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Shirley Neilsen Blum

Professor Emerita of Art History

Shirley Neilsen Blum, a noted scholar of northern Renaissance and modern art, is professor emerita of art history at Purchase College. She was hired in 1977 to found the art history program and retired as emerita in 1988. She has also taught at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Riverside.

Blum’s scholarship and teaching have been recognized with a senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, and the Charles A. Dana Chair at Colgate University (1973–74), among other honors.

In 2007, she was the moderator (voice) in the documentary film The Cool School about the seminal Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, which she co-founded in 1957 with Walter Hopps and Edward Kienholz.

A detailed biography of Shirley Neilsen Blum is available in the Dictionary of Art Historians.


  • A Study of Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Triptychs [dissertation]. University of California, Los Angeles, 1964
  • Jawlensky and the Serial Image, with John Coplands. University of California, Irvine, Art Gallery, 1966
  • Early Netherlandish Triptychs: A Study in Patronage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969
  • “The National Vietnam War Memorial,” Arts Magazine 49, (December. 1984): 124-28
  • The Window in Twentieth-century Art, with Suzanne  Delehanty. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase, 1986
  • Moderator, The Cool School, Morgan Neville, director. Arthouse Films, 2007
  • Henri Matisse: Rooms with a View. The Monacelli Press, 2010
  • The New Art of the Fifteenth Century: Faith and Art in Florence and the Netherlands. Abbeville Press, 2015