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Gordon, Donald E.

    Full Name: Gordon, Donald E.

    Other Names:

    • Donald Edward Gordon

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1931

    Date Died: 1984

    Place Born: New York, NY, USA

    Place Died: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Modern (style or period)


    Modernist art historian at the University of Pittsburgh; expert on Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Gordon attended Harvard University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1960. He did post-graduate work at the Universities of Hamburg and Marburg, as well as the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich. He began his teaching career at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1960 and was promoted to associate professor in 1963. In 1968, he published the first major monograph on the German Expressionist artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in English. Gordon’s dedication to primary textual sources was evident in the supplementary material, translated into English for the first time, of the Brücke (art) movement. In 1969 he moved to Pittsburgh and the university there as a full professor. He also headed the Frick Fine Arts collection at the University until 1974. His second primary-sources book appeared that same year, a two-volume index of exhibitions of modern art in Europe between 1900-1916. The index translated titles in French, German, and Russian into English, allowing scholars at a glance trace the spread of modernist art in western Europe. For the 1981-82 academic year was a visiting professor at Columbia University. His next book, Expressionism: Art and Idea, had already been accepted when he died of cancer at age 52. It was published posthumously in 1987.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938): A Study of the Early Chronology, and an Analysis of the Formal development of the Graphic Works. Harvard, 1960; “Pollack’s ‘Bird’ or How Jung Did Not Offer Much Help in Myth-Making.” Art in America 68 (1980): 43-53; Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968; Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: a Retrospective Exhibition. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts/New York Graphic Society, 1968; Expressionism: Art and Idea. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987; Modern Art Exhibitions: 1900-1916. 2 vols. Munich: Prestel, 1974.


    Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 102 mentioned; Saxon, Wolfgang. “Donald Gordon, 52, Professor.” New York Times April 11, 1984, p. B11.


    "Gordon, Donald E.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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