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Alfred Victor Frankenstein papers, 1875-1985

Biographical Note

Alfred Victor Frankenstein (1906-1981) was an art historian, writer, art and music critic, and educator active in San Francisco, California.
Frankenstein was born in 1906 in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at the University of Chicago but moved to San Francisco to take a job as a music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle . Later, the position expanded to include critiques of visual art and art exhibitions. He remained at the San Francisco Chronicle until 1979, concentrating only on art from 1965.
He was an expert on 19th century American still-life and his notable book, After The Hunt (1953), examined the American trompe-l'œil movement in late 19th century and early 20th-century through the work of painters William Harnett and John Frederick Peto. He also authored The World of Copley: 1738-1815 in 1970. Frankenstein curated several major exhibitions, including American Self-Portraits (1974) at the National Portrait Gallery and the 1974 World's Fair Exposition exhibition, Our Land, Our Sky Our Water: an Exhibition of American and Canadian Art..
An educator, Frankenstein was a professor of Art History at the University of California at Berkeley (1940-1974), Stanford University (1973-1981), and at Mills College (1945-1974), where he also taught American music.