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Webster, J. Carson

    Full Name: Webster, James Carson

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 27 June 1905

    Date Died: 15 February 1989

    Place Born: Bloomfield, OH, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Institution(s): Northwestern University


    Webster entered Princeton University where earned his 1929. He attended graduate school at the Sorbonne College during the summers of 1930 and 1931. Returning to the United States and Princeton he was granted an M.F.A. in 1933. He began teaching at Northwestern University as an instructor in the history of art the following year and working long-distance on his Ph.D. He married Elizabeth Linard in 1935. Together with the artist Katz, Leo (1887-1982) he published a book on understanding modern art in 1936. He was promoted to assistant professor of art in 1938 and awarded his doctorate from Princeton in 1939 with a dissertation topic on the labors of the months (cycle) in medieval art, written under Charles Rufus Morey. Webster was named a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, In 1940 Princeton University published his dissertation the following year as part of their prestigious Princeton Monographs in Art and Archaeology series. At Northwestern, Webster advanced to associate professor in 1942, serving as acting chairman in the Northwestern University Department of Art during the years of World War II, 1941-1946. He was promoted to (full) professor in 1948. In the summer of 1948 he taught as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago. Webster did a term as Editor-in-Chief of the Art Bulletin (1953-1956) and was again a summer visiting professor in 1958 at the University of Minnesota. He chaired his department of art between 1960-1964. Increasingly local architecture became an interest of his. He edited The Chicago School of Architecture: A Symposium in 1972 and later served on the Commission on Chicago Architectural Landmarks and assisted the Historic American Buildings Survey, Chicago Recording Project. He retired from Northwestern University in 1973 as professor emeritus of art. In retirement he researched the American sculpture Erastus Palmer which he published in book form in 1983. He died in 1989.

    Selected Bibliography

    • [dissertation:] The Labors of the Months in Antique and Medieval Art. Princeton University, 1939; published, The Labors of the Months in Antique and Medieval Art. Princeton Monographs in Art and Archaeology, XXI. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1940, [parallel printing] Northwestern University Studies in the Humanities, no. 4.  Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1940;
    • Understanding Modern Art Division: an Interpretation of the Historical, Psychological, Philosophical, and Scientific Backgrounds of Modern Art. Chicago: Delphian Society, 1936;
    • Architecture of Chicago and Vicinity. Media, PA: Society of Architectural Historians, 1965;
    • Erastus D. Palme. Newark, DE : University of Delaware Press, 1983.



    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Webster, J. Carson." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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