely correct) opinions on the source and subject matter of these complicated works (Lewis and Eden).  His research topics were broad, for example, the often-cited article on medieval fountains.

 


Selected Bibliography

  • Treasures from Medieval France. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art,1967;
  • and Evans, Helen C., eds. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843-1261. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/ H. N. Abrams, 1997;
  • edited, Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/H. N. Abrams, 1999.
  • “A Glimpse at the Fountains of the Middle Ages” Cleveland Studies in the History of Art 8 (2003):  6-23;
  • “Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan: 1400 to 1530.”. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 64 no. 4 (Spring 2007): p1-48;
  • “Medieval Sculpture at the Metropolitan: 800 to 1400.”  Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 62 Issue 4 (Spring 2005): 2-48;
  •  

Sources

  • [obituary] New York Times  Dec. 9, 2020.
  • Forsyth, Ilene. “Historian of Art (1928- ).” in, Chance, Jane, ed. Women Medievalists in the Academy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, pp. 848, mentioned;
  • Lewis, Douglas and Eden, Tom. “A ‘Renaissance’ plaquette design from nineteenth-century Vienna.”  Medal 60 (Spring 2012): 4-15;

Archives

“Wixom, William D. file [including M.A. thesis].” Ingalls Library, Cleveland Museum of Art.

 


Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Wixom, William D." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wixomw/.


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Michel David-Weill

Woermann, Karl

Full Name: Woermann, Karl

Gender: male

Date Born: 1844

Date Died: 1933

Place Born: Hamburg, Germany

Place Died: Dresden, Saxony, Germany

Home Country/ies: Germany

Subject Area(s): museums (institutions)

Career(s): directors (administrators) and museum directors


Overview

Dresden Museum director; author of an early general history of art, the first of these works to include primitive cultures. In 1871, Woermann was among the team of art historians (the others including Moritz Thausing, Carl von Lützlow, Adolf von Bayersdorfer, Friedrich Lippmann, Wilhelm Lübke, Bruno Meyer, Alfred Woltmann, G. Malsz and Wilhelm Bode) who convened in Dresden to determine which of two versions of Hans Holbein the younger’s Meyer Madonna was the autograph work. The so-called “Holbein convention,” one of the important events in nineteenth-century art history when many methodical approaches were employed to determined authenticity, concluded that the Darmstadt version was the original. Together Alfred Woltmann, he authored a series of art surveys, beginning with the Geschichte der Malerei (History of Painting) in 1879, of which Woermann wrote the volume on the ancient world. His treatise on art history, Was uns die Kunstgeschichte lehrt (What we learn from Art History), was published in 1894. Udo Kultermann sites Woermann among those Gründerzeit museum directors, along with Wilhelm Bode, Alfred Lichtwark, Woldemar von Seidlitz, and Justus Brinckmann, as responsible for the formation of art history by virtual of their scholarship and interest in museum training.


Selected Bibliography

Geschichte der Kunst aller Zeiten und Völker. 3 vols. Leipzig und Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut, 1900; and Woltmann, Alfred. Geschichte der Malerei. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1879ff., English, and Colvin, Sidney. History of Painting. 2 vols. London : C. Kegan Paul, Year: 1880-1887; Was uns die Kunstgeschichte lehrt: einige Bemerkungen über alte, neue und neueste Malerei. Dresden: L. Ehlermann, 1894.


Sources

Jahn, Johannes, ed. Die Kunstwissenschaft der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen. 2 vols. Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1924, pp. 199-227 (“1-29”) includes portrait and signature; Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art: de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 373; Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 488-90; Kultermann, Udo. The History of Art History. New York: Abaris, 1993, pp. 138, 145; Lebenserinnerungen eines Achtzigjährigen. 2 vols. Leipzig, Bibliographisches Institut, 1924




Citation

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Dresden Museum director; author of an early general history of art, the first of these works to include primitive cultures. In 1871, Woermann was among the team of art historians (the others including Moritz Thausing, Carl von Lützlow, Adolf von B

Wohl, Hellmut

Full Name: Wohl, Hellmut

Gender: male

Date Born: unknown

Date Died: unknown

Home Country/ies: Germany

Subject Area(s): Italian (culture or style), Italian Renaissance-Baroque styles, and Renaissance

Institution(s): Yale University


Overview

Scholar of the Italian renaissance and Offner student at NYU, 1958. Wohl wrote widely among the history of art. His 1989 essay on Marcel Duchamp’s etchings of the Large Glass and The Lovers appeared in a collection on the artist.


