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Hermann, Wolfgang

    Full Name: Hermann, Wolfgang

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 17 August 1899

    Date Died: unknown

    Place Born: Berlin, Germany

    Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre) and sculpture (visual works)

    Institution(s): Kunstbibliothek Berlin


    Schlossmuseum Berlin curator, private London art history scholar. Hermann was born in Berlin in 1899 to Richard Hermann, a timber merchant, and Hannah Kirstein Hermann. He attended the Joachimsthaler Gymnasium, a private boy’s secondary school, but was drafted for World War I before his graduation. From 1919 to 1924, Hermann studied Art History, Philosophy, and Archeology in Munich under Adolph Goldschmidt, Heinrich Wölffin, Hans Jantzen, and Wilhelm Pinder, and wrote his dissertation on Baroque cloisters. From 1924 to 1933, worked at The Kunstbibliothek Berlin, a state museum under Curt Glaser. Around 1927, he was elevated to curator. He penned articles about modern architecture between 1925-1928, including Kompositionsgesetze deutscher Profanbauten um 1600 (Composition laws of German secular buildings around 1600) in 1925, and Neue Berliner Baukunst (New Berlin Architecture) in 1927.

    In October of 1933, Hermann was dismissed from his role at The Kunstbibliothek Berlin on grounds of being non-aryan, part of the racial laws instituted by the new Nazi government. Shortly thereafter, he migrated to London, and found employment at a literary agency. Five years later, he managed a zipper factory for fifteen years. From 1953, after receiving a pension as reparations from Germany, Hermann returned to art history as a private scholar. During this period, he wrote his main work, Gottfried Semper, theoretischer Nachlass, published in 1981.

    Selected Bibliography

    • Kompositionsgesetze deutscher Profanbauten um 1600. Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst: [volume] (1925): 210–219;
    • ”Neue Berliner Baukunst.” Kunst und Künstler 3 (1927): 30–37;
    • Translated and introduced In what style should we build? Two decades of German architectural debate. Santa Monica, CA: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1992;;
    • Gottfried Semper, theoretischer Nachlass an der ETH Zürich: Katalog und Kommentare. Birkhäuser. 1981;
    • Smith, Richard Cándida. Journey from Berlin: Wolfgang Hermann. University of California, Los Angeles, and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. (1992).


    • 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. 292-293.


    • Oral History Program, Getty Center, Santa Monica: CA

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen and Zahra Hassan


    Lee Sorensen and Zahra Hassan. "Hermann, Wolfgang." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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