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 Arthur Pope  (1880 - 1974)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Ohio      Known for: Figure and landscape painting, drawing, teaching, writing

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Ad Code: 3
Arthur E Pope
from Auction House Records.
Stone Lion-Fenway Court
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Arthur E. Pope taught for nearly Fine Arts Department of Harvard University.  His papers are in the archives of Harvard University, as are drawings and paintings.

Following is the biography accompanying the online information about these archives.

Arthur Pope was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 31, 1880 to John Lang and Frances Emily Whipple Pope. He was the youngest child in his family, with six older brothers. Pope attended school in Cleveland before entering Harvard University, where he received his A.B. in 1901.

Upon graduation, Pope began work as an Austin Teaching Fellow at Harvard, a position he held until 1905. In 1905, he was appointed Instructor in Fine Arts; in 1909 he was named assistant professor; and in 1919 he was named full professor, a title he held until his retirement in 1949. Upon retirement, he was named Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts.

Pope married Mysie Black Bell in 1906, and they remained married until her death in 1958. They had three children: Murray, Hugh and Mary. Hugh died in 1958. In 1960, Pope married Priscilla Howland Potter.

Pope was actively involved with several Harvard museums, particularly the Fogg Museum. He supported a Fine Arts curriculum that merged theory with practice, emphasizing the importance of first-hand experience and practice with different techniques and materials to complement study of theory. In addition to teaching, his career at Harvard included service as acting director of the Fogg from 1918 to 1919 and again in 1945-1946, at which time he also became acting director of the Germanic and Semitic Museums. He served as director of the Fogg, Germanic and Semitic Museums from 1946 to 1948. When Pope retired from teaching in 1949, he had been involved with the growth of the Harvard Fine Arts department and its museums for almost fifty years.

Pope's earliest publication was for a 1909 exhibition of watercolors and drawings by John Ruskin, held at the Fogg Museum in honor of Charles Eliot Norton. He also played a role in the selection and display of works for the 1911 Degas exhibition at the Fogg and wrote the introduction to that exhibition's catalog. In 1929, the first volume of Pope's two-volume work, An Introduction to the Language of Drawing and Painting, was published. The second volume was published in 1931, and the text was printed as a single volume in 1949 and reprinted in 1967. This work became a standard text for many art and normal schools and includes a comprehensive presentation of Pope's theories of color and the organization and use of color in art. He published another book, Art, Artist and Layman, in 1937, and a book about a painting in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's collection, Titian's Rape of Europa, in 1960. In addition, Pope published several seminal journal articles on color and aesthetics.

Charles Herbert Moore and Denman Ross were among Pope's mentors as teachers and colleagues, and during his career Pope became a mentor to many of his own students. He taught young men who would become influential collectors, museum directors and art historians, including Alfred Barr, John Walker III, Charles Cunningham and Henry P. McIlhenny.

Although he taught courses on a range of subjects, Pope's research and personal interests centered on color and color relations in art, and he became known for the wooden model, often referred to as the "Pope Color Solid," that he used to illustrate essential relationships of hue, darkness and intensity. Two of Pope's former students organized an exhibition in his honor in 1974 called "Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope".

Outside his work at Harvard, Pope was an active trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for forty-two years, from 1924 to 1966; he was a trustee emeritus from 1966 until his death. Pope was elected an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1926, and in the 1930s he served as an adviser to the Carnegie Corporation. He was a fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Museum Objects and a member of the American Optical Society.

He was also an accomplished artist, with drawings and paintings now in the Harvard Art Museum's collection, and known for his prowess in the sport of curling.

Arthur Pope died in Westport, Massachusetts on April 26, 1974.

"Arthur Pope, 1880-1974. Papers, 1907-1979: A Guide", Oasis, Online Archival Search Information System, Harvard University Library, //

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