Selected Bibliography

[dissertation:] Domenico Veneziano studies. Ph. D., New York University, 1958; “Duchamp’s Etchings of the Large Glass and The Lovers.” in Marcel Duchamp: Artist of the Century. Kuenzli, Rudolf E., and Naumann, Francis M., eds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989; The Paintings of Domenico Veneziano, ca. 1410-1461: a Study in Florentine Art of the Early Renaissance. New York: New York University Press, 1980; The Aesthetics of Italian Renaissance Art: a Reconsideration of Style. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999; “Portuguese Baroque Architecture.” in The Age of the Baroque in Portugal. Levenson, Jay A., ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993; translated, Condivi, Ascanio. The Life of Michelangelo. Oxford: Phaidon, 1976; translated, Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004; and Véliz, Claudio, eds. Monuments for an Age Without Heroes. 7th Boston, Melbourne, Oxford Conversazioni on Culture and Society (1995). Boston, MA: Boston University, 1996; Dada: Berlin, Cologne, Hannover. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1981.


Sources

Smyth, Craig Hugh. “Glimpses of Richard Offner.” in, Offner, Richard. A Discerning Eye: Essays on Early Italian Painting. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p. 38.



Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Wohl, Hellmut." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wohlh/.


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Scholar of the Italian renaissance and Offner student at NYU, 1958. Wohl wrote widely among the history of art. His 1989 essay on Marcel Duchamp’s etchings of the Large Glass and The Lovers appeared in a collection on the artist.

Wolf, Walther

Full Name: Wolf, Walther

Gender: male

Date Born: 1900

Date Died: 1973

Place Born: Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany

Home Country/ies: Germany


Overview

Wolf was the son of Peter and Mathilde Stinde (Wolf). After spending the final year of World War I with the German Marines, he attended the University of Heidelberg between 1919-22. Wolf spent the year 1923 at the University in Berlin before completing his dissertation at Göttingen. He was an assistant at the Berliner Museum 1922-28. In 1928 he became a privatdozent associated with the University in Leipzig, acceding to a professorship there in 1934. He also held a joint appointment as director of Egyptology Institute. During World War II, he joined the Luftwaffe 1939-45. After the war he spent a period of time outside academics, like many faculty associated with Nazi government appointments. In 1949 he received a position to teach at the university of Munster. He remained the the next twenty years, retiring emeritus in 1969. Wolf was devoted to stylistic analysis in his art history. His use of scientific language for art was attacked in 1960 by Otto Neugebauer (1899-1990) as meaningless appropriation of scientific jargon, with whom Neugebauer also lumped Percy Ernst Schramm.


Selected Bibliography

Wesen und Wert der ägyptologie. Glückstadt: J.J. Augustin, 1937; Die Welt der ägypter. Stuttgart: G. Kilpper, 1954; Kulturgeschichte des alten ägypten. Stuttgart: A. Kröner, 1962; Individuum und Gemeinschaft in der ägyptischen Kultur. Glückstadt: J.J. Augustin, 1935; Funde in ägypten. Göttingen: Musterschmidt, 1966; and Steindorff, Georg, and Heidenreich, Robert, (et al.). Missionarchéologique de Nubie: 1929-1934. Glückstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1935-37; and Steindorff, Georg. Die thebanische Gräberwelt. Glückstadt: J.J. Augustin, 1936; Frühe Hochkulturen: ägypten, Mesopotamien, ägäis. English, The Origins of Western Art: Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Aegean. New York: Universe Books, 1971; [posthumous update] and Christoph Wetzel. Frühgeschichte und Frühe Hochkulturen. Neue Belser Stilgeschichte 1. Stuttgart: Belser, 1990.


