Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner (May 2, 1880 – September 6, 1958) was a German art historian, art critic and museum official. He is especially known through his writings on Flemish and Dutch painting.
Wilhelm Valentiner was born at Karlsruhe (Baden), and studied at Heidelberg under Henry Thode, and in the Netherlands with Cornelis Hofstede de Groot and with Abraham Bredius, whose assistant he was at the Gallery of The Hague. In 1905 he was called to Berlin by William Bode, under whom he worked at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum and Kunstgewerbe Museum. In 1906 he published his dissertation on Rembrandt that he started in 1904: Rembrandt auf der Lateinschule. In 1907 he was appointed curator of the department of decorative arts in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, which under his supervision became one of the foremost in the world. At the start of World War I he returned to Germany to serve in the army. After service at the front in 1916, he was appointed to the general staff in Berlin. From 1924-1945 he was appointed first advisor and then Director of the Detroit Museum which later became the Detroit Institute of Arts. Under his leadership the museum developed into one of the leading art institutions in the country. His acquisitions and exhibitions in Detroit were products of his wide ranging scholarship. He was responsible for the series of murals painted by Diego Rivera, revolutionary for Detroit at the time. He acquired American citizenship around 1930. In 1945 he had to resign from his post in Detroit due to a city legal age restriction. He was instrumental in the development of both the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. In 1955 he became the first Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, a position he maintained until his death in September 1958.
Wilhelm Valentiner published:
- Rembrandt auf der Lateinschule, Jahrbuch der preußischen Kunstsammlungen 27 (1906)
- Rembrandt (1907), with Bode
- Altholländische Genre Zeichungen (1908), with Bode
- The Art of the Low Countries (1914)
- The Last Years of Michelangelo (1914)
- Rembrandt: wiedergefundene Gemälde, 1910-1922, in 128 Abbildungen (1923)
- Frans Hals, des Meisters Gemälde in 322 Abbildungen, Zweite, Neu Bearbeitete Auflage, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt Stuttgart, Berlin, und Leipzig, 1923
- Frans Hals paintings in America, 1936
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.