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Finding aid for the Leo Steinberg research papers, 1945-1996, bulk 1950-1993
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leo Steinberg research papers
    Date (inclusive): 1945-1996 (bulk 1950-1993)
    Number: 930046
    Creator/Collector: Steinberg, Leo, 1920-2011
    Physical Description: 12.0 linear feet (28 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Art historian, critic, lecturer, and professor. The papers consist of research notes, correspondence relating to Steinberg's lectures and essays, papers written by his students, several versions of some of his essays, an abandoned dissertation project, and many of his notebooks from courses he took at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York. The archive reflects Steinberg's career as an art critic, lecturer, and teacher, ca. 1945-ca.1996.
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    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Leo Steinberg, art historian, critic, lecturer and professor, was born in Russia in 1920 and lived in Berlin and London before emigrating to the United States in 1938. After studying at the Slade School of Art in London, he entered the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in the mid-1950s (Ph.D., 1960), where he studied art and architecture with historians Harry Bober, Richard Krautheimer, Karl Lehmann, Wolfgang Lotz, Erwin Panofsky, Alfred Salmony and Charles Sterling. In 1958 and 1959 he was a guest of the American Academy in Rome, where he researched and wrote his dissertation on the baroque architect Francesco Borromini.
    Steinberg taught drawing and art history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York from 1961 to 1975, and ended his teaching career as Benjamin Franklin Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (1975-1991). His lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Studio School in New York, Columbia University, and elsewhere attracted a broad audience of artists, art lovers and scholars. As an art critic, he is known for his writings on historical subjects and individual artists, as well as on modern and contemporary art subjects.
    Published works range from short reviews and essays to book-length studies and include San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, a study in multiple form and architectual symbolism, 1960; Jasper Johns, 1963; Other Criteria, 1972 (compilation of 18 essays); Michelangelo's last paintings, the Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St. Peter in the Cappella Paolina, Vatican Palace , 1975; The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance art and in modern oblivion, 1983.
    Leo Steinberg is the first art historian to receive the Award in Literature from the American Academy and the Institute for Arts and Letters (1983). He also received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association (1984), and a MacArthur Fellowship (1986).

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Leo Steinberg research papers, 1945-1996 (bulk 1950-1993), Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 930046.

    Acquisition Information

    Received from Leo Steinberg, in two acquisitions, 1993, 1996.

    Processing History

    Jocelyn Gibbs processed and wrote a box list for the first acquisition (accession no. 930046). A supplementary acquisition (accession no. 960096) was moved to this collection and processed by Rose Lachman.
    Additions received in 2012 and 2013 are not yet processed.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Leo Steinberg Research Papers consist of research notes, correspondence relating to his lectures and essays, papers written by his students, several versions of some of his essays, an abandoned dissertation project, and many of his notebooks from courses he took at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. The archive reflects Steinberg's career as an art critic, lecturer and teacher from ca. 1945-ca. 1996. Correspondence from ca.1993-1996 consists mainly of letters and notes by Steinberg about the archive.
    The research notes and course notebooks, which contain numerous photographs, give a clear picture of Steinberg's topics of interest. The artists he concentrated on include Francesco Borromini, Auguste Rodin and Titian (boxes 1-8). The correspondence deals mostly with lectures he gave at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and elsewhere (boxes 9-10); the publication series refers almost exclusively to the essays compiled in his book Other Criteria (boxes 11 and 12, the latter an audio tape). The abandoned dissertation, Afterlife of Romanesque, reflects his interest in romanesque art and architecture under the influence of his professor, Richard Krautheimer (box 13); and the course notebooks contain his notes from his student days with such distinguished art historians as Erwin Panofsky, Richard Krautheimer, Charles Sterling, Karl Lehmann, Alfred Salmony, Harry Bober and Wolfgang Lotz (boxes 14-28).

    Arrangement note

    The papers are organized in 7 series: Series I. Borromini research, 1953-1993 (bulk 1953-1960); Series II. Rodin research, 1962-1977; Series III. Titian research, 1965-1986; Series IV. Correspondence and lectures, 1952-1995; Series V. Publications: Manuscripts and Letters, 1962-1996; Series VI. Abandoned dissertation, 1956; Series VII. Course notes, 1950-1963

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Borromini, Francesco, 1599-1667
    Johns, Jasper, 1930-
    Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917
    Titian, ca. 1488-1576

    Subjects - Topics

    Art critics--United States
    Art historians--United States
    Art, Modern--History
    Art--History--Study and teaching (Graduate)--United States

    Subjects - Titles

    Art journal (New York, N.Y.) Arts (New York, N.Y.)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original


    Barr, Margaret Scolari, 1901-1987
    Bober, Harry, 1915-
    Canaday, John, 1907-1985
    Chastel, André, 1912-1990
    Cohen, Gerson D. (Gerson David), 1924-
    D'Harnoncourt, Rene, 1901-1968
    Goldwater, Robert John, 1907-1973
    Held, Julius S , (Julius Samuel), 1905-2002
    Janson, H. W. (Horst Woldemar), 1913-1982
    Kitzinger, Ernst, 1912-
    Kramer, Hilton
    Krautheimer, Richard, 1897-1994
    Lavin, Irving, 1927-
    Lehmann , Karl, 1894-1960
    Leider, Philip, 1929-
    Lotz, Wolfgang, 1912-1981
    Lowry, Bates, 1923-
    Michelson, Annette
    Panofsky, Erwin, 1892-1968
    Salmony, Alfred, 1890-1958
    Sterling, Charles, 1901-1991
    Weissberger, Herbert, 1892-
    Wittkower, Rudolf