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Lehmann, Henri

    Full Name: Lehmann, Henri

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 14 March 1905

    Date Died: 1991

    Place Born: Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Ancient American, Colombian, Guatemalan, Latin American, Maya (culture or style), and Native Middle American

    Career(s): curators

    Institution(s): Staatliche Museen Berlin


    Lehman was born in 1905 in Charlottenburg, Germany. His parents were Frida Model and manufacturer Georg Lehmann. He began his studies at Freiburg University and later completed his doctorate of philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. He worked under Rudolf Kautzsch and completed his dissertation Lombardische Plastik im letzten Drittel des XV. Jahrhunderts in 1928.

    From 1930 to 1932, he began a research assistant position at the Staatliche Museen Berlin. After the first boycott of Jewish stores in Berlin, he emigrated to Spain in 1933. In Spain, he was appointed to the Musee d’Ethnographie. There, he worked in the Americas Department and oversaw the organization of special exhibitions. In 1939, he left his job for a year to volunteer to fight for the French army. After the defeat of France, Lehmann traveled to Colombia in 1942 on his first ethnographic expedition financed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

    He returned to France in 1945 where he began working as the director of the Americas department at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris where he organized the collection of Ancient American art works. Between 1953 and 1967 he also led four major ethnographic and archaeological expeditions to Guatemala. Most notably, one of these expeditions involved the Excavation of the Maya Poqomam Fortress in Mixco Viejo. In 1961, he married journalist Suzanne Montigny. During this time, in 1960, he also took on the role as Vice Director in the Musee d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Between 1971-1972, he worked in Colombia as a consultant for UNESCO and eventually retired in 1975.


    Selected Bibliography

    • “Contribution a une etude critique des styles des vases de Nazca (Perou).”  Journal de la Société des Américanistes(1934): 209-212;
    • Le fonds Maya du Musee d’Ethnographie du Trocadero de Paris. Maya Research. (Tulane University) 2, n. 4 (1935): 345-366;
    • Une vue de la Place d’Ognissanti de Florence. Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1936, S. 244-247;
    • mit A. Metraux: Archeologie de la province d’Oruro, Bolivie. In: /. Soc. Americanistes. N. F. 29, 1937, S. 147-155;
    • Colonial Art at Popayan. Gazette des Beaux-Arts 24,1943, S. 41-54;
    • El arte colonial en Popayan. In: R. de la Universidad del Cauca. 1944, S. 165-183;
    • Arqueologia de Moscopan. In: R. del Institute Ethnologico National 1, 1944, S. 657-670;
    • The Moguex-Coconuco. Handbook of South American Indians. vol. 2. Washington 1946, pp. 969-974, and “The archeology of the Popayan region.” pp. 861-864;
    • La civilta precolombiana de la Colombia. In: Vie Mondo. 12,1950, S. 599-612;
    • Les civilisations pre-colombiennes. Paris 1952; and Barlo, Robert. Statuettes grelots azteques de la vallee de Mexico. In: Tribus. 4/5, 1954/55, S. 157-176;
    • Les ceramiques precolombiennes. Paris 1959 [English], Pre-Columbian ceramics. New York, Viking, 1962;
    • and Marquer, Paulette. “Etude anthropologique des indiens du groupe ‘Guambiane Kokkonuko’ (Region de Popayan, Colombie).” B. de la Soc. d’Anthropologie. 1960, S. 177-236;
    • L’art precolombien. (series: Carrefour des Arts). Paris 1960
    • “Nouvelles données sur le début de la pénétration mexicaine en pays Maya.”Akten des 34. Internationalen Amerikanisten-Kongresses. Vienna 1962, S. 332-339 and, Sluys, Félix and Bouteiller, Marcelle. Naitre. Paris: [Numéro spécial] La Vie médicale. 1963;
    • Contribution ä l’ethnographie Kwaiker, Colombie. In: /. Soc. Americanistes. 52, 1963, S. 255-270;
    • Guida de las ruinas de Mixco Viejo (Guatemala). Guatemala 1968;
    • Arts Maya du Guatemala. [exhibition catalog at the Grand Palais]. Paris: Grand Palais, 1968.


    • Fauvet-Berthelot, Marie-France. “Henri Lehmann (1905-1991).” Journal De La Société Des Américanistes 78, no. 1 (1992): 179-85. Accessed June 11, 2021.;
    • 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. 421-4.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen and Sofia Silvosa


    Lee Sorensen and Sofia Silvosa. "Lehmann, Henri." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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