Full Name: Seymour, Charles, Jr.
Date Born: 1912
Date Died: 1977
Place Born: New Haven, New Haven, CT, USA
Place Died: New Haven, New Haven, CT, USA
Home Country/ies: United States
Subject Area(s): Renaissance and sculpture (visual works)
Yale University professor of art history; renaissance and sculpture specialist. Seymour’s paternal family comprised many Yale faculty. His father was Charles Seymour (1885-1963), president of Yale 1937-50. The younger Seymour attended the Choate School and a year at King’s College, Cambridge University, before entering Yale in the class of 1935. At Yale he studied under Marcel Aubert and particularly Henri Focillon. Seymour and fellow student (and future Yale art history faculty Sumner McKnight Crosby) continued study in Paris in 1934 at the Ecole des Chartres and Sorbonne. He returned to Yale to complete his Ph.D. in 1938, writing his dissertation on the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Noyon. The work was selected as the inaugural volume in the Yale History of Art series. While an instructor at Yale, Seymour was part of a group (also including Focillon) urging Seymour’s father to create a department of the History of Art (capable of issuing undergraduate degrees) instead of the graduate discipline it had been. Seymour joined the new National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. as curator of sculpture in 1939; the following year Yale’s History of Art department was created. Seymour served in army intelligence during World War II, 1942-45. After the war he returned to Washington as assistant chief curator. In 1949 he left the Gallery to return to his alma mater as associate professor. In 1954 he was appointed full professor. The following year Yale initiated the Directed Studies program for art history. Seymour was one of the principal faculty here, using the course to examine works of art first hand. In 1966 Seymour published the volume on Italian sculpture for the prestigious Pelican History of Art series. He was also instrumental in creating the conservation laboratory at the Yale University Art Gallery. He died at age 65.
[dissertation:] Notre Dame of Noyon in the Twelfth Century. Yale University, 1938; Notre-Dame of Noyon in the Twelfth Century; a Study in the Early Development of Gothic Grchitecture. Yale Historical Publications: History of Art 1.New Haven: Yale University Press, 1939. Michelangelo’s David: A Search for Identity. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburgh Press,1967; Sculpture in Italy: 1400-1500. Pelican History of Art 26. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1966; The Sculpture of Verrocchio. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society,1971; Tradition and Experiment in Modern Sculpture. Washington, DC: American University Press, 1949; Early Italian Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery: a Catalogue. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery/Yale University Press, 1970.
Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, pp.15, 89 (cited); [obituaries:] Crosby, Sumner M. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 37 no. 1 (Fall 1978): 7; “Charles Seymour Jr. of Yale, 65, Authority on History of Italian Art.” New York Times April 9, 1977. p. 17.