Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
MARIAN B. DAVIS
One of the founding members of the art history program at The University of Texas at Austin, Marian B. Davis, died October 26, 2000, due to complications resulting from a fall. She was born September 24, 1911.
Davis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mary Institute in 1932 and earned an MA in art history from Washington University in St. Louis in 1935. She was the Alice Longfellow Fellow at Radcliffe College in 1940-1941, and received a PhD at Harvard University in 1948. She worked at the Worcester Art Museum from 1941 to 1944 before moving to Austin to teach. In 1945, Davis was appointed assistant professor at The University of Texas; in 1960 she earned the rank of professor. Although she taught many different subjects, her primary field was Renaissance and Baroque art. Davis retired as professor emeritus in 1978. Her teaching inspired thousands of students.
Dr. Davis contributed greatly to the development of art history at the University. She engineered the creation of a BA degree in art history in the late 1950s, the master's program in 1963, and, about a decade later, the doctoral program. Known for her fierce determination and high standards, Davis fought for these programs, for the continued growth of the art history faculty, and for the development of the Visual Resources Collection. The latter is, today, perhaps the finest university slide collection in America. At different times, Davis was the chief curator of the Art Museum, later renamed the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery and today the Blanton Museum of Art. Under her aegis, the museum evolved into a professional organization noted then for its ambitious program of temporary exhibitions.
Dr. Davis was an active scholar. Her publications include The Aegean Series: A Selection of Paintings (1967), Photographs by Eugene Atget from the Collection of Bernice Abbott (1967), The Sixties: A Collection of Paintings from the James A. Michener Collection of the University of Texas at Austin (1971), Swiss Concrete Art in Graphics (1975), and numerous articles and reviews. Davis served on the board of directors of the College Art Association, the discipline's leading professional organization, from 1951 to 1955. Following her retirement, she was active with the Austin-Travis County Collection, the Austin History Center, and Reading for the Blind. In the early 1980s, the Marian B. Davis Endowed Scholarship in Art History was established to continue Dr. Davis's legacy of helping students at the University.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by Professor Jeffrey Chipps Smith.