Deane Keller

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Captain Deane Keller, U.S. 5th Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer, circa 1945

Deane Keller (December 14, 1901 – April 12, 1992) was an American artist, academic, soldier, art restorer and preservationist. He taught for 40 years at Yale University's School of Fine Arts.

Early life[edit]

Keller was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1901.[1] His father, Albert Galloway Keller, was just another member of the junior faculty at Yale; but during young Deane's formative years, his father would become the first William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology.[2]

As a student at Yale, he earned degrees in history and science in 1923. Further studies led to a B.F.A. from the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1926.[1]

Keller was awarded the Gran Prix de Rome in 1926.[3] He was a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (FAAR) for three years.[1]

Academic career[edit]

In 1929, Keller began his career as a member of the Yale faculty. He taught at Yale for forty years, and was also a professor emeritus of painting at Paier College of Art until retiring in 1979.[4]

His academic career was interrupted by military service in the Second World War. At war's end, he returned to teach at Yale's School of Fine Arts.[4]

World War II[edit]

Captain Deane Keller served in the U.S. 5th Army between 1943 and 1946. He was a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer in Tuscany.[5] Capt. Keller was responsible for the identification and transportation of artworks in Tuscany.[1]


Keller was posthumously recognized for his wartime activities. He was the first to enter Pisa liberated from Nazi, 02 Sept.1944, with the partisan Pierino Fornaciari, liaison officer, with whom he rescued many art works, in particular in the Camposanto Monumentale. His remains were apportioned and interred in New Britain, Connecticut and the Camposanto Monumentale in Pisa; that site is identified with an engraved marble slab.[6]


In addition to his academic career, Keller was a prolific portrait painter. He was known as the "unofficial portraitist of the Yale faculty," completing over 160 portrait commissions for the university, including faculty, corporation board members, and two presidents. Portraits for clients outside these Yale commissions included Senator Robert A. Taft, Governor John Davis Lodge, and Presidents William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Deane Keller, Painter And Art Teacher, 91," New York Times. April 17, 1992.
  2. ^ "Albert G. Keller, at Yale 42 Years; Professor Emeritus of the Science of Society Dies -- Taught 16,000 in Career," New York Times. November 1, 1956.
  3. ^ a b "Two Get Awards in Art Competition; Grand Prix de Rome Fellowships Go to Deane Keller and Joseph Kissilewski," New York Times. May 5, 1926.
  4. ^ a b c Deane Keller papers, Sterling Memorial Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University.
  5. ^ Monuments Men Foundation: The Monuments Men> Keller, Capt. Deane
  6. ^ PBS (Oregon Public Broadcasting): "The Rape of Europa.", 2006 film, aired November 24, 2008.


External links[edit]