Oskar Pollak

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Oskar Pollak (5 September 1883 – 11 June 1915) was a Czech art historian.

Pollak, born in Prague, was a classmate of Franz Kafka at the Altstädter Gymnasium. After graduation, he first took a degree in chemistry, and later the philosophy and archeology, and finally the art history at the German Karl-Ferdinands-Universität in Prague. In the summer semester 1903, he was appointed as rapporteur of the literary arts section. Kafka took over this function, when in 1903 Pollak accepted a temporary job as a tutor at Schloss Oberstudenetz at Zdiretz.

Pollak received his PhD in 1907 for a treatise about the Baroque sculptors Jan Brokoff and Ferdinand Brokoff. The same year he married Hedwig Eisner in Prague.

Pollak wrote numerous studies of art history, especially on the Renaissance and the Baroque. From 1910 to 1913, he worked first as an assistant lecturer, after his habilitation as a private lecturer in art history at the University of Vienna. When he was offered the position of secretary of art history at the Austrian Institute for Historical Research in Rome, Pollak left Vienna and went with his wife to Italy.

At the beginning of the First World War he volunteered. He died on 11 June 1915 on the Austro-Italian front on the Isonzo. Oskar Pollak left an extensive art historical estate, which was published in the late 1920s. Many of his publications are preserved in the library of the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome. Part of his private library was a large collection of topographical descriptions of and guidebooks to Rome, on which Ludwig Schudt based his bibliography Le Guide di Roma, published in 1930.

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