Sources

Who’s Who in the World, 2nd ed. 1974-75, pp. 1071; Neugebauer, Otto. “Sense or Nonsense in Scientific Jargon.” Journal of the Courtauld and Warburg Insititutes 23 (1960): 175-6; Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Handwörterbuch für Theologie und Religionswissenschaft. 3rd ed. Tübingen, Mohr, 1957-65.




Citation

"Wolf, Walther." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wolfw/.


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Wolf was the son of Peter and Mathilde Stinde (Wolf). After spending the final year of World War I with the German Marines, he attended the University of Heidelberg between 1919-22. Wolf spent the year 1923 at the University in Berlin before compl

Wolff Metternich, Franziskus, Graf von

Full Name: Wolff Metternich, Franziskus, Graf von

Other Names:

  • Graf von Franz Wolff Matternich

Gender: male

Date Born: 1893

Date Died: 1978

Place Born: Feldhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Place Died: Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Home Country/ies: Germany

Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), Medieval (European), Northern Renaissance, Renaissance, and sculpture (visual works)


Overview

Northern medieval/renaissance architectural historian; Director of the Hertziana. Metternich studied at the Universität Bonn, writing his dissertation on what would become his life’s subject, the art and architecture of the northern renaissance in the Rhine region. Between 1928 and 1951 he was responsible for conservation of monuments in the Rhineland. Metternich returned to his alma mater to teach conservation beginning in 1933, achieving honorary professor status in 1939. He put his convictions into action during the second world war, overseeing the protection of works of art in the Rhineland and occupied France. His efforts were recognized in 1954 when the Hague Convention of Cultural Property Protection was drafted. Metternich worked briefly (1950-52) for the Foreign Office (in West Germany) tracing works stolen from Germany during the war. Between 1952-62 he was the director of the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. Here, Metternich switched scholarly focuses from Rhenish architecture to Roman renaissance and baroque. Franz von Wolf Metternich is best known for his writings on Romanesque and baroque architecture. His study of Bramante’s commission of the building of San Pietro shows him to be a scholar deeply engaged in documentary art history.


Selected Bibliography

Bramante und St. Peter. Munich: Fink, 1975; Renard, Edmund. Schloss Bruhl: die kurkolnische Sommerresidenz Augustusburg. Berlin: [s.n.], 1934.


Sources

Wolfgang Lotz. “In memoriam Franz Graf Wolff Metternich.” Römisches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 18 (1979): 1-7; Bornheim Gen., Schilling, Werner. “Franz Graf Wolff Metternich.” Deutsche Kunst und Denkmalpflege 37/2 (1979): 204-208.




Citation

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Northern medieval/renaissance architectural historian; Director of the Hertziana. Metternich studied at the Universität Bonn, writing his dissertation on what would become his life’s subject, the art and architecture of the northern renaissance in

Wölfflin, Heinrich

Full Name: Wölfflin, Heinrich

Other Names:

  • Heinrich Wölfflin

Gender: male

Date Born: 21 June 1864

Date Died: 19 July 1945

Place Born: Winterthur, Zürich, Switzerland

Place Died: Zürich, Switzerland

Home Country/ies: Switzerland

Subject Area(s): methodology


Overview

Widely influential professor of art history, major exponent of formalist methodology. Wölfflin was the son of a Swiss classics scholar Eduard von Wölfflin (1831-1908) and Bertha Troll-Greuter (Wölfflin) (1839-1911). He initially studied philosophy at the university in Basel under Johannes Volkelt (1848-1930), but the lectures of cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt developed in him an enthusiasm for art history. Wölfflin continued study in philosophy at Berlin under the eminent Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), whose work exerted a strong influence on Wölfflin his whole life. He moved to Munich, where his father had an appointment, continuing to study philosophy and art history. In Munich, Wölfflin wrote his dissertation, Prolegomena zu einer Psychologie der Architektur in 1886, under Enrico Brunn. Even in this early period in his life, Wölfflin’s interest focused on the principles for analyzing works of art as much as the art itself.

