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Wolfgang Friedrich (“Fritz”) Volbach (1892–1988)
Wolfgang Friedrich (“Fritz”) Volbach (1892–1988)

Fritz Volbach was a German art historian and professor of early Christian art. Born in Mainz, he studied archaeology, art history, and medieval history at the universities of Munich, Berlin, Tübingen, and Giessen, receiving his doctorate in 1916. The next year, he was hired at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum (now Bode Museum) in Berlin, where he became curator in 1929 and head of the early Christian and medieval Italian collection in 1930. With Georges Duthuit and Georges Salles, he authored a book on Byzantine art: Art byzantin: Cent planches reproduisant un grand nombre de pièces choisies parmi les plus représentatives des diverses tendances (Paris: A. Lévy, 1933). Because of Nazi racial laws, he left Germany in 1934 for the Vatican City, where he worked in the library and as a professor at the Papal Institute for Christian Archaeology. After the war, he became director of the antiquities museum in Mainz and retired in 1958. He died in Mainz in 1988.

 

Ulrike Wendland, “Volbach, Wolfgang Fritz,” in Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler  (Munich: Saur, 1999), 2:716–23.

Colum Hourihane, ed., “Volbach, Wolfgang Fritz,” in The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 6:330–31.