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Seidel, Linda [Valerie]

Date born:  1939

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University of Chicago Romanesque scholar. Seidel attended Barnard College where she received her B.A. in French literature. She continued at Radcliffe College for her Master's degree. A 1962-1963 Sachs Research fellowship assisted her in completing her Ph. D. in art history from Harvard University in 1965, written under Frederick Deknatel. While working on her Ph.D. she came into contact with Columbia University medievalist Meyer Schapiro. She married a research MD and medical school faculty Michael R. Field (b. 1933). Seidel taught at Harvard in the department of art, the school of architecture, and the Fogg Art Museum. During this time, she produced an important article, a chapter from her dissertation, "A Romantic Forgery: The Romanesque 'Portal' of Saint-Étienne in Toulouse," in 1968. The article overturned much accepted French scholarship, proving that one of the traditional monuments in Romanesque architecture was, in fact, a nineteenth-century composite. In 1977 she and her husband joined the faculty at the University of Chicago. Seidel and Yale art historian Walter Cahn edited the scholarly inventory of Romanesque sculpture in American Collections, beginning in 1979. Her book Songs of Glory: the Romanesque Façades of Aquitaine appeared in 1981. In 1984 she published the second of her "pioneering" articles (Caviness), "Salome and the Canons" in Women's Studies, approaching the medieval reception theory from the point of view of one empowered group. She participated in a symposium organized to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House which is located on the University of Chicago campus. She was named the first Hanna Holborn Gray Professor in Art History at Chicago and awarded a Burlington Northern Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award in 1990. Seidel broke with her medieval-area to write an historiographical monograph on the history Jan van Eyck's most famous work, Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait: Stories of an Icon in 1993. She received the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita award in History. In 1996 She won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Continuing her interest in pedogy and historiography, she issued Looking to Learn: Visual Pedagogy at the University of Chicago together with Katherine Taylor in 1998. She retired from the University in 2004. A symposium in her honor was held in New York in 2011. Her students included Madeline Harrison Caviness. §SI

Home Country:  United States

Sources:  "Linda Seidel." University of Chicago Department of Art History (website) http://humanities.uchicago.edu/depts/art/faculty_staff/seidel.shtml ; Seidel, Linda. "A Romantic Forgery: The Romanesque 'Portal' of Saint-Étienne in Toulouse." Art Bulletin 50, no. 1 (March 1968): 33, asterisked note; Caviness, Madeline Harrison."Reception of Images by Medieval Viewers." in, Rudolf, Conrad, ed. A Companion to Medieval Art : Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006, p 72.

Bibliography: [dissertation:] Romanesque Sculpture from the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, Toulouse.  2 vols. Harvard University, 1965, published under the same title,  New York: Garland, 1977; "A Romantic Forgery: The Romanesque "Portal" of Saint-Étienne in Toulouse." Art Bulletin 50, no. 1 (March 1968): 33-42; and Cahn, Walter. Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections. New York : B. Franklin, 1979ff.; Songs of Glory: the Romanesque Façades of Aquitaine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981; "Salome and the Canons." Women's Studies 11 (1984): 29-66; edited, and Bolon, Carol, and Nelson, Robert S. The Nature of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988; Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait: Stories of an Icon. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993; and Taylor, Katherine. Looking to Learn: Visual Pedagogy at the University of Chicago. Chicago: David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 1998; Legends in Limestone: Lazarus, Gislebertus, and the Cathedral of Autun. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999; edited, Schapiro, Meyer. Romanesque Architectural Sculpture. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Subject's name: Linda Seidel