William H. Gerdts

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William H. Gerdts (born 1929) is an American art historian and Professor Emeritus of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Gerdts is the author of over twenty-five books on American art. An expert in American Impressionism, he is also well known for his work on nineteenth-century American still life painting.

Education and early life[edit]

Gerdts was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.[1] Beginning in 1945 he attended Amherst College.[1] After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst in 1949, Gerdts attended Harvard Law School, but switched to the Department of Fine Arts. There he earned a master's degree in 1950 and a Ph.D. in 1966.[1]


Gerdts' professional positions have included that of Curator of Art at the Norfolk Museum and resident director of the Moses Myers House in Norfolk; Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Newark Museum; and Gallery Director at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1971 he joined the faculty of Brooklyn College, and The Graduate Center at CUNY.[2]

He has also taught at the University of Maryland, and has been a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and Washington University. Gerdts received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the American Philosophical Society.[2] In 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Amherst College, and in 1996 Syracuse University made him an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.[2]

In 2008-9 Gerdts was Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Advisor for American Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.[3]

Gerdts served as Vice President of the Coe Kerr Gallery in New York.

Complementing his career as an academic, he serves on the Art Advisory Council of the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR).[4][5]

Selected works[edit]

Gerdts' published writings encompass 342 works in 443 publications in 6 languages and 24,892 library holdings.[6][7]

  • 2014 — In Defense of Beauty: Leon Dabo Florals, by Dr. William Gerdts, and Nathan Vonk.
  • 2012 — The Pastels of Leon Dabo, by Dr. William Gerdts, Frank Goss, and Nathan Vonk.
  • 2012 — Once Upon an Island: Stephen Scott Young in the Bahamas. New York: Adelson Galleries. ISBN 978-0-9815801-4-2.
  • 2003 — The Golden Age of American Impressionism. New York: Watson-Guptill. ISBN 0-8230-2093-2.
  • 1998 — California Impressionism. Abbeville Press. ISBN 0789201763. Co-authored with Will South.
  • 1997 — The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves. New York: Hollis Taggert Gallery.
  • 1994 — Impressionist New York. Abbeville Press. ISBN 1-55859-328-4.
  • 1990 — Art Across America. Two Centuries of Regional Painting: 1710-1920, 3 vols. Abbeville Press.
  • 1987 — The Art of Henry Inman. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
  • 1984 — American Impressionism. Abbeville Press.
  • 1981 — Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life, 1801-1930. University of Missouri Press.
  • 1973 — American Neo-Classic Sculpture: The Marble Resurrection. Viking Press.


External links[edit]