Reference Entry

Barr, Alfred H(amilton)

Roger J. Crum

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T006476

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(b Detroit, MI, Jan 28, 1902; d Salisbury, CT, Aug 15, 1981).

American art historian and museum director. Bar’s career is linked to the history of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and its often controversial role in the promotion of modern art and culture.

Barr graduated in art and archaeology from Princeton University in 1922. The following year he received his MA with a thesis on Piero di Cosimo. At Princeton he studied modern art with Frank Jewitt Mather Jr. (1868–1953), but the synthetic methodology that he learnt from the medievalist Charles Rufus Morey proved more influential in his development as a scholar and as the future director of MOMA. Morey presented students with a cross-section of the principal medieval visual arts: architecture, sculpture, wall painting and manuscript illumination, as well as minor arts and crafts. After graduate school, Barr travelled in Europe (1923). He returned to the USA and taught art history, first at Vassar College (...

Reference Entry.  1119 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art of the United States ; 20th-Century Art

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