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Goldscheider, Ludwig

    Image Credit: Yashiro and Berenson: Art History between Japan and Italy

    Full Name: Goldscheider, Ludwig

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 03 March 1896

    Date Died: 26 June 1973

    Place Born: Vienna, Vienna state, Austria

    Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: Germany and United States


    Art historian of Renaissance art and art-book publisher. Goldscheider was born to Wilhelm and Julie Itte Lifschitz (Goldscheider), both of Jewish descent. His father was a jeweler.  Goldscheider finished his Abitur in Vienna in 1914. From 1914 to 1918 he served in WWI as an officer in the Austrian army. After that, between 1919 and 1921, he studied art history in Vienna under the so-called second “Vienna School” art historians, Julius von Schlosser, and Max Dvorak. His first published work, onw of poetry, appeared in 1921.  In 1923 he received his doctorate supervised by Schlosser. Goldscheider co-founded along with Béla Horovitz (1898-1955) and Friedrich “Fritz” Ungar (d. 1988) the Phaidon-Verlages (Phaidon Publishing House) in Vienna in 1923.  The firm published editions of popular, inexpensive literature and art books. He also authored his own art- and poetry books during this time. Goldscheider bought the text of Jakob Burckhardt’s Die Kultur der Renaissance in ltalien (Renaissance Culture in Italy) re-issuing it in an illustrated format in 1925 with an introduction by Wilhelm Waetzoldt. That reissued 1860 volume, under Goldscheider’s book design, brought the late Swiss scholar a wider reputation selling over 20,000 copies. Other seminal art-history texts Goldscheider’s Phaidon Verlag reprinted included Velazquez und sein Jahrhundert by Carl Justi and the biographical accounts of Michelangelo by Hermann Grimm, both in 1933. Other titles included Raphael (1934), and the book on Leonardo by Woldemar von Seidlitz (1935).However, the following year, 1938, Austria annexed itself to Nazi Germany and Goldscheider fled National Socialist persecution for England.  He remained in London the rest of his life.  In 1941 his partner, Muriel Breaks, bore him a son. His partner Unger emigrated to New York and founded the publishing house Fredrich Unger [Press] in New York.  The British publisher Sir Stanley Unwin (1884–1968) acquired Phaidon Verlag in Austria and transferred it to London, giving Horovitz and Goldscheider control of the publishing while his firm of Allen and Unwin marketed the titles with their own. Under Goldscheider’s tenure (1938-1973) the Press published numerous titles within art and art history.  Goldscheider commissioned some of the most eminent British art historians to publish with them, including Anthony Blunt, Kenneth Clark and  Ernst Gombrich among others. He himself published notable works from the Press on Michelangelo.  As an art scholar he eschewed publishing in journals until the 1950s.  He developed a close relationship with the artist Oskar Kokoschka publishing several books and an interview with the artist.  Goldscheider stepped down from directorship of Phaidon in 1973 because of illness and died the same year.  His papers are housed at the Getty Center, Malibu, CA.


    Goldenscheider co-wrote monographs with major art historians, including Philip Hendy, Fritz Novotny, and Wilhelm Uhde.  As an author of art books through Phaidon, his books were always appreciated for their image quality when the scholarship was not unique (cf. Gombrich’s review of Etruscan Art in the Burlington Magazine).  Phaidon’s publishing set the standard for the so-called “coffee table” books of other publishers, most of which did not meet Goldscheider’s standards.

    Selected Bibliography

    • Die Wiese. (Gedichte) Wien 1921
    • Zeitlose Kunst. Gegenwartsnahe Werke aus fernen Epochen. Wien 1934
    • 500 Selbstporträts von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Wien 1936
    • Art without epoch. London, New York 1937;
    • and Novotny, Fritz. lmpressionists. London, New York 1937
    • The paintings of Michelangelo. London, New York 1940. Franz.: Paris 1948
    • The sculptures of Michelangelo. London, New York 1940;
    • Etruscan sculpture. New York 1941
    • and Hendy, Philip. Giovanni Bellini. Oxford, London 1942
    • Leonardo da Vinci. Life and work. London 1943;
    • Jacob Burckhardt, The civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. New York 1944
    • and Uhde, Wilhelm. Vincent van Gogh. Oxford, London 1945;
    • Michelangelo drawings. London 1951;
    • “Michelangelo studies. II. Virtus et Voluptas.” Connoisseur 133 (1954): 147-149;
    • “El Greco’s Christ on the cross.” Connoisseur 134 (1954): 177-179;
    • The left arm of Michelangelo’s ‘Notte’. Annali 3 (1954): 241-242;
    • A colloquy between Oskar Kokoschka and Ludwig Goldscheider. New York 1963;
    • “Oskar Kokoschkas Bildnismalereien aus den letzten sieben Jahren. ” Die Kunst 63


    Wendland, Ulrike. Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler. Munich: Saur, 1999, vol. 1, pp. 208-10.


    Getty Research Library archives.  Ludwig Goldscheider Papers, 1911-1973,


    "Goldscheider, Ludwig." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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