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Ostrow, Stephen E.

    Full Name: Ostrow, Stephen E.

    Other Names:

    • Stephen Ostrow

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1932

    Place Born: New York, NY, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): American (North American), photographs, and prints (visual works)


    Art Museum director and Chief of Prints and Photography, Library of Congress, 1984-1996. Ostrow’s parents were Herman Ostrow, M.D. (1896-1954), a New York eye surgeon and Anne Ostrow, an attorney. He graduated from Oberlin College, continuing at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University where he received his Ph.D. in 1966 with a dissertation topic of Agostino Carracci. Ostrow was appointed professor at Rutgers University (where he advised James H. Stubblebine on his 1964 book on Guido da Siena) and then at Brown University. At Brown he mounted a 1969 exhibit called “Raid the Icebox,” inviting Andy Warhol to select a show from the University’s art museum. Ostrow became director of the Rhode Island School of Design’s museum in 1971. He joined the Portland (Oregon) Art Association as director. In 1984 the Library of Congress appointed him Chief of the Prints and Photography Department. Ostrow brought the division into the electronic age, modernizing the department and seeking special funds for photography outreach programs. A Stephen Ostrow Distinguished Visitors program was established in 1988 at Reed College Ed and Sue Cooley and John and Betty Gray in honor of his advisory role in the formulation of the Cooley-Gray gift to the College. He retired emeritus from the Library in 1996 and was succeeded by Linda Ayres.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Agostino Carracci. 4 vols. New York University, 1966; Baroque painting: Italy and her influence. New Haven: Eastern Press, 1968.


    Richard, Paul. “Corcoran Front-Runner.” Washington Post, September 23, 1977, p. C6; Goodwin, George M. “A New Jewish Elite: Curators, Directors and Benefactors of American Art Museums.” Modern Judaism 18, no. 1, (February 1998): ; Olin, Margaret. “C[lement] Hardesh (Greenberg) and Company: Formal Criticism and Jewish Identity.” in Kleeblatt, Norman L. ed. Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities. New York: The Jewish Musuem/New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, pp. 39-59.


    "Ostrow, Stephen E.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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