Byzantinist art history professor, historiographer of art. Kleinbauer studied under economics at the University of California, Kleinbauer was the son and namesake of Walter Eugene Kleinbauer and Bernice Barnett (Kleinbauer). After attending secondary school he recieved his bachelor's degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959. He continued at Berkeley, now in art history, writing a master's thesis under Walter Horn in 1962. Kleinbauer move to Princeton, getting a second master's degree (M.F.A.) in art history and his Ph.D., writing his dissertation under Kurt Weitzmann and Institute of Fine Arts, New York University professor Richard Krautheimer. His dissertation was accepted in 1967 with a topic of the aisled tetraconch church. He married Julianne van Horn. From 1965 to 1972 he taught at the University of California, Los Angeles. A medievalist by training, Kleinbauer early on developed an interest in art historiography. He wrote the first broad-based historiography of art in English, Modern Perspectives in Western Art History, in 1971. Essentially a reader of the key texts of art history, the first 100 pages contained a clear and somewhat personal account of the history of art history. Kleinbauer moved to the Indiana University in Bloomington in 1973 where he taught the remainder of his professional career. In 1978 he was the Sam and Ayala Zacks Visiting Professor of the History of Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1976 he was chosen to edit the studies of Warburg librarian and scholar Fritz Saxl, The Art of Byzantium and the Medieval West. He followed this with a vademecum on the discipline, coauthored with the professor of library science Thomas Slavens, divided by methodological schools, A Research Guide to the History of Western Art (1982). Between 1980 and 1983 he was editor of the periodical of medieval art, Gesta. Kleinbauer was appointed associate director of the School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in 1988. He again published a serious tract on the historiography of art in1992, this time a long essay on the major architectural historians of the Byzantine and early Christian era, along with a large annotated bibliography. A book on Saint Sophia at Constantinople appeared in 1999. Together with Antony White and Henry Matthews, he issued the book Hagia Sophia in 2004.
Kleinbauer, while a noted Byzantinist, gained an equally large reputation for his study guides to art historiography. His 1971 Modern Perspectives in Western Art History was the first English-language survey on the history of art history. His account mixed personal observations on the discipline with a solid narrative concluding with primary-source readings, all in English translation. He followed this with a co-authored 1982 volume, Research Guide to the History of Western Art, a scholarly bio-bibliography of historic and contemporary historians of art. These introductory texts to art historiography became the study texts for art-history methods classes of succeeding generations of art-history college and graduate students. His work fed an American interest in art historiography and among English-speaking scholars in general which blossomed into numerous subsequent studies, critiques and reformations of the discipline.
[dissertation] The Aisled Tetraconch. Princeton University, 1967; "Geistesgeschichte and Art History." Art Journal 30 no2 (Winter 1970/1971): 148-153; Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: an Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971; "Zvart'nots and the Origins of Christian Architecture in Armenia." Art Bulletin 54 (Sept 1972): 245-62; "'Aedita in turribus': the Superstructure of the Early Christian Church of Lorenzo in Milan." Gesta 15 no.1/2 (1976): 1-9; and Slavens, Thomas P. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982; Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture : an Annotated Bibliography and Historiography. Boston, MA: G. K. Hall, 1992; Saint Sophia at Constantinople: Singulariter in Mundo. Dublin, NH: William L. Bauhan, 1999; and White, Antony, and Matthews, Henry. Hagia Sophia. London: Scala, 2004.
Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. "The Author." Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture: An Annotated Bibliography and Historiography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1992, p. xiv; "Interview with 1995 Morgan Chair: Professor Eugene Kleinbauer." Parnassus (University of Louisville) 2 (1997):43-49; "Eugen Kleinbauer Curriculm Vitae." http://www.iu.edu/~nelc/people/documents/cv_kleinbauer.pdf