The Art History Newsletter

Obit: Justine Price, 42

by | 1 June 2012 | Contemporary, Modern

From Despina Stratigakos at the University at Buffalo:

Justine Price, associate professor of art history at Canisius College, died unexpectedly of natural causes on October 24, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. She recently had been tenured and named director of the college’s art history program. Price’s knowledge and love of art were limitless, and her professional accomplishments extended beyond academia to the worlds of publishing and museums.

Beginning her art history studies at Bryn Mawr College (B.A.’92), Price earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. Her dissertation, supervised by Richard Shiff, was titled, “Abstraction, Expression, Kitsch: American Painting in a Critical Context, 1936-1951.” Her work on American artists was published in edited volumes and catalogues. New scholarly directions focused on contemporary Polish photography, including recent collaborations with the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and a 2009 exhibition of Polish contemporary photography at Canisius College.

Before joining the faculty at Canisius College in 2005, Price had been engaged in curatorial and publishing pursuits. From 2001 to 2008, Price was a tireless researcher for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in New York, contributing to the catalogue raisonné under the direction of Jack Cowart, director of the Foundation. She also contributed to an exhibition on Roy Lichtenstein’s American Indian Paintings, and worked as an editor and director of photography for Bill Smith Studio in New York.

Price’s death at such an early stage in her career is an incalculable loss. A much beloved teacher at Canisius College, Price supervised dozens of undergraduate theses and internships. Students flocked to her classes and her reputation as a teacher led many on the college’s ice hockey team, the Golden Griffins, to enroll in her courses. She, in turn, found time to attend their games as one of their most devoted fans. At her memorial service at Canisius College, one of the team’s members remarked that since Price had not known much about hockey and the hockey team had not known much about art, “it proved to be a good relationship.” In the summer of 2011, Price led a group of Canisius students on a service mission to an orphanage in Zmiaca, Poland, where she made many new friends among the children.

Price leaves behind her mother, father, stepmother and younger sister as well as friends around the world who were nourished by her vitality, humor, and warmth. She also leaves a legacy and a challenge: a life well lived, in service to the things and people we love.