The Art History Newsletter

Obit: Angela Rosenthal

by | 16 November 2010 | Baroque/Neoclassical

Dartmouth College professor Angela Rosenthal died Thursday morning, according to her husband, fellow art historian Adrian Randolph. (The cause was cancer, writes Dartblog.) From The Dartmouth, a student newspaper:

Born in Trier, Germany, Rosenthal came to the College in 1997. She was an expert on 18th and 19th century art and culture and “British art within a global perspective” … She also specialized in cultural history, studying gender and feminism in art … Rosenthal wrote two books and a number of essays about Angelica Kauffman, a Swiss-born artist who is viewed as one of the most prominent painters of the 18th century … She also authored a book about English-born artist William Hogarth and studied the portrayal of slaves in art … Rosenthal attended Trier University, where she received her PhD, and the University of London.

Reviewing Rosenthal’s 2006 “gorgeously illustrated and well-researched book,” Angelica Kauffman: Art and Sensibility for, Meredith Martin wrote:

Rosenthal significantly advances the current scholarship on Kauffman by offering new approaches to analyzing the artist’s relationship with her patrons, with other artists, and even with herself—the last of these as evidenced in the numerous and protean self-portraits Kauffman painted throughout her career. The author makes perhaps her strongest contribution in chapter 1, where she examines Kauffman’s series of history paintings based on Homer’s Odyssey. As the first scholar to interpret these more than a dozen scenes as a group, Rosenthal elucidates their differences from the prevailing conventions of Neoclassical history painting … In Angelica Kauffman: Art and Sensibility Rosenthal has made an important contribution to the scholarship of an artist who has only in recent decades had her reputation justly restored. Rosenthal has rendered Kauffman’s life and work as complex and contradictory as the times in which she lived. By making Kauffman’s oeuvre even “richer and stranger” than we once had thought, Rosenthal fulfills a criteria to which all good feminist writing should aspire.