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Nikolaus Pevsner papers, 1903-1982

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Pevsner (Nikolaus) Papers

Biographical/Historical Note

The art and architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner was born in Germany in 1902. He worked with the Dresden Gallery (1924-1928) and taught at Göttingen University (1929-1933) before immigrating to England in 1933. In England Pevsner taught at Birkbeck College (University of London) and the Courtauld Institute, and lectured as the Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge (1949-1955) and Oxford (1969) Universities.

Pevsner was a scholar of Italian baroque painting, German sculpture and the 19th and 20th century architecture of England and Europe. It is as an architectural historian that he is best remembered, partly because of the astonishing amount of work he did in this area, and also because of his strong point of view. His polemical view is evident in his 1936 book Pioneers of the Modern Movement (later re-titled Pioneers of Modern Design) in which he first tried to persuade England to accept the Modern movement. He remained a persistent advocate for modern design and for historical preservation. Among his many publications are the following books: An Outline of European Architecture, the History of Building Types, and the monumental Buildings of England in 46 volumes, of which 35 were researched and written by Pevsner. Pevsner was an editor on the influential journal Architectural Review and edited the Pelican History of Art series which comprised 48 volumes. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1967 and a knighthood in 1969. Pevsner died in 1983.




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