• Walter Heil / Museum Curator and Director

    Walter Heil (1890-1973) was a German-trained art historian who was hired by the newly opened Detroit Institute of Art as their Curator of European Art in 1926. His unrealized plan to publish the English translation of the Principles was very likely conceived in tandem with the museum’s burgeoning education program.

  • Paul Green / Playwright

    Paul Green (1894-1981), the North Carolina playwright who won the Pulizter Prize in 1927. In Germany 1928-29 on a Guggenheim, he was urged by both Gustav Plessow and Hans Prinzhorn to read Wölfflin’s Principles as a book much discussed work in literary circles. Returning to the U.S., Green supported the New York edition of the English translation and found in the Principles support for his own interest in historicism in drama.

  • Curt Sachs / Musicologist

    After studying art history in Berlin, Curt Sachs (Berlin 1881- New York 1959) decided to pursue a career as a musicologist. By 1919 (in “Barockmusik”) he had applied Wölfflin’s principles systematically to the baroque style in music and in his. Sachs’s use of the Principles for music was contested by Dagobert Frey (Gotik und Renaissance, 1929) and later within musicology especially by Manfred Bukofzer who rejected the generality of Wölfflin’s principles for music in favor of technical analysis.

  • Roger Fry / Art Critic

    Roger Fry, art critic, curator and painter, was an early champion in England both of modern art and of Wölfflin’s Principles. He reviewed the book in 1921 (“The Baroque,” The Burlington Magazine, Sept 1921) and was instrumental in the bringing about the 1932 translation. Fry took from Wölfflin support for a formalist program that embraced purely aesthetic experience outside of subject matter with consequences for the viewing of modern and pre-modern art.

  • Sergei Eisenstein / Filmmaker

    The Russian avant-garde filmmaker and essayist Sergei Eisenstein has been shown to have engaged in the 1930s and 1940s with major art historical works of the early 20th century. In an essay on El Greco he drew a parallel between Wölfflin’s linear and painterly and his idea ofcinematic pathos (or stored emotion energy bent on destruction, with which film abounds) and its release in its opposite: ecstasy.

  • Minor White / Photographer

    The art historian Meyer Schapiro put Wölfflin’s Principles in the hands of the American photographer Minor White in 1946. In a 1953 article in the New York Times it appeared on a list of ten books White recommended to artists. He drew upon the Principles extensively in his Fundamentals of Style in Photography and the Elements of Reading Photographs, an unpublished manuscript that formed a basis for his teaching of photography.