Raymond Ward Bissell

Ann Arbor, Michigan

1936 - 2019


Ann Arbor, Michigan


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Bissell , Raymond Ward 10/23/1936 - 10/26/2019 Ann Arbor, Michigan Raymond Ward Bissell died peacefully at home with his beloved family on Saturday, October 26, after a long life filled with enthusiasm for art, architecture, antiques, gardens, and his many friends. A noted art historian...

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Professor Bissell was indeed inspirational. I took my entry level Art History survey course with him my second semester freshman year. I was so entranced by his lecture style that I signed up for a graduate level course in Spanish Baroque sculpture the following term. Sensing my enthusiasm, Ward allowed me to take the class, despite being the only under class man taking the course. He further inspired me as I graduated with a degree in Art History. (Additionally, I spent my Junior year in...

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...

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

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...

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.