KRAMRISCH, Stella (married Neményi). Nikolsburg (now Mikulov), Moravia 29.5.1898 — Malvern, Pa. 31.8.1993. Austrian Art Historian in India and the U.S.A. Professor in Calcutta and Philadelphia. Born in Moravia, daughter of Isidor Kr., she moved to Vienna at the age of ten and attended there classical gymnasium. Studied art history at Vienna, under Strzygowski and Max Dvořák, also started Sanskrit. Ph.D. 1919 Vienna. In 1919 visited Oxford and met R. Tagore, who invited her to come to India and teach at Kala Bhavan, the Santiniketan Academy of Art. She sailed to India in 1920 and taught at Kala Bhavan in 1920-23. From 1923 Lecturer, in 1944-50 Professor of Indian Art at University of Calcutta. Later she spent there only part of every year, always returning to England, where she was in 1936-41 Professor at Courtauld Institute in London. In 1950 moved to the U.S.A., invited by W. Norman Brown. In 1950-69 Professor of South Asian Art at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in 1969 emeritus. In 1954-72 Curator of Indian Art in Philadelphia Museum of Art, then still active as Curator Emeritus. From 1964 Professor of Indian Art at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, retired in 1982. Hon. Dr.Litt. 1974 Visvabharati University, Hon. Ph.D. 1981 University of Pennsylvania. In 1929 she married, Laszlo Neményi, a Hungarian economist, but they lived separately, she in Calcutta, he in Delhi and Karachi, where he was murdered in 1950. She died at home.
SK was one of the foremost scholars of Indian art, whose books on sculpture and temples are considered great classics. Occasionally she has been criticized of philological inaccuracy and defective linguistic knowledge.
Publications: Diss. Untersuchungen zum Wesen der frühbuddhistischen Bildnerei Indiens. Manuscript, Vienna 1919, for rev. English version Indian Sculpture (1933) see below.
– The Viṣhṇudharmottaram (Part III). A Treatise on Indian Painting. 60 p. Calcutta 1924; Grundzüge der indischen Kunst. 144 p. 48 pl. Dresden 1924.
– Indian Sculpture. 16+240 p. 116 ill. L. 1933.
– A survey of painting in the Deccan. 234 p. 24 pl. L. 1937.
– The Hindu Temple. 1-2. 466 p. 80 pl. Calcutta 1946.
– With J. H. Cousins & R. V. Podugal: The Arts and Crafts of Travancore. 1948; rev. & enl. ed. as The Arts and Crafts of Kerala. 227 p. 116 pl. Cochin 1970.
– Drāvida and Kerala: In the Art of Travancore. 51 p. ill. Art. As. Suppl. 11. Ascona 1951.
– The Art of India. Traditions of Indian sculpture, painting and architecture. 231 p. 156 pl. N.Y. 1954; 3rd ed. L. 1965; The Art of Nepal. 159 p. 1964 (catalogue).
– “The Ṛg Vedic myth of the Craftsmen”, ArtAs 22, 1959, 113-120; “Pūṣan”, JAOS 81, 1961, 104-122; “The triple structure of creation in the Ṛg Veda”, HR 2, 1962, 140-175; “Two: its significance in the Ṛgveda”, W. N. Brown Vol. 1962, 109-136; “The Mahāvīra vessel and the Plant Pūtika”, JAOS 95, 1975, 222-235.
– Indian Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 183 p. 63 pl. Phil. 1961.
– Unknown India: Ritual Art in Tribe and Village. 127 p. Philadelphia 1968.
– “The Indian Great Goddess”, Hist. of Rel. 14, 1974-75, 235-265.
– The Presence of Siva. 524 p. 32 pl. Princeton 1981; Manifestation of Siva. 278 p. Philadelphia 1981.
– Exploring India’s sacred art. Selected writings of Stella Kramrisch. Edited with a biogr. essay by B. S. Miller. 374 p. Philadelphia 1983.
– Painted delight. Indian paintings from Philadelphia collections. 195 p. 138 pl. Philadelphia 1986.
– Numerous articles, co-editor of the JISOA 1932-50 and in the editorial board of the ArtAs 1958-91.
Sources: T. Lawton, ArtAs 53, 1993, 499f. with photo; Dir. Am. Sch. 3rd ed. 1957 & 8th ed. 1, 1982; *biography by B.S. Miller and bibliography 1919-81 by J.M. Dye III in the 1983 book; Wikipedia with photo.
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