Oral Histories

Interview of Otto Von Simson

University of Chicago and Kunsthistorisches Institut, Free University of Berlin professor of art history with a focus in medieval and Renaissance architecture.
Art Historian
Art History - Oral Documentation Project
Smith, Richard Candida
Von Simson, Otto
Persons Present:
Von Simson and Smith.
Place Conducted:
Von Simson's home in Berlin, Germany.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interviews are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Richard Candida Smith, Associate Director/Principal Editor, UCLA Oral History Program; B. A., Theater Arts, UCLA; M. A., Ph. D., United States History, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
Alex Cline, editor, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Von Simson died before he was able to review the transcript. His wife, M. A. zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck reviewed the transcript instead. She verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions. Teresa Barnett, principal editor, prepared the table of contents. Rebecca Stone, editorial assistant, compiled the biographical summary, interview history, and the index.
4 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series, a cooperative venture between the Oral History Program and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, documents a generation of scholars who developed and elaborated paradigms of art history established in the late nineteenth century to forge a twentieth-century discipline.
University education at Freiburg and Munich; Wilhelm Pinder; converts to Catholicism; living in Nazi Germany; leaves Germany for the United States; takes a job at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York; hired to teach at the University of Chicago; the Committee on Social Thought; faculty at Chicago; differences between American and German students and universities; Erwin Panofsky; Sacred Fortress: Byzantine Art and Statecraft in Ravenna; The Gothic Cathedral: Origins of Gothic Architecture and the Medieval Concept of Order; art and artists under the Nazis; Ernst Jünger; art historians versus connoisseurs; teaches in Frankfurt; works for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; accepts a position at the Free University of Berlin; student revolt at the Free University; the Berufsverbot; Das Mittelalter II: Das hohe Mittelalter; Der Blick nach Innen: Vier Beiträge zur deutschen Malerei des 19. Jahrhundert; training art historians and museum people; refounding the University of Erfurt.