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Katharina Otto-Dorn (1908-1999)

Katharina Otto-Dorn (b. Käthe Dorn) stood in direct succession of the founding generation of Islamic Art History, scholars and researchers as Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945) and Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941), her supervisor in Vienna, where she was awarded with a doctorate (dissertation thesis on Sassanian Silverware in 1933).  

Katharina Otto-Dorn received her practical training under Ernst Kühnel (1882-1964) at the Islamic Department of the Berlin Museums, from where she first went to Istanbul in 1935 with a short scholarship. There she remained in different positions until 1944, when all Germans had to leave the country or were interned. After her habilitation in Heidelberg in 1948 she taught from 1954-1967 first as the first Professor of Islamic Art History in Ankara, later in Los Angeles (1967-1978 at UCLA). At the end of the 1980s, she returned from there to Heidelberg, where she continued to work on topics of Islamic art history until shortly before her death in 1999.

To one of her photo archives Beysehir, Esrefoglu Cami - Archive Katharina Otto-Dorn Turkey

More information can be found in the obituary by Joachim Gierlichs in der Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 152/1, 2002, 5-9. Online here.

An expanded version in English with some illustrations has been published as: "In Memoriam Katharina Otto-Dorn": A life dedicated to Turkish Islamic Art and Architecture, in: M. Kiel, N. Landman & H. Theunissen (eds.), Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Turkish Art (ICTA), Utrecht - The Netherlands, August 23-28, 1999, in: EJOS IV (2001), No. 21, pp. 1-14. Online on Academia.

Note: The on-line Journal EJOS (Electronical Jourrnal of Oriental Studies), in which the Proceedings of the 11th International Congres of Turkish Art (ICTA) held in Utrecht in 1999 have been published, does not exist any more.