The two years after his dissertation were spent in Italy, resulting in his habilitationschrift and first book, Renaissance und Barock (1888). Wölfflin returned to Munich to lecture (as a Privatdozent) at the University of Munich. In 1893 he returned to Basel to succeed his mentor, Burckhardt. It was during this time that he wrote Klassische Kunst (1898) which was to become one of his most popular books. In 1901 Wölfflin was called to the prestigious University of Berlin to become Ordinarius professor of the University, succeeding the popular Herman Grimm. Wölfflin’s lectures exceeded Grimm’s in popularity, commanding the largest auditoriums available and reviewed in newspapers. He ran an art history institute in Berlin lead by the talented art historian/polymath Wilhelm Waetzoldt. Students to his lectures in Berlin included E. H. Gombrich (who was impressed with Wölfflin’s delivery style but not methodology). Wölfflin authored his only monograph on an individual artist, Die Kunst Albrecht Dürers (1905) during this time, partially to appease critics that this non-German art historian was teaching in Berlin.

He met and became engaged to Adele Auguste (“Ada”) Bruhn (1885-1951), daughter of a wealthy factory owner and dancer. [Bruhn later broke the engagement in 1913 to marry the Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)]. The contrast of Berlin to the other universities where Wölfflin had taught, particularly the conservative climate of Imperial Prussia–and particularly Wilhelm II’s antagonism for modern art and “non-Germans”–eventually caused Wölfflin to resign his chair in 1910, along with Nationalgalerie art director Hugo von Tschudi. Wölfflin returned to Munich 1912, suceeding Berthold Riehl, revising his lecturing method to a Geheimrat (conversational) style as he termed it. Rudolf Wittkower, who attended these in Munich, described Wölfflin as an aloof teacher who delegated even his graduate seminars to assistants. Others who heard his courses included the theorist Walter Benjamin. Max Raphaël had his dissertation famously declined by Wölfflin because of its modern subject matter and social-history methodology.

By 1924 the nationalism that was to increasingly envelope Germany compelled Wölfflin to return to his native Switzerland. He accepted a position at the University of Zürich, his Munich position filled by Adolph Goldschmidt. The Zürich years were marked by the publications of two works. Italien und das deutsche Formgefühl (Italy and the German Conception of Form) (1931) is a significant reworking of his Principles of Art History, rethinking art production in terms of the then prevalent notions of nationality. The second, Gedanken zur Kunstgeschichte (Thoughts on Art History) (1941), selected essays, were collected as war consumed most of Europe. Wölfflin supervised an amazing number of dissertations. His many students included Jakob Rosenberg, Frida Schottmüller, Hermann Theodor Beenken, Kurt Martin, Justus Bier, Ludwig Volkmann, August Liebmann Mayer, Grete Ring, Martin Weinberger, Carola Giedion-Welcker, and Albert Brinckmann among others; he supervised the habilitation of Paul Frankl. Neither Wölfflin nor any of his siblings married.

Influence: In his own time Wölfflin was considered one of the greatest of art historians. The anonymous review of the English edition of Klassische Kunst (1903) in the Athenaeum, written by the British art historian Roger Fry, shows the enthusiasm with which his books were received. Bernard Berenson mused in the second edition to his Drawings of the Florentine Painters (1938), “would that our studies had more Wölfflins!” Wölfflin’s books, in contrast to the academic art-historical tomes of the time, were short and pithy, accounting for their popularity. Many of the students who received their Ph.D.’s under him went on to become the most eminent art historians of twentieth-century and ranged widely in the methodology they employed in their own work. Some of his Ph.D. students developed methodologies divergent from Wölfflin’s in their professional life: Frederick Antal, Ernst Heidrich, Frankl, Alfred Stange, Richard Krautheimer and Fritz Saxl; other students, such as Ludwig Volkmann and Rosenberg, retained the master’s methodology to the end. In the latter 20th century the prominence of social-history approaches to art as well as iconographic and post-structuralism relegated Wölfflin as a target for all that was wrong with current art history. Much of the criticism was well-founded; Wölfflin himself had worried that his formalism would be practiced by less talented art historians, with disastrous results. Wölfflin’s own writing, however, reflects an appreciation of historical circumstance and social context and less the “crassly formal” stylistic art histories which followed him. His profile was so significant during his lifetime that he saw books written about his research (Böckelmann, 1938).

