Founder of the Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Art History Institute) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 1890. Riehl beat out Richard Muther and Heinrich Wölfflin for the position in art history at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. There he founded the Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Art History Institute), initially named the "Kunsthistorisches Seminar und Kupferstichsammlung" (Art history seminar and Graphics Collection) in 1890, becoming its first-time art professor. Art-historical research at Ludwig-Maximilian University had begun in the 19th century with lectures in art from faculty in other departments, such as Ludwig Schorn and Moritz Carrière and the Florian Meilinger (1763-1836/7). The future art historian Aby M. Warburg heard his lectures there in 1888. Riehl died in 1911 and was succeeded by Wölfflin. His students included Paul Frankl, and August Grisebach. Riehl's tenure as chair of art history focused on a regional search for identity in the study of Bavarian art. His successors, Wölfflin, Wilhelm Pinder and Hans Jantzen steered the Institute toward more mainstream issues of art history over the entire German-speaking world. A second chair with a focus Bavarian art history was established in 1963.
Deutsche und italienische Kunstcharaktere. Frankfurt/Main: Verl. Keller, 1893; Die Kunst an der Brennerstrasse. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel 1898; Bayerns Donautal: Tausend Jahre deutscher Kunst. Munich: Georg Müller, 1912.
Gombrich, Ernst H. Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, p. 39 [identifies him as "A. Riehl"].