Renowned author and art historian Udo Kultermann, who taught architecture at Washington University in St. Louis for nearly 30 years, died Feb. 9, 2013, in New York City, following a long illness. He was 85.
A specialist in 20th-century architecture, Kultermann, the Ruth and Norman Moore Professor Emeritus of Architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, was the author of more than 35 books on a wide range of subjects, many of which have been translated into multiple languages.
“Udo was a wonderful friend and colleague,” says Constantine E. Michaelides, dean emeritus of architecture, who knew Kultermann for more than 40 years. “He was a scholar of international recognition and a very prominent contributor to the education of hundreds of our alumni and alumnae. He will be sorely missed.”
Michaelides recalls visiting his prolific colleague in his Givens Hall office. “I would describe it as a typical professor’s office, with all the walls covered in books. Except that in this case, Udo had written most of them!”
Born in Germany in 1927, Kultermann studied art history, archaeology and German literature at the University of Greifswald. He earned a doctorate from the University of Muenster in 1953 and served as the director of the City Art Museum in Leverkusen before joining the WUSTL faculty in 1967.
A 1985 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award, Kultermann also was the inaugural recipient of the Ruth and Norman Moore Professorship, which was established the following year. He was named professor emeritus in 1994.
Among Kultermann’s scholarly contributions were groundbreaking studies of contemporary architecture in Africa and the Middle East. Other interests included European art and architecture, as well as contemporary American art. He was among the first art historians to write seriously about contemporary female performance artists.
His most widely cited books include The History of Art History (1987) and Art and Life: The Function of Intermedia (1971). Other books range from New Japanese Architecture (1960) and Contemporary Architecture in Eastern Europe (1989) to Contemporary Architecture in the Arab States (1999) and Thirty Years After: The Future of the Past (2002).