Co-editor of major art-history encyclopedia, Summa Artis. Pijoán began his career in Spain. In 1914 he issued a general account of world art, Historia de arte. He married Genevieve Bugnion (Pijoán). In the United States Pijoan taught at Pomona College. He reissued and updated his Historia in a three-volume English edition in 1928, with Robert B. Harshe of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ralph Loveland Roys (1879-1965). In 1930 Pijoán was put in charge of selecting a muralist to decorate the refectory of the college. Pijoán discussed this with the artist Jorge Juan Crespo de la Serna (b. 1879), then living in Hollywood, who suggested the Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco. Through Crespo, Pijoán contacted Orozco who accepted the commission. The mural caused controversy, but Pijoán prevailed. That year, too, Pijoán collaborated with Manuel B. Cossío on the beginnings of a major comprehensive art survey in the Spanish language, Summa artis, historia general del arte. In 1932 Pijoán met Orozco in Florence and toured the muralist through the Uffizi. Pijoán moved to the University of Chicago where he was a lecturer in art, 1936-40. His daughter, Irène Pijoan (1953-2004), was an artist who work has included biographic components of her parents in her art.
Pijoán y Soteras, José
and Roys, Ralph Loveland, and Harshe, Robert B. History of Art. 3 vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928; and Cossío, Manuel, eds. Summa Artis: Historia generale del arte. 18 vols. 1931; Historia de arte. 3 vols. Barcelona, 1914; and Gudiol, José. Las pinturas murales románicas de Cataluña. Barcelona: Alpha 1948; "Parable of the Virgins from Dura-Europos." The Art Bulletin 19 (December 1937): 592-95; "El Greco, a Spaniard." The Art Bulletin 12 (March 1930): 12-19.
Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l'histoire de l'art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 376; Jos' Clemente Orozco: An Autobiography. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962, pp. 139, 157; [obituary] "Jose Pijoan, 85, Dies; Art History Author." New York Times June 18, 1963, p. 37.