Forged in the Fringes, Peter Selz, AM'49, PhD'54, Reflects on his Career in Modern Art

In the recently-published biography Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art, author Paul J. Karlstrom details Peter Selz's illustrious career as an art historian, which Selz states "has consisted of looking at art that I think is excellent--whether German expressionism then or Morris Graves now--that deserve to be seen and is on the periphery." Selz, now 93, has written over fifty books and articles on art and art history, and befriended artists such as Mark Rothko and Sam Francis. He also formed friendships with several artists he met during his time as a graduate student at the University of Chicago.

After escaping Nazi Germany at the age of 17, Selz attended the University on the GI Bill, studying Art History under professors Ulrich Middeldorf and Joshua C. Taylor. In 1954, Selz earned his PhD with a 600-page dissertation that examined the work of artists such as Kandinsky, Beckmann, and Emil Nolde within social and political contexts. It became an extremely influential book within the field, German Expressionist Painting, and is still in print.

In the 1960s, Selz became a professor of art and founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum at the University of California. His home in Berkeley is a testament to his long and thriving career--it contains works such as a Beckmann self-portrait and the painting Iris (pictured), a gift from Sam Francis. Far from retiring, Selz remains dedicated to writing, teaching, and curating.

More information about Selz's work, including his connections to the University, can be found in the fall issue of Tableau.

Michael I. Allen Donates Rare Manuscripts to Honor University Librarians

To honor University Librarian Judith Nadler's "leadership and careful guidance for researchers", Michael I. Allen, Associate Professor in Classics, donated the fifth-century military science text De re militari or On Military Matters by Flavius Vegetius Renatus to the Special Collections Research Center. Because the book was shunned by the Church, it is extremely rare--approximately a dozen copies exist in North American and European libraries.  Allen was pleased to present his gift “in honour of Judith Nadler in recognition of her long, varied, and important contributions to the University through the Library.”

Earlier in 2012, Allen also donated Vita D. N. Jesu Christi, by Ludolphus of Saxony, in honor of James Vaughan, Associate University Librarian for User Services. This rare 17th-century text presents the life of Christ through meditations and prayers. Upon donating the book, Allen said: “I’m pleased to offer a special book in honor of Jim Vaughan.  Like all the library staff, he makes positive things happen."

For more news on events and exhibitions at the Special Collections Research Center, click here.

Jason Grunebaum Shortlisted For South Asian Literature Award

The Walls of Delhi, written by Uday Prakash and translated by Jason Grunebaum, Senior Lecturer in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, has been shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. For prize consideration, as the site explains, authors could belong to this region through birth or be of any ethnicity but the writing should pertain to the South Asian region in terms of content and theme. The prize brings South Asian writing to a new global audience through a celebration of the achievements of South Asian writers, and aims to raise awareness of South Asian culture around the world. The winner will be announced in January 2013 during the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in India, which Grunebaum and Prakash will attend.

To view the 2012 longlist and learn more about the 2012 prizewinner, click here.

MLA Prize Awarded to Larry Norman

Larry Norman, Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures, Theater and Performance Studies, and the College, recently received the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association for his book The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early Modern France. According to the selection committee’s citation for the book, “Probing early modern reactions to the classical age, Norman’s compelling analysis highlights the value of art in bridging distance in human consciousness in any era.” Norman currently serves as Deputy Provost for the Arts at the University, and has curated exhibitions at the Smart Museum of Art and the Special Collections Research Center. The Scaglione Prize is “awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in its field—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association.”

More information is available about the MLA 2012 prizewinners.

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