Career files of University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor of Art History emeritus Peter Meller (1923-2008).
Peter [Meller] was born in Budapest in 1923. Growing up in a privileged and cultured environment, he was encouraged in his
pursuit of creative interests. At school he excelled in the study of Greek and Latin. Although his father was Jewish, his
mother was Catholic, so he was able to continue his education until the occupation of Hungary by German troops in the spring
of 1944, when he had to go into hiding. He and his immediate family escaped the deportations, but 17 members of his father's
extended family perished in the Holocaust. After the war, he completed his degree in the history of art and began his academic
career, teaching but also serving as a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts. Sympathetic to the aims of the Hungarian Revolution
of 1956, he fled with his wife and daughter across the border into Austria to escape the brutal Soviet suppression. He worked
in Italy for a decade before accepting a permanent position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he remained
for the rest of his life, frequently visiting Europe in connection with his scholarly work.
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