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Pollitt, J. J.

    Full Name: Pollitt, J. J.

    Other Names:

    • Jerome Jordan Pollitt

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1934

    Place Born: Fair Lawn, Bergen, NJ, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): archaeology and Classical


    Professor of classical art and archaeology, Yale University, 1962-1999. Pollitt was born to John K. Pollitt, an New Jersey business man and mayor, and Doris Jordan (Pollitt). He graduated from Yale University with a B. A. in 1957, serving in the United States Army Reserve between 1958 and 1964. He continued graduate work at Columbia University. In 1962 he was appointed assistant professor of classical art and archaeology at Yale University. The following year his Ph.D. was granted from Columbia, his dissertation on the topic terminology of ancient Greek art. He wrote the volumes on ancient art for the ground-breaking “Sources and Documents” series in 1965 and 1966. In 1969 he was made associate professor at Yale. He chaired the department of Classics for the 1971-1972 year (and a second time 1974-1975). His 1972 introduction to classical art, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, brought his reputation as a progressive scholar to a wide range of students. In 1973 he was promoted full professor. He was Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Archaeology between 1974-1978. He chaired the department of the history of art from 1981-1984. He was named John M. Schiff Professor of Classical Archeology and the History of Art at Yale in 1990. That year he wrote a second edition of this “Sources and Documents” book, The Art of Ancient Greece. Pollitt served as dean of the Yale Graduate School from 1986-1991. During that time he was responsible for the unpopular Kagan-Pollitt decision, cutting back on graduate students who taught and their salaries. He retired from Yale, as Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classical Archeology in 1999. Pollitt’s work has focused overall on how ancient Greek art expresses the same cultural characteristics for which Greek literature and philosophy are noted. His 1972 book Art and Experience in Classical Greece has long been a staple in introductory art history courses on ancient art. It elucidates classical art less in terms of style and more in functionality and daily life. Pollitt was one of a few professors to have served as chair of two departments at Yale University.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] (as “Jerry Pollitt”) The Critical Terminology of the Visual Arts in Ancient Greece. Columbia, 1963; The Ancient View of Greek Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974; The Art of Greece: ca. 1400-31 B.C., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall 1965; The Art of Ancient Greece: Sources and Documents [revision of the Art of Greece, 1965] New York: Cambridge University Press 1990; The Art of Rome: ca. 753 B.C. – A. D. 337. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall 1966; Art and Experience in Classical Greece. New York: Cambridge University Press 1972; The Ancient View of Greek Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974; edited, with Matheson, Susan. Greek Vases at Yale 1975; Art in the Hellenistic Age. New York: Cambridge University Press 1986; edited, with Palagia, Olga. Personal Styles in Greek Sculpture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.


    Who’s Who in American Art 16 (1984): 735;Yale University History of Art Department,; Leatherman, Courtney. “Yale’s Labor Strife Leads Some of Its Ph.D.s to Abandon Academe for Union Organizing.” The Chronicle of Higher Education December 5 1997, p. A16.


    "Pollitt, J. J.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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