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Karl Lunde: In Memoriam

posted by CAA — Jan 09, 2010

William A. Peniston is librarian at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey.

Karl Lunde

Karle Lunde

Karl Lunde, art historian and professor emeritus at William Paterson University, died peacefully at his home in New York City on December 27, 2009. He was 78.

He was born on Staten Island on November 1, 1931, to Karl and Elisa Lunde, who had emigrated to America from Norway in the 1920s. He was educated at Columbia University, where he received his BA in 1952 and MA in 1954, in the field of art history. From 1957 to 1970 he was an instructor in the School of General Studies at Columbia.

Lunde directed the Contemporaries, an art gallery on Madison Avenue devoted to modern painting and sculpture, from 1956 to 1965. While there, he was among the first to encourage the collecting and appreciation of modern fine prints and to introduce Americans to the work of Fernando Botero, Jose de Creeft, Antonio Music, and Ricardo Martinez. He was an early champion of several young American artists, now much celebrated, including Robert Kipniss, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and Lorrie Goulet.

In 1970 Lunde received his PhD in art history from Columbia University. His dissertation on Johan Christian Dahl was the first English-language study of this influential nineteenth-century Norwegian landscape painter. That same year, Lunde became a professor of art history at William Paterson University of New Jersey, where he taught until his retirement in 1996. Over the years, Lunde developed a wide-ranging repertoire of courses, including classes on American painting and sculpture, Asian art, prehistoric art, and European Neoclassicism and Romanticism. A mesmerizing lecturer, Lunde received a university award for teaching excellence. He also assembled an impressive collection of over 30,000 personally annotated color slides, which he used in teaching and which he later donated to Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

A frequent contributor to professional and scholarly journals, Lunde also wrote several books devoted to the works of twentieth-century American artists, including Isabel Bishop (1975), Anuszkiewicz (1977), Robert Kipniss: The Graphic Work (1980), and John Day (1984). He also amassed a large and important collection of rare books, art objects, and antiques and donated paintings to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Newark Museum.

Lunde was predeceased by his partner, the artist and arts administrator Roy Moyer, and is survived by his brother, Asbjorn Lunde of New York.

Filed under: Obituaries