Methodology: Wölfflin began his art career by focusing on the psychology of artistic appreciation and never really strayed from this essential view. His dissertation on the psychological aspects to architectural appreciation is a synthesis of the major intellectual influences in his life: Burckhardt’s broad view of what constitutes an historical document, a psychological approach to historical hermeneutics Geisteswissenschaften of Dilthey and the visual comparison technique of Giovanni Morelli, to name but three. As a systematizer, he looked for a framework integrating empirical, psychological and visual elements. Art was a visual language, an independent mode of knowledge. Even art historians who differed greatly in their methodology, such as Erwin Panofsky adopted a hermeneutic framework as Wölfflin conspicuously did to hang their analysis. Wölfflin’s most significant contribution to art-historical methodology may be in his side-by-side comparison technique of images. Throughout his writings, he used comparison to demonstrate polarities in art. This technique remains a mainstay of art history classroom pedagogy.


Selected Bibliography

  • [dissertation:] Prolegomena zu einer Psychologie der Architektur. Munich, 1886;
  • [habilitation:] Renaissance und Barock. Eine Untersuchen über Wesen und Entstehung der Barockstil in Italien. Munich, 1888, published, Munich: T. Ackermann, 1888, English, Renaissance and Baroque. London: Collins, 1964;
  • Die klassische Kunst. Minuch: F. Bruckmann, 1899, English, Classic Art: An Introduction to the Italian Renaissance. New York: Phaidon, 1952, [first appearing as lecture, Prussian Academy, Dec. 7, 1911: “Das Problem des Stils in der bildenden Kunst.” Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaft. (Jahrgang 1912): 572-78];
  • Die Kunst Albrecht Dürers. Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1905; Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Das Problem der Stilentwicklung in der neuren Kunst. Munich: F. Bruchmann, 1915, English, Principles of Art. New York: Dover, 1932;
  • Italien und das deutsche Formgefühl. Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1931, English, The Sense of Form in Art: An Introduction to the Italian Renaissance. New York: 1958; “‘Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriff.’ Eine Revision.” Logos: Internatinale Zeitschrift für Philosophie der Kultur 22 (1933): 210-18, republished in Gedanken zur Kunstgeschichte, (below) [note these important revisions of his Principles (1915) which, according to W. Eugene Kleinbauer, scholars have ignored (Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p, 27 n. 58)]; 
  • Gedanken zur Kunstgeschichte: Gedrucktes und Ungedrucktes. Basel: Schwabe, 1941;
  • Kleine Schriften [1886-1933]. Edited by Joseph Ganter. Basel: 1946;
  • Jacob Burckhardt und Heinrich Wölfflin: Briefwechsel und andere Dokumente ihrer Begegnung, 1882-1897. Edited by Joseph Ganter. Basel: 1948;
  • Heinrich Wölfflin, 1864-1945: Autobiographie, Tagebücher und Briefe. Edited by Joseph Ganter. Basel: Schwabe & Co., 1982.

