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Joan Siegfried

Joan Siegfried

June 19, 2015



Joan Crowell Siegfried, a longtime member of the art history faculty, died May 28, 2015, at Seashore Point Wellness Center, Provincetown, Massachusetts. She was 90.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., she was the only child of Margaret and Henry Siegfried. After earning a B.F.A. degree in pictorial design at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1947, Joan continued her education at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. In 1952-54, with the aid of two Fulbright grants, she attended École du Louvre and the Sorbonne in France to research the artist Edouard Manet.

She completed her master’s thesis, "Manet's Style and Spanish Painting," in 1955. She began working on a Ph.D. in art history while lecturing at Wellesley College, where she contributed to college publications and was also a member of the editorial board of Marsyas.

Grants in 1962 and 1963 from the American Association of University Women enabled her to complete her doctoral thesis, "The Formation of the Impressionist Style in Painting," and she was awarded a Ph.D. from New York University in 1964.

Joan left Wellesley to continue her career at Skidmore, where she was named an assistant professor of art history in 1964 and promoted to associate professor in 1971. She wrote several exhibition catalogs, and reportedly her favorite project was her contribution published in The Nineteenth Century Architecture of Saratoga Springs, a publication sponsored by the New York Council on the Arts.

Her second trip abroad to study art and architecture was to England in 1971.

Joan’s colleagues well remember her love of the New York City Ballet. Professor Penny Jolly recalled that Joan had a regular seat on the aisle near the front of the Saratoga Performing Arts amphitheater.  Said Penny, “She became friends with a number of the dancers in the company, and often spent time with them late night after performances—usually at the Adelphi Hotel.” James Kettlewell, another colleague, called the New York City Ballet “almost a second home” for Joan. “She was totally dedicated to the ballet and had many friends in the company. Much of her life revolved around the ballet,” he added.

Joan retired from Skidmore in 1990. She visited Provincetown for many summers and moved there permanently in 1995.     

Joan is perhaps best remembered by those who knew her for her kindness, generosity, sense of humor, and intelligence.

Memorial donations in her name may be made to Beacon Hospice, 68 Center St., Suite 19, Hyannis, MA 02601.

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