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William H. Gerdts

William H. Gerdts American art historian

American art historian
William H. Gerdts
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American art historian
Was Historian Art historian Professor Educator Curator
From United States of America
Gender male
Birth 18 January 1929, Jersey City, USA
Death 14 April 2020 (aged 91 years)
Star sign CapricornCapricorn
Harvard University
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship  
The details


William Henry Gerdts Jr. (January 18, 1929 – April 14, 2020) was an American art historian and professor of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Gerdts was the author of over twenty-five books on American art. An expert in American Impressionism, he was also well known for his work on nineteenth-century American still life painting.

Education and early life

Gerdts was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. Beginning in 1945 he attended Amherst College. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst in 1949, Gerdts attended Harvard Law School, but after four days switched to the Department of Fine Arts. There he earned a master's degree in 1950 and a Ph.D. in 1966.


Gerdts' professional positions included that of Curator of Art at the Norfolk Museum and resident director of the Moses Myers House in Norfolk; Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Newark Museum; and associate professor and gallery director at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1966 to 1969. In 1971 he joined the faculty of Brooklyn College, and The Graduate Center at CUNY.

He also taught at the University of Maryland, and was a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and Washington University. Gerdts received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the American Philosophical Society. In 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Amherst College, and in 1996 Syracuse University made him an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.

In 2008-9 Gerdts was Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Advisor for American Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Gerdts served as Vice President of the Coe Kerr Gallery in New York.

Complementing his career as an academic, he served on the Art Advisory Council of the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR).


Gerdts died of complications of the COVID-19 virus, aged 91, on April 14, 2020 during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Selected works

Gerdts' published writings encompass some 342 works in 443 publications in 6 languages and 24,892 library holdings.

  • 2016 — Two Centuries of American Still-Llife Painting: The Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs Collection. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
  • 2013 — (With Nathan Vonk) In Defense of Beauty: Leon Dabo Florals. Exh. cat. Santa Barbara: Sullivan Goss.
  • 2012 — (With Cody Hartley, Frank Goss, and Nathan Vonk) The Pastels of Leon Dabo. Exh. cat. Santa Barbara: Sullivan Goss.
  • 2012 — Once Upon an Island: Stephen Scott Young in the Bahamas. New York: Adelson Galleries. ISBN 978-0-9815801-4-2.
  • 2003 — The Golden Age of American Impressionism. New York: Watson-Guptill. ISBN 0-8230-2093-2.
  • 1998 — (With Will South) California Impressionism. Abbeville Press. ISBN 0789201763.af
  • 1997 — The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves. New York: Hollis Taggert Gallery.
  • 1994 — Impressionist New York. Abbeville Press. ISBN 1-55859-328-4.
  • 1990 — Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710–1920, 3 vols. Abbeville Press.
  • 1987 — The Art of Henry Inman. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
  • 1984 — American Impressionism. Abbeville Press. (2nd ed. 2001)
  • 1981 — The Art of Healing: Medicine and Science in American Art. Exh. cat. Birmingham Museum of Art.
  • 1981 — Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life, 1801–1930. University of Missouri Press.
  • 1974 — The Great American Nude: A History in Art. (American Art & Artists series) Praeger.
  • 1973 — American Neo-Classic Sculpture: The Marble Resurrection. Viking Press.
  • 1971 — (With Russell E. Burke) American Still-Life Painting. (American Art & Artists series) Praeger.
  • 1967 — American Still Life Painting, 1913–1967. Exh. cat. American Federation of the Arts.
  • 1966 — "Painting and Sculpture in New Jersey." Ph.D. diss. Harvard University. (published by Van Nostrand, 1964)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 24 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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