Sad News - Professor Robert Williams

April 30, 2018

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

It is with sadness that I write to share with you that Professor Robert Williams of the Department of History of Art and Architecture passed away on April 16.

Professor Williams joined our faculty in 1988, after obtaining his Ph.D. from Princeton University that same year. In 1986, while working on his dissertation, he received a Dame Frances Yates Fellowship from the Warburg Institute at the University of London. He studied at the American Academy in Rome under an NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1990-91. He was a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University in 2000, and in the Department of Art History at UCLA in 2003. In 1992-93, he was the recipient of a UC Regents’ Humanities Faculty Fellowship.

His area of expertise included Italian Renaissance art and art theory, the history of art theory, and art history methodology. He was the author of several important works, including Art, Theory, and Culture in Sixteenth-Century Italy: From Techne to Metatechne (Cambridge, 1997) and Art Theory: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2004; Wiley-Blackwell, 2008). In 2012, he curated The Zodiac of Wit: Peter Meller and the Graphic Imagination at our Art, Design, and Architecture Museum, along with a related exhibition at the National Gallery of Hungarian Art in Budapest in 2017. His most recent book, Raphael and the Redefinition of Art in Renaissance Italy, was just published by Cambridge University Press, and ProfessorWilliams had the opportunity to see it in print shortly before he passed away.

On behalf of our campus community, I extend our condolences to Robert’s family, friends, and colleagues, especially his wife, Senior Lecturer Carole Paul in our Department of History of Art and Architecture, and his daughter, Julia. Our campus flag will be lowered to half-staff in memory of Professor Williams on May 2. A memorial service is being planned by his family to take place in early June.


Henry T. Yang