New York University Institute of Fine Arts

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The Institute of Fine Arts is housed in the James B. Duke House

The Institute of Fine Arts, one of the fourteen divisions of New York University (NYU), is dedicated to graduate teaching and advanced research in the history of art, archaeology and the conservation and technology of works of art.[1] It offers master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees, the Advanced Certificate in Conservation of Works of Art, and the Certificate in Curatorial Studies (issued jointly with the Metropolitan Museum of Art). According to the National Research Council's most recent study, it is the sixth best graduate program in art history in the nation.[2]


The history of the Institute of Fine Arts dates back to the founding of New York University. In 1831, Samuel F. B. Morse became the university’s first professor of fine arts. Art history became a field of study at NYU in 1922, when Fiske Kimball was appointed professor of the Literature of the Arts of Design. In 1931, NYU’s graduate program moved to the Upper East Side of Manhattan in order to teach at the collections of nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. The program was renamed the NYU Institute of Fine Arts in 1937.

During both World Wars, refugee professors from the German and Austrian institutions strengthened the program; they included Erwin Panofsky, Walter Friedlaender, Karl Lehmann, Julius S. Held, and Richard Krautheimer.

In 1958, Mrs. James B. Duke and Doris Duke donated the James B. Duke House at 1 East 78th Street in New York City to the Institute. In 1960, the Institute offered the first graduate program in art conservation. The Conservation Center has been housed in the Stephen Chan House since 1983.

The Institute undertakes excavations at Aphrodisias, Turkey; the Sanctuary of the Gods in Samothrace; at Abydos, Egypt; and Selinunte, Italy.

Some of the IFA's more notable graduates include Robert Rosenblum, Linda Nochlin, Donald Posner, Marvin Trachtenberg, Priscilla Soucek, Edward J. Sullivan, Mariët Westermann, Robert Lubar, Thelma Thomas, and Katherine Welch, all of whom taught or are currently teaching at the IFA; Frederick Hartt; Robert Goldwater; John Hayes; Leo Steinberg; Lucy Lippard; Susan Vogel and Zainab Bahrani, professors at Columbia; Slobodan Curcic, professor at Princeton; Tim Barringer, professor at Yale; Philippe de Montebello, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (currently teaching at the IFA); Charles Little, William Wixom, Ian Wardropper, Barbara Boehm, and Nadine Orenstein, curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Anne Poulet, director of the Frick Collection; and artist Philip Pearlstein.

In addition to Rosenblum, Nochlin, and others listed above, a number of important scholars have taught at the IFA, including Erwin Panofsky, Walter Pach, Walter Friedlaender, Meyer Schapiro, John Pope-Hennessy, Kirk Varnedoe, Henri Focillon, Robert Goldwater, Richard Krautheimer, Horst W. Janson, and Peter von Blanckenhagen.

Louise Bourgeois, who was married to Goldwater during the time when he taught at the IFA, donated all six copies of The Institute (2002, silver) to the IFA in 2005. One of the copies now resides at the IFA's first floor lunch room also known as "The Marble Room." The sculpture is a silver-plated scale model of Duke House with removable roof and tiny rooms inside.


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  2. ^ NRC Rankings, Revised — Art History Newsletter

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