The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


In 1959 the Department of Fine Arts was changed to History of Art to emphasize its subject and discipline as important branches of general history. Its faculty grew rapidly and by 1973 Professor Harold E. Wethey, Chairman 1940-47, Professors James M. Plumer and Adelaide A. Adams were joined in 1947 by Professor George H. Forsyth, Jr., Chairman 1947-61, and by Professor Max Loehr in 1951. Of the numerous junior faculty appointed after 1947 a considerable proportion ultimately became full professors, among them Professor Marvin J. Eisenberg, Chairman, 1961-69, who was succeeded by Professor Richard Edwards, Chairman 1969-73, and Professor Clifton C. Olds, Chairman beginning in 1973, by which year the full-time teaching staff numbered fifteen. Student enrollments increased correspondingly, at undergraduate and graduate levels, as art history gained an important place among other humanistic disciplines. Survey course enrollments, which never exceeded a few hundred students per academic year in the late 1940s rose to 2,450 in 1973-74, by which time 45 doctorates had been granted by the department. Notably successful has been the graduate program. Directed by Professor Wethey from 1947 to 1964, it has produced a long series of outstanding young art historians.

Having outgrown its cramped quarters in Alumni Memorial Hall, the department occupied Tappan Hall in 1952, where space was available for a Library of Fine Arts and for the Slide and Photograph Collection which became, under the direction of Eleanor S. Collins, one of the largest in the nation (160,000 slides and 52,000 photographs in 1973). Faculty research, resulting in important scholarly publications was facilitated by two departmental research funds. The Freer Page  175Fund was established jointly with the Freer Gallery of Washington in 1949 for scholarly collaboration on the history of Oriental Art, including an exchange of research appointments and joint support of scholarly publications, notably a new periodical, Ars Orientalis, successor to the University's distinguished Ars Islamica. In 1952 Professor Loehr received such an appointment at the Freer Gallery as Honorary Research Associate in Chinese Art; and in 1956 Professor Oleg Grabar, a member of the department since 1954, received a similar research appointment at the Gallery in Islamic Art. For faculty research in Western Art (European and North American) the Forsyth Fund was established in the department in 1955 to pay the costs of research and field work and also publication of the results. Among other projects, it has supported archaeological expeditions to the sixth-century Byzantine Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai, a long-term project initiated by the department in 1958, completed by the Kelsey Museum, and now in process of publication. Other unique research facilities of the department are two photographic collections: the Palace Archives Collection, a complete record, authorized by the Taiwan government, of its immense holdings of Chinese art; and the Mount Sinai Archive including many thousands of photographs of Byzantine art of all periods, made during the expeditions to Mt. Sinai.

The department has generously contributed extramural activities for the benefit of the University and the Ann Arbor community. Series of guest lectures are supplemented by the annual Departmental Lectureship, introduced in 1965 by Chairman Eisenberg, which brings a distinguished authority to the campus for a week of lectures and seminars. Often the department joins the Museum of Art in mounting an important exhibition and in preparing for it a meaningful, well-researched catalogue.