W. Eugene "Gene" Kleinbauer Dies

3 June 2019


W. Eugene Kleinbauer died in Bloomington, IN, where he had been professor of art history at Indiana University.  Though a Byzantinist, many considered him the father of art historiography in the United States While still a professor of art history at UCLA, Kleinbauer wrote Modern Perspectives in Western Art History, 1971, which would become the cornerstone survey of art history departments nationwide teaching art methods- and art-historiography classes.  It, and Udo Kultermann's Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte (then only available in German) were the basis of this Dictionary of Art Historians founded in 1983.  Kleinbauer's book created developmental history of art history in 105 pages with accompanying primary source texts and an introduction to each reading.  Many of these readings (all in English translation) were buried in obscure sources, if translated at all.  He grouped the methods of art history into "!ntrinsic Perspectives" (connoisseurship, formalism, iconology) and "Extrinsic Perspectives" (psychological approaches, Marxism and Geistesgeschichte) followed by primary examples of each.  Only Readings in Art History (1969) by Harold Spencer can be thought to have preceded this;  that work, however, did not attempt a history of the discipline.

Kleinbauer's second introductory text to art history, Research Guide to the History of Western Art, 1982, written together with Thomas Slavens, built on the earlier work, providing a tool for historiographc scholarship.  Since these, the field has blossomed for English-language scholars with a host of sources, translations, and essays.  

Lee Sorensen, editor


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

'Dictionary' a Staple of Dissertation Scholarship

30 August 2018

According to ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis Full Text (PQDT), fifty-four dissertations have cited the Dictionary of Art Historians in the last fourteen years, (2004-2018). The Dictionary has had a long history assisting scholars ever since it's first electronic appearance in the 1990s but came into higher profile with the emergance of the internet as a scholarly research tool.  The edited collection on the history of the College Art Association, 2011, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association, included liberal reference to the site.  But newer scholars, frequently outside the field of art-historical studies, have consistently cited the DoAH in their doctoral research.  Like many scholars building digital research tools, we've been (pleasantly) surprised at the uses for a tool originally designed to assist the narrow area of art historiography.

Research in how the database is used helps us develop a tool better designed to assist researchers studying historiography, biography, genealogy, intellectual history and cultural methodology.  

We'd love to hear from users of the Dictionary about other ways the tool is being used.  Contact the editor, Lee Sorensen, at or


Lee Sorensen

Monday, June 3, 2019

Biographical Dictionary of Historic Art Historians Launches Rebirth

March 21, 2018 | Duke University, Durham, NC

A thirty-year-old resource emerged today as a modern reference tool for art history.  The Dictionary of Art Historians,, announced a new interface, data structure, and user options, the product of a year-long redesign.  The original tool, a website since 1996, was developed privately by Lee Sorensen, the art and visual studies librarian at Duke University.  Duke’s Wired! Lab for digital art history & visual culture sponsored the project beginning in 2016.  The new DAH offers searchable data on over 2400 art historians, museum directors, and art-writers of western art from all time periods.  Over 200 academic websites have linked to the project; the tool has been called one of the core tools of art historiography and cited in books and journal articles.

Begun pre-internet in 1986 as a card file, the project addressed a lack of information on the intellectual heritage that art historians created or used in writing art histories.  “Before the DAH, it was impossible to discover even simple things like an art historian’s scholarly reputation, his/her core writings or even under whom they studied,” Sorensen said.  “These things are important when reading a text or trying to understand the errors of past research.”

“The project’s redesign recognizes twenty-first-century scholars’ need to access information in the DAH using multiple digital research methods,” said Hannah Jacobs, Wired!’s digital humanities specialist responsible for the redesign, “It redefines the project content as data that can be mined at both micro and macro levels. By standardizing the data and developing new ways to access the data, we are making methods such as text mining, data analysis, and data visualization possible for our audiences.”

The new Dictionary of Art Historians site will continue to be developed over the coming year. New features to be released include

  • Additional filtering capabilities on the “Explore” page;
  • Ability to export filtered entries in open data formats;
  • Additional resources for citation management;
  • New data fields;
  • New and updated entries.

The Dictionary of Art Historians continues to accept contributions. Please submit feedback about the project, new entries, or edits to existing entries to

Wednesday, March 21, 2018