Biographical / Historical
Millard Meiss (1904-1975) was an art historian and educator whose expertise was medieval and Renaissance art. He taught at Columbia University and Princeton, and was a curator at the Fogg Museum for four years. Following World War II, Meiss served as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments until 1951.
Millard Meiss received a B. A. from Princeton University in 1926, and a Ph. D. from New York University in 1933. He was a professor of fine arts and archaeology at Columbia University from 1934-1953. In 1954, Meiss accepted the position of professor of fine arts and curator of paintings at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. In 1958, he returned to Princeton, New Jersey to become professor of art history at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he remained for the rest of his career.
While at Columbia University, Meiss acted as editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin, and also stayed on the editorial board for the next thirty-three years until his death in 1975. Throughout his career, Meiss edited several leading art journals, and wrote numerous articles and books on medieval and Renaissance painting, including Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death (1951), and his multi-volume French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry (1967-1974), as well as many others.
In addition to serving as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments after World War II, Meiss organized the Committee to Rescue Italian Art in 1966 after the flood of the Arno River in Italy. He worked to help organize the first meeting in the United States of the International Congress of the History of Art and served as president and vice-president. He was actively involved in the College Art Association of America.
Meiss was a member of many arts and scholarly organizations in Europe and the United States including the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Accademia Senese degli Intronati, Accademia Clementina, Accademia Toscana Colombaria, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, American Philosophical Society, British Academy, and the Société des Antiquaires de France. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Mediaeval Academy of America and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Meiss was also the recipient of many awards, including the Wanamaker English Prize, 1925; Haskins Medal from the Mediaeval Academy of America, 1953; Lewis Prize from the American Philosophical Society, 1967; Morey Award from the College Art Association of America, 1969, and posthumously in 1976; and the Art Dealers Association of America Award, 1974.