Sources

  • [literature on Wölfflin is legion; specifically, see] Borenius, Tancred. Burlington Magazine 84 (June 1944): 133;
  • Strich, Fritz. Zu Heinrich Wölfflins Gedächtnis, Rede an der Basler Feier seines zehnten Todestages. Berlin: Francke, 1956 [recommended];
  • Rehm, Walter. Heinrich Wölfflin als Literarhistoriker. Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften/Beck, 1960;
  • “Heinrich Wölfflins Basler Jahre und die Anfange der modernen Kunstwissenschaft.” Gestalten und Probleme aus der Geschichte der Universität Basel. Rektoratsprogram for the year 1960. Basel: 1960: 79-97;
  • Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, pp. 7, 27-9 n. 58-62;
  • Ganter, Joseph. “Der Unterricht in Kunstgeschichte an der Universität Basel.” In Jahrbuch 1972/73 Schweiz. Instituts für Kunstwissenschaft. Zürich, 1976: 25-31;
  • German Essays on Art History. Gert Schiff, ed. New York: Continuum, 1988, pp. xxxvi-xxxviii, 282; Lurz, Meinhold. Heinrich Wölfflin: Biographie einer Kunsttheorie. Heidelberger Kunstgeschichtliche Abhandlungen, Neue Folge, Band 14. Worms: Werner’sche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1981;
  • [unpublished dissertation:] Hart, Joan Goldhammer. Heinrich Wölfflin: An Intellectual Biography. University of California, Berkeley, 1981 [recommended];
  • Podro, Michael. The Critical Historians of Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982, pp. 98-151; Brown, Marshall. “The Classic Is the Baroque: On the Principle of Wölfflin’s Art History.” Critical Inquiry 9 no. 2 (December 1982): 379-404;
  • Hart, Joan. “Reinterpreting Wölfflin: Neo-Kantianism and Hermeneutics.” Art Journal (1982): 292-300; Warnke, Martin. “On Heinrich Wölfflin”, Representations no. 27, 1989, pp. 172-87;
  • Podro, Michael. “Wölfflin, Heinrich.” The Dictionary of Art 33: 297-298; Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 483-8; (mentioned);
  • Jennifer Montagu and Joseph Connors. “Rudolf Wittkower 1901-1971.” Introduction to Art and Architecture in Italy: 1600-1750. 6th edition, volume 1, Painting in Italy. Pelican History of Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999, pp. ix;
  • Schwartz, Frederic J. “Cathedrals and Shoes: Concepts of Style in Wölfflin and Adorno.” New German Critique 76 (1999): 3-48; Hart, Joan. Encyclopedia of Aesthetics 4: 472-6;
  • [obituaries:] Born, Wolfgang. “Tribute [obituary].” College Art Journal 5 (November 1945): 44-47; 
  • Böckelmann, Walter. “
  • [Historic Methodolgical Discussions:] Die Grundbegriffe der Kunstbetrachtung bei Wölfflin und Dvorák. Dresden: Druck und Verlag Buchdruckerei der Wilhelm und Bertha v. Baensch Stiftung, 1938;
  • Antal, Frederick. “Remarks on the Method of Art History.” Burlington Magazine 91 (February 1949): 49-52;
  • Hauser, Arnold. The Philosophy of Art History. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1963, pp. 119-147ff.;

Archives

  • Getty Center. “Führung durch die Pinakothek, [between 1912 and 1924].”  “Miscellaneous papers,”   
    “Miscellaneous papers from the libraries of the Wölffin circle,
    ca. 1924-1987.”

Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Wölfflin, Heinrich." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wolfflinh/.


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Widely influential professor of art history, major exponent of formalist methodology. Wölfflin was the son of a Swiss classics scholar Eduard von Wölfflin (1831-1908) and Bertha Troll-Greuter (Wölfflin) (1839-1911). He initially studied philosophy

Wolfsgruben, Cölestin

Full Name: Wolfsgruben, Cölestin

Gender: male

Date Born: 1848

Date Died: 1924

Home Country/ies: Austria

Institution(s): Universität Wien


Overview


Selected Bibliography

[with A. Hübl] Abteien Klöster in Osterreich. Vienna: Verlag V.A.


Sources

Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire d l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986 p. 406



Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Wolfsgruben, Cölestin." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wolfsgrubenc/.


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Wolters, Alfred

Full Name: Wolters, Alfred

Gender: male

Date Born: 1884

Date Died: unknown

Home Country/ies: Germany


Overview

Assistant to Georg Swarzenski at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, co-edited Städel Jahrbuch beginning in 1921 – 1936. Son of Paul Wolters (?)






Citation

"Wolters, Alfred." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/woltersa/.


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Assistant to Georg Swarzenski at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, co-edited Städel Jahrbuch beginning in 1921 – 1936. Son of Paul Wolters (?)

Wolters, Christian

Full Name: Wolters, Christian

Gender: male

Date Born: unknown

Date Died: unknown

Home Country/ies: Germany


Overview

Art historian; use of information provided by X-rays of artwork.


Selected Bibliography

Die Bedeutung der Gemäldedurchleutung mit Roentgenstrahlen für die Kunstgeschichte. Frankfurt, 1938.


Sources

Bazin 411




Citation

"Wolters, Christian." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/woltersc/.


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Search for materials by & about this art historian:

Art historian; use of information provided by X-rays of artwork.