Title: University Distinguished Professor of Art History
Company: Southern Methodist University
Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
Dr. Alessandra Comini, University Distinguished Professor of Art History at Southern Methodist University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership.
Having accrued more than 55 years of expertise in the fields of art history and musicology, Dr. Comini earned the title of Distinguished University Professor of Art History at Southern Methodist University in 1983. She initially joined the university staff in 1972 as a visiting professor and advanced to become a distinguished professor in 1983. During her career in academia, Dr. Comini was a faculty member at both Columbia University in New York and the University of California between 1964 and 1974 and was a visiting assistant professor at Yale University during 1973. In 2014, Dr. Comini earned distinction as curator for the Egon Schiele Portraits at the Neue Galerie in New York. Egon Schiele was notably an Austrian painter and prisoner who created a series of 12 watercolors, including several self-portraits, portraying his experience while in prison. Dr. Comini discovered his forgotten prison cell in 1963, and it is now one of Austria’s most visited museums.
Throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Comini has found success as a visiting humanist and lecturer in English and German at numerous universities, as well as an Alfred Hoddler resident humanist at Princeton University. She also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities Museum and Public Programs and was a visiting scholar at Oxford University. Dr. Comini has lectured extensively, both nationally and internationally, before the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera, the Giacometti Symposium in Dallas, the Mozart International Symposium University in Dublin, and the Mahler International Congress in Amsterdam. She has served as a keynote speaker in Europe several times as well.
Widely published, Dr. Comini has authored eight scholarly works, contributed chapters to books and has written numerous reviews, essays and articles. Her works have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish. Three of Dr. Comini’s books, which were based on Egon Schiele, included “Schiele in Prison” in 1973, “Egon Schiele’s Portraits” in 1974, which was nominated for the National Book Award and won the 1974 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association in America, and “Egon Schiele” in 1976. Recently, she began writing a series of art history and music history novels beginning with “Killing for Klimt” in 2014, “The Schiele Slaughters” and “The Kokoschka Capers” in 2015, “The Munch Murders” and “The Kollwitz Calamities” in 2016, “The Kandinsky Conundrum” in 2018, “The Mahler Mayhem” in 2019 and “The Beethoven Boomerang” in 2020. Dr. Comini’s illustrated art history autobiography, “In Passionate Pursuit: A Memoir,” was initially released in 2004 and was commissioned by legendary New York publisher George Braziller. A member of the American Society of Composers and the Texas Institute of Letters, Dr. Comini has also been affiliated with several other pertinent organizations. She was on the board of the National Museum for Women in the Arts in 1997, and is a former board director of the College Art Association of America, as well as the Women’s Caucus for Art.
Before embarking upon her professional journey, Dr. Comini pursued a formal education at Barnard College, from which she attained a Bachelor of Arts in 1956. She secured a National Endowment of the Humanities grant and an American Association of University Women travel fellow in 1963. She received a Master of Arts at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. Dr. Comini graduated from Columbia University, having earned a Doctor of Philosophy “with distinction” in 1969.
In recent years, the Alessandra Comini International Fellowship for Art History Studies was established in her honor at Southern Methodist University. The endowment bestows funds to outstanding doctoral or postdoctoral students so they may study abroad. Seven decades of lectures have been commissioned by various institutions, including The Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the American Musicological Society. Dr. Comini aspires to continue conducting research and writing art history, music history and murder mystery novels in the coming years.
Dr. Comini was recognized in 2005 when Southern Methodist University named the Alessandra Comini Lecturer Series in Art History in her honor. Among her many accomplishments, she has been presented with a Laurel Award from the American Association of University Women in 1979, was named Meadows Distinguished Teaching Professor for the years of 1986 and 1987, and was named as an Outstanding Professor on more than 15 occasions by her students. She also received a Grand Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria for her work on Germanic art and music in 1990, was named as the Teacher of the Year by the United Methodist Church in 1996, received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Barnard College in 2011, and was honored with a Golden Honor of Merit for Services to the State of Lower Austria in 2018.
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