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Otto Demus Papers and the San Marco Mosaics Project and Corpus of North Adriatic Mosaics Papers

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Archives, Washington, D.C.


Repository: Dumbarton Oaks Archives, Washington, D.C.

Call Number: Byzantine Studies/Otto Demus, Papers

Location: Archives 058, Byzantine Studies Vertical Files and SUC-2

Name of Creator(s): Irina Andreescu; Henry M. Andrews; Gotthard Böhm; Alberta S. Carpenter; Charles Clark; L. A. Chamberlin; Giles Constable; A. Contini-Bonacossi; Emilio Del Pizzol; Otto Demus; Herbert Einem; Aleksander M. Gjud; F. Halkin; Irmgard Hutter; Romilly J.H. Jenkins; M. Keene; Herbert L. Kessler; Ernst Kitzinger; William C. Loerke; Sabine MacCormack; Eugine Maguire; Thomas F. Matthews; Donald R. Moysey; National Endowment for the Humanities; National Geographic Society; Judith O’Neill; Egidio Ortona; Renato Padoan; Hazel Palmer; Charles Parkhurst; Dalmine Ponteggi; Riggs National Bank of Washington; Ekkehard Ritter; Antonia Rusconi; Joan Southcote-Aston; Alice-Mary Talbot; John S. Thacher; US Treasury Department; Robert Van Nice; Gary Vikan; Annie E. Walters; and William M. Woessner.

Title: Otto Demus Papers, San Marco Mosaics Project and Corpus of North Adriatic Mosaics Papers

Inclusive Date: 1954–1980

Language(s): English, German, Italian

Quantity: 9 series housed in 1 file and 1 box of 8 folders



Acquisition Information: These papers came to the Dumbarton Oaks Archives at an unknown date.

Processing Information: These papers were inventoried by James N. Carder in 1999 and processed by Mary Ferranti and James Curtin in 2013.

Terms of Use and Access: These papers can be used for research and publication purposes.

Physical Access: An appointment is required for access to these papers. For appointment and queries, fill out the online form.

Preferred Citation: Otto Demus Papers, San Marco Mosaics Project and Corpus of North Adriatic Papers, Dumbarton Oaks Archives. Courtesy of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.



Otto Demus was a Byzantine art historian and a scholar of San Marco in Venice. He was born on 1902 in Harland, near St Pölten, Austria. He attended the University of Vienna between 1921 and 1928, where he studied with Josef Strzygowski, and received his doctorate cum laude. Demus joined the Austrian monument service as a Konservator (curator) in 1930 and between 1935 and 1938 taught art history at the University of Vienna. In 1939, after the Nazis had annexed Austria, Demus left for England and was employed at the Warburg Library and lectured at the Courtauld Institute of Art. After the war, Demus joined the Austrian Bundesdenkmalamt (Federal Office of Monuments), where he served as president between1946 and 1964. He also worked periodically at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C. where he was a Visiting Scholar typically in the spring terms of 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1973–1979, and 1981. In 1973, Dumbarton Oaks awarded Demus funding to clean the mosaics at San Marco in preparation for their publication. He remained in charge of the San Marco Mosaics Project through 1982, and in 1984, he published his study of the mosaics as the two-volume Mosaics of San Marco in Venice. Otto Demus died in Vienna in 1990. His publications on San Marco and its mosaics include:

Die Mosaiken von San Marco in Venedig, 1100-1300 (Baden bei Wien: R. M. Rohrer, 1935);

The Church of San Marco in Venice: History, Architecture and Sculpture (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Trustees for Harvard University, 1960);

The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice 2 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984);

With Herbert Kessler, The Mosaic Decoration of San Marco, Venice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).



The Otto Demus Papers and the San Marco Mosaics Project and Corpus of North Adriatic Mosaics Papers contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, offprints, a photograph, and documents especially relating to the San Marco and north Adriatic mosaics project in Venice, Italy.



Series 1: Otto Demus Papers: Correspondence (1954–1970) and Miscellaneous


Henry M. Andrews (1956)

Gotthard Böhm (1965)

Alberta S. Carpenter (1954–1965)

Charles Clark (1954)

L. A. Chamberlin, District Director of Internal Revenue (1954)

Otto Demus (1954–1965)

Herbert Einem (1956)

Aleksander M. Gjud (1958)

Irmgard Hutter (1965)

Romilly J.H. Jenkins (1968)

M. Keene (1958)

Ernst Kitzinger (1956–1965)

Donald R. Moysey (1959)

Hazel Palmer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1956)

Riggs National Bank of Washington (1956)

Joan Southcote-Aston (1965–1970)

John S. Thacher (1954–1965)

US Treasury Department (1959–1964)

Annie E. Walters (1955)

William M. Woessner (1957)


Transcription of a talk by Demus recorded in Vienna in December 1952 and broadcast in London in January 1953.

Otto Demus, Curriculum Vitae.

Otto Demus, Certificate for visitor exchange.

Photograph of map of Bulgaria.

Donald Mintz, “Joerg Demus Lives Up To Advance Fame”, Washington Evening Star (June 12, 1960) (newspaper clipping) (also photocopy of this newspaper clipping).

Paul Hume, “Pianist Demus Plays To a Packed House”, Washington Post (June 12, 1960) (newspaper clipping from unknown publication) (also photocopy of this newspaper clipping).

F. Halkin, “Otto Demus. The Church of San Marco in Venice,” Analecta Bollandiana 80 (1962), 452–53 (offprint).


Series 2-9 : The San Marco Mosaics Project and Corpus of North Adriatic Mosaics Papers: Correspondence and Miscellaneous (1972–1980)

Series 2: 1972

Series 3: 1973

Series 4: 1974

Series 5: 1975

Series 6: 1976-1977

Series 7: 1978

Series 8: 1979

Series 9: 1980


Irina Andreescu (1972-1978)

Giles Constable (1977-1980)

A. Contini-Bonacossi, National Gallery of Art (1974-1975)

Emilio Del Pizzol (1979)

Otto Demus (1972-1980)

Herbert L. Kessler (1980)

William C. Loerke (1972-1980)

Sabine MacCormack (1978)

Eunice Maguire (1978)

Thomas F. Matthews (1979)

National Endowment for the Humanities (1975-1979)

National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration (1973)

Judith O’Neill (1979)

Egidio Ortona, Ambassador of Italy (1973-1974)

Renato Padoan (1979)

Charles Parkhurst, National Gallery of Art (1974-1978)

Dalmine Ponteggi (1975)

Ekkehard Ritter, Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1974-1979)

Antonia Rusconi, Office of Procurator of San Marco (1972-1974)

Alice-Mary Talbot (1979)

William R. Tyler (1972-1977)

Robert Van Nice (1978)

Gary Vikan (1979)


Minutes of faculty meeting (1976).

National Endowment for the Humanities Research Grant application (1976).

Contract with Foto Ritter for photography of mosaics (1975).

Contract with Ponteggi Dalmine for scaffolding.

Copies of blueprints of scaffolding.

Contract with Procuratoria di San Marco (1974).

National Geographic Center for Research and Exploration grant application (1973).

Irina Andreescu, The Corpus for Wall Mosaics in the North Adriatic Area (1978).

Report and budget statement of project (1978).