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Neurdenburg, Elisabeth

    Full Name: Neurdenburg, Elisabeth

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1882

    Date Died: 1957

    Place Born: Breda, North Brabant, Netherlands

    Home Country/ies: Netherlands

    Subject Area(s): Dutch (culture or style) and Netherlandish


    Lector and first woman professor of art history in the Netherlands. In 1902, Neurdenburg began studying Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Utrecht. She also attended courses at the Institute of Art History, given by Johanna de Jongh (1877-1946) and later by Willem Vogelsang. She also did art historical research. In 1910, she obtained a doctorate in Dutch Language and Literature with a dissertation on an incunabulum, a theatre play, entitled Van Nyeuvont, Loosheit ende Practicke; hoe sij vrou Lortse verheffen. In 1912, she became an assistant of Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, working on contributions for his Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. From that year, until 1918, she also was an assistant of Adriaan Pit (1860-1944), the Director of the Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst, the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. She studied the collections, including old pottery, which resulted in a series of publications, the most noted of which being the museum catalogue of old pottery of 1917. Neurdenberg was also engaged in the promotion of art historical education for high school students. In 1916-1917 and 1917-1918, she taught art history at a high school for girls in Amsterdam. In 1917 she became privaatdocent at the University of Amsterdam. Education in art history was the topic of her inaugural lecture. A year later she became Lector of Art History at the University of Groningen. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she founded the Institute for Art History. Beginning in 1918 (through 1952), she was a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin van de Nederlandse Oudheidkundige Bond, wherein she regularly published her own articles, mainly on pottery, sculpture and architecture. Her research on the Dutch painters Frans and Willem Van Mieris was published in the tenth volume, in 1928. Her book Old Pottery and Tiles appeared in 1923. In 1926, as a member of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), she wrote on the potential of the field of art history for Dutch female academics. Her particular interest in the sculptor and architect Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621) resulted in a monograph on this artist in 1930. A second book on old pottery and tiles appeared in 1943. A book on seventeenth-century sculpture in the Netherlands was issued in 1948. That same year she obtained an extraordinarius Professorship of Art History at Groningen, becoming the first female professor of art history in the Netherlands. She was succeeded in 1953 in Groningen by Henk Schulte Nordholt. Her career as a professor however was overshadowed by illness and as a result the impact she had on students and followers remained restricted.

    Selected Bibliography

    Van Nyeuvont, Loosheit ende Practike; hoe sy vrou Lortse verheffen. Utrecht: A. Oosthoek, 1910; Mus. Cat. Amsterdam, Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst, Catalogus van de Meubelen in het Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst te Amsterdam. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, Second edition, 1913; Mus. Cat. Amsterdam, Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedemis en Kunst, Oud Aardewerk. Toegelicht aan de verzamelingen in het Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst te Amsterdam. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1917; Onderwijs in de kunstgeschiedenis een eisch voor algemeene ontwikkeling. Openbare les, gehouden bij den aanvang harer lessen als privaat docente in de kunstgeschiedenis aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam op maandag 29 januari 1917. Amsterdam: P.N. Van Kampen & Zoon, 1917: 19; Nog eenige opmerkingen over het onderwijs in de kunstgeschiedenis. Openbare les, gehouden bij den aanvang harer lessen als lector in de moderne kunstgeschiedenis aan de Rijks Universiteit te Groningen op zaterdag 19 october 1918. Groningen/The Hague: J.B. Wolters, 1918; “De gestudeerde vrouw en de kunstgeschiedenis” Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 13 juni 1920; Twee Rotterdamsche tegeltableaux. Rotterdam, 1922; Old Dutch Pottery and Tiles. London: Benn Brothers Limited, 1923; De muurschilderingen in het koor van de Martinikerk te Groningen. Utrecht, 1924; “History of Art” in What Dutch University Women do in Holland and the Colonies. Pamphlet no. 3. November 1926. London: Langley and Sons, Limited: 25-27; “Judith Leyster” Oud Holland 46 (1929): 27-30; Hendrick de Keyser. Beeldhouwer en bouwmeester van Amsterdam. Amsterdam: Scheltema & Holkema [1930]; “Een teekening voor een der gevelsteenen van het voormalig N.Z. Huiszittenhuis te Amsterdam” Oud Holland 50 (1933): 225-230; De historische schoonheid van Groningen (Heemschut-serie 16) Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, 1942; Oude Nederlandsche Majolica en Tegels, Delftsch Aardewerk (Heemschut-serie 35) Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, 1943. Reprint Schiedam: Interbook International, 1978; De zeventiende-eeuwsche Beeldhouwkunst in de Noordelijke Nederlanden. Hendrick de Keyser, Artus Quellinus, Rombout Verhulst en tijdgenooten. Amsterdam: J.M. Meulenhoff, 1948.


    “In memoriam” Jaarboek van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (1957); Marcus-de Groot, Yvette “Elisabeth Neurdenburg. De eerste hooggeleerde vrouwe in de kunstgeschiedenis” Kunstlicht 14, 1 (1993): 4-9.

    Contributors: Monique Daniels


    Monique Daniels. "Neurdenburg, Elisabeth." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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