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Heintze, Helga, Freifrau von

    Full Name: Heintze, Helga, Freifrau von

    Other Names:

    • née Hoinkes

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1919

    Date Died: 1996

    Place Born: Bielsko-Biala, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

    Place Died: Rome, Lazio, Italy

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): painting (visual works), portraits, and Roman (ancient Italian culture or period)


    Romanist art historian, noted authority on portraiture. She was born in Bielitz, Silesia, Austria which is present-day Bielsko-Biala, Poland. Von Heintze was born Helga Hoinkes, the daughter of Carl Hoinkes (1882-1960), a cloth manufacturer and writer. She studied in Vienna beginning in 1940. She married the book publisher Wolf Freiherr von Heintze during World War II in 1944, becoming Freifrau (Baroness) von Heintze. As the War began to turn in favor of the Allies, she fled with her mother and young son to the west in 1945. Her son died and her husband was lost at war–listed as missing until 1959–when it was disclosed he had been a casualty during one of the last days of World War II in Bavaria. She moved to Hamburg, where she studied under Gerhard Kleiner, her dissertation on Roman portrait in Noricum essentially complete. Freifrau von Heintze received the 1952 stipendium from the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archaölogisches Institut or DAI) in Rome, the first after the war, to travel to Rome. She remained there–except for annual two-month sea cruises to Hamburg, for the rest of her life, nearly fifty years. There she became a fellow and assistant to the director, Guido Kaschnitz von Weinberg. After Kaschnitz von Weinberg’s death, she acted as his literary executor, publishing material beginning in 1962. During these years she assisted Hermoine Speier on the second edition of the Führer durch die öffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertümer in Rom, originally issued in 1912 by Wolfgang Helbig. In 1969 she authored the vademecum on Roman art for a series on world art conceived by Belser publishing. This masterpiece of brevity, with its carefully selected monuments, became a staple for undergraduates and was quickly translated into English–her only text–two years later. She formed a life-partnership with Mario Domenici-Grisi. She died after a lengthy illness and is buried in the cemetery near the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome. Von Heintze followed not methodological approach or school (Mitteilungen obituary), except that of the influence of Kaschnitz von Weinberg.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] Antike Porträts: zum Gedächtnis von Helga von Heintze. Möhnesee: Bibliopolis, 1999, pp. 317-328; [dissertation:] über das römische Porträt in Noricum, Vienna, ?; [Habilitation:] Imago clipeata. Hamburg1949; Römische Porträt-Plastik aus sieben Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: H. E. Günther, 1961; edited, Kaschnitz von Weinberg, Guido. Die Grundlagen der republikanischen Baukunst. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1962; edited, with Speier, Hermine. Helbig, Wolfgang. Führer durch die öffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertümer in Rom. 2nd ed. 4 vols. Tübingen: E. Wasmuth, 1963-1972; edited, with Kleiner, Gerhard. Kaschnitz von Weinberg, Guido. Ausgewählte Schriften. 2 vols. Berlin: Gebr. Mann 1965; Die antiken Porträts in Schloss Fasanerie bei Fulda. Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, 1968; Römische Kunst. Stuttgart: Belser, 1969, English, Roman Art. New York: Universe Books, 1971; Römische Porträts. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1974; edited, with Bonfante, Larissa. In Memoriam Otto J. Brendel: Essays in Archaeology and the Humanities. Mainz: von Zabern, 1976.


    [obituaries:] Steuben, Hans von. “Ein Halbes Jahrhundert in Rom.” Antike Welt 28 no.1 (1997): 84; ‘P.Z.’ “Helga von Heintze.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeolgoischen Instituts, Roemische Abteilung 104 (1997): vii-viii.


    "Heintze, Helga, Freifrau von." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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