Theodore Allen Heinrich

Theodore Heinrich

HEINRICH, Theodore Allen (1910-1981)
Art Historian, Curator, Educator

Theodore Allen Heinrich was born in Tacoma, Washington, on 15 June, 1910, but grew up principally in the area of Berkley, California. He was educated at the University of California, where he graduated in 1931 with a major in philosophy and minors in art, history and English. Following his completion of post-secondary studies, he embarked on extensive travel in Europe and the Mediterranean, and was predominantly interested in architecture and art.

In 1932, he began graduate studies at Cambridge University (King’s College), to graduate with a Masters degree in art and architectural history in 1936.

After completing his post-secondary studies, he returned to the United States, where, following a short-lived pursuit of possibilities of a teaching career or other form of employment, he began training with the US Army Service. He was trained in the Air Forces Technical Training School in Sheppard Field, Texas, the 770th Technical School Squadron”, Buckley Field, Denver, Colorado, Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia and in Field Artillery School, in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Recognized for his academic and intellectual potential, combined with his background in art history, he was recommended to pursue further training. In 1943, he entered the Military Intelligence Training Centre/Officer’s Candidate School, at Camp Ritchie, Maryland.

Following completion of his training, he entered the European theatre with SHAEF, or the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, for the years 1943-45.

During the war, he was junior officer on the Intelligence staff of General Eisenhower, and served for two years as Deputy Chief, Enemy Communications Section of G-2, where he worked in the area of the use and administration of intelligence concerning strategic operations regarding the German-controlled railway system, or Reischbahn.

After the war, from 1945 to 1950, he remained in Germany in connection with the recovery and restitution of looted works of art. He was also involved in assisting German authorities in the rehabilitation and reorganization of war-damaged museums, libraries, archives, monuments as well as organizing art history seminars.

He was Curator of Art Collections and Senior Fellow for Art History at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, for 1951-52. From 1953 to 1955, he was Associate Curator of Paintings and Curator-in-charge of drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. There, he was involved in various projects to rebuild areas of the galleries, as well as publishing several museum books. From 1955 to 1962, he was Director of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

He was employed as professor of art history for the last twenty years of his life, beginning with his position as Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, for the academic year 1964-65. In 1966, he began a full professorship at York University, which he held up to the time of his death.

He published numerous articles, reviews, and catalogue commentaries in the field of art history, art, architecture and museums related issues, and lectured widely on a broad range of subjects such as horticulture, travel, art history, and culture in general.

His personal interests included extensive travel and sight-seeing. He was continually furthering his knowledge in the field of art and architecture on an international scale. He wrote profusely, both in his personal correspondence, and for research purposes.

Very fond of the Mediterranean, Heinrich spent the majority of his vacation periods at his rented residence, “Villa Baroni” on the island of Isola de Giglio in Italy. He was well known and appreciated for his soirees and dinner parties, and loved to organize occasions for personal friends or professional acquaintances to gather and interact.

Heinrich died in 1981.

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)

89-44 - Personal and Professional Papers. 1912-1981