The Art History Newsletter

Obit: Oleg Grabar

by | 10 January 2011 | Islamic

Renata Holod, president of the Historians of Islamic Art Association, announced the death of Oleg Grabar on Saturday:

Oleg Grabar, professor emeritus of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies, and Aga Khan Professor emeritus at Harvard University passed away this morning at his home in Princeton, NJ. Recently awarded the Chairman’s Award of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Grabar transformed the fields of Islamic art, architecture and archaeology through his myriad scholarly works, general textbooks, and through training and inspiring many generations of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan and at Harvard. He was the noted author of more than 50 books and innumerable articles. Among his best known works are Formation of Islamic Art, Illustrations of the Maqamat, The Alhambra, Great Mosque of Isfahan, Mediation of Ornament, Mostly Miniatures, and Shape of the Holy, Dome of the Rock, Penser l’art islamique, and Masterpieces of Islamic Art: The Decorated Page from the 8th to the 17th century. Working alone, or in collaboration with students and colleagues, he directed excavations, developed exhibitions, inaugurated professional associations, administered academic departments and research institutions. His impact has been felt worldwide, from the level of the undergraduate classroom to circles dealing with cultural policy and politics.

Writing in 2006, David Carrier called Grabar “the doyen of Islamic scholars.”