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Eisler, Colin T.

    Full Name: Eisler, Colin T.

    Other Names:

    • Colin Tobias Eisler

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1931

    Place Born: Hamburg, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Early Netherlandish, Northern Renaissance, and painting (visual works)


    Art historian of Netherlandish painting and graphic works of art; Robert Lehman Professor of Fine Arts, New York University. Eisler was born to George B. Eisler, a Hamburg publisher, and Kate Basseches (Eisler). The family emigrated to the United States where the younger Eisler graduated from Yale University in 1952. He continued graduate study at Oxford University, 1952-53, before entering Harvard University. At Harvard he received his A.M. in 1954. While working on his doctorate, he was appointed instructor in art history at Yale and Curator in art gallery’s department of prints and drawings (1955-1957). He received his Ph.D. in 1957 from Harvard. He spent the 1957-58 academic year as a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He married Benita Blitzer (b. 1937) in 1961, a literary scholar and biographer. Eisler was made assistant professor, New York University, in 1958, advancing to associate professor in 1960. He was named professor of art history in 1968 and Robert Lehman Professor of Fine Arts. Eisler wrote an early summary of how the German expatriate art-history community affected American scholarship, “‘Kunstgeschichte’ American Style.” Eisler professed to disliking many major areas of art, German Expressionism, the art of Blake and Fuseli and the late Picasso. His specialty of northern Renaissance art was his major area of publication.

    Selected Bibliography

    Early Netherlandish Painting [Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection]. London: Sotheby’s (Philip Wilson Publishers), 1989; The Master of the Unicorn: the Life and Work of Jean Duvet. New York: Abaris Books, 1977; Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1977; Flemish & Dutch Drawings from the 15th to the 18th Century. New York: Shorewood Publishers, 1963; The Seeing Hand: a Treasury of Great Master Drawings. New York: Harper & Row, 1975; “What Takes Place in the Getty Annunciation?” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 111 (March 1988): 193-202; “French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: the Limbourgs and Their Contemporaries.” The Art Bulletin 63 (June 1981): 328-32; “Two Entombments and a Deposition from Early Netherlandish Passion Altars.” Gesta 20 no. 1 (1981): 257-62; “American Art History, God Shed his Grace on Thee.” Art News 75 (May 1976): 64-73; “Golden Christ of Cortona and the Man of Sorrows in Italy.” The Art Bulletin 52 (June-September 1970): 233-46, part II, The Art Bulletin 51 (June-September 1969): 107-18; “‘Kunstgeschichte’ American Style,” in Fleming, D. and Bailyn, Bernard, eds. The Intellectual Migration: Europe and America, 1930-1960. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969.


    Eisler, Colin. [Memorial essay to Gert Schiff]. In Memoriam Gert Schiff, 1926-1990. New York: Institute of Fine Art, New York University, 1991, pp. 20-22.


    "Eisler, Colin T.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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