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1936 - 2019
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November 11, 2019

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Preview Entry
November 11, 2019

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. Legacy.com reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
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November 8, 2019
My encounters with Dr. Ward Bissell started with taking two of his art courses in the U-M art history department in the mid 1970s. His self-described "engaged" approach to lecturing inspired me deeply. I considered him the model of what can and should happen in art history courses in balance of solid scholarship and spirited presentation. I was happy to have such experiences augmented when I was privileged to teach in the U-M summer program in Florence for which he was Director in 1985. There I got to know Ward and Tina more informally during social gatherings and sumptuous meals at Villa Boscobello. A standout memory is when the program students, profs. and others were on an extended field trip to Monterche, San Sepulcro, and Urbino. In my mind's eye (and ear) I see Ward, Tina, Kelly, Joe Forte and myself strolling along some street after a meal and some beer and Ward suddenly announces that there are any number of famous speeches whose opening lines can be sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace." Whereupon he launches into "Four Score and Seven Years Ago....." I'm sure there were a couple of other such renditions to other speeches that followed. This was a moment of unmitigated good fun and has stayed always with me. He could balance brilliance of research and writing with delightful humor. One more thought, I recall he kept a notebook journal with entries from every church he ever visited in Rome. He declared his vow eventually to visit EVERY church in Rome! I hope he came close. He certainly inspired me in my job of teaching art in a small Michigan institution, Hillsdale College. My heart goes out to Tina and all the rest whose lives and minds have been lifted up by Ward.
November 7, 2019
I have a very good memory of Prof. Bissel; I have appreciated during our long correspondence his human virtues and his professional knowledge; he was a great art historian, the best specialist of Gentileschi in my opinion. This is a great loss for all of us in the art community and for everybody had the chance to be in touch with him.
Walter Dalla Barba, Italy
November 6, 2019
I came to deeply admire Professor Bissell through his writings on Artemisia Gentileschi. His archival research penetrated to the truth of her experiences in seventeenth-century Italy, which he understood better than anyone else. When archival evidence was missing, he sometimes speculated about a possible scenario. My own archival research, carried out in his footsteps, shows that all of Professor Bissell's speculations about Artemisia were perfectly --eerily-- accurate. We never met in person, only through email, but I imagine he had an incredibly sensitive soul. His scholarship made an enormous contribution to the understanding of a period of particular artistic ferment in Italy, and I am eternally in his debt. What a great mind he had!
November 6, 2019
I remember Professor Bissell's engaging lectures on Spanish art in a course I took as an undergraduate in the early 1980s. His depth of knowledge and passion for the works gave me a lifelong appreciation. When I visit a museum and see a Velazquez, Zurbaran, El Greco, or Goya... I feel a connection because Professor Bissell shared with me the stories of these paintings and the artists who created them. Among many memorable UM professors, he was exceptional.
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