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With, Karl

    Full Name: With, Karl

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1891

    Date Died: 1980

    Place Born: Bremerhaven, Bremen, Germany

    Place Died: Los Angeles, CA, USA

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Asian, Buddhism, East Asian, Japanese (culture or style), and sculpture (visual works)

    Career(s): curators


    East-Asianist art historian and museum curator, Strzygowski student, dismissed by Nazis, later taught at UCLA. After brief periods of study at Munich and Freiburg, With met and assisted Karl Ernst Osthaus, who later founded the Folkwang-Museum in Hagen, at the Museum für Kunst in Handel und Gewerbe in 1911. The next year he began studies with Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski at the University of Vienna where he specialized in Asian art. His dissertation in 1918 was on Buddhist sculpture in Japan. He acted as director of the Folkwang Museum 1919-21 and as curator for the collection of Baron von der Heyt in Amsterdam 1920-23. In 1928 Konrad Adenauer, then mayor of Cologne, appointed him director of the Kunstgewerbe-Museum of that city. Dismissed from his post by the Nazis in 1933 and singled out in the infamous “Enartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art) exhibition of 1937 as a “literary pimp” of the degenerate forms of art, Baron von der Heydt once again hired him in 1936 to purchase Asian and African art in Ascona. In 1939 With emigrated to the U.S. where, with one exception, he spent the remainder of his life. During World War II With taught in Pasadena and at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. In the first year afterward, he was director of the Modern Institute of Art in Beverly Hills. From 1950-62 he was professor of Art History at UCLA. With combined an interest in the value of common objects as art and a connoisseur’s approach to Asian art. His personal papers are at the Getty Research Institute for the Humanities.

    Selected Bibliography

    Karl With: Autobiography of Ideas : Lebenserinnerungen eines außergwöhnlichen Kunstgelehrten. Berlin: Gebruder Mann, 1997; Buddhistische Plastik in Japan bis in den Beginn des 8. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. 3rd ed. Wien: A. Schroll, 1922; Das Hohelied der Sonne; ein Buch vom Quell des Lebens. Berlin: Propyläen-verlag,1934. Java: brahmanische, budhistische und eigenlebige Architektur und Plastik auf Java. Geist, Kunst und Leben Asiens: 1. Hagen i. W.: Folkwang Verlag, G.M.B.H., 1920. –


    Karl With: Autobiography of Ideas : Lebenserinnerungen eines außergwöhnlichen Kunstgelehrten. Berlin: Gebruder Mann, 1997, 17-23; Wendland, Ulrike. Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler. Munich: Saur, 1999, vol. 2, pp. 786-790.


    "With, Karl." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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