Feb 2, 1931 - Jul 15, 2020
Cris Hassold, Professor Emerita of Art History at New College of Florida, died peacefully in Sarasota on July 15, 2020 at the age of 89. Cris was a dedicated and generous teacher, mentor, and friend to those who took her innovative classes. Cris strived to empower students to thoughtfully and independently take on challenging material. Her rigor as an instructor was accompanied by supportive encouragement and humor; she would often discuss students' ideas with them at length in her campus office, which was always overflowing with books and papers.
An unapologetic feminist, Cris's commitment to women's equality was reflected not only in her scholarship but in the unconventional course she charted for herself as a fiercely independent woman. Born into an academic family in Louisville, Kentucky, she was encouraged at a young age to value intellectual curiosity and pursue her academic interests. Cris would go on to earn degrees in literature, art history, the humanities, and painting. These studies took her from her hometown to New York City and then to Florida. She joined the New College faculty in 1965 and would become an advocate for gender studies and pay equity during her 50 year tenure at the institution.
Cris contributed to the local and regional arts communities as an early regional editor of Art Papers and a guest speaker at local cultural institutions, where her dynamic lectures could draw large crowds. She enjoyed good friends, coffee, and food (with a special fondness for French onion soup) and had strong allegiances to her favorite Sarasota restaurants.
Cris left her mark on the field of Art History not only through her art criticism and research but through the multiple generations of students she inspired, some of whom are curators, artists, and scholars today. She was preceded in death by her brother, Dr. Stefan Hassold, and is survived by her nieces Laurie, Kimberly and Wendyl. A memorial is currently being planned for a later date, and will be announced via New College channels.
Published in Herald Tribune from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5, 2020.