Claire Sherman

Obituary of Claire Richter Sherman

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Claire Richter Sherman, born February 11, 1930, in Boston, Mass., died February 25, 2023, in Chapel Hill, N.C.  The daughter of two immigrants from the Russian empire, Harry Richter, a wholesale grocer, and Fanny Haifetz Richter, Claire graduated from Girls’ Latin School in Boston and earned her B.A. in History magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College in 1951. While on a Fulbright Fellowship in Europe in 1951-52, she met a young architect, Stanley M. Sherman, and the two married in 1954. Claire received an M.A. in Art History from the University of Michigan in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Art History from The Johns Hopkins University in 1965.


A medievalist and specialist in manuscript illumination, she was a pioneering feminist art historian with a strong interest in the women’s role in the history of the discipline. Claire was the author or editor of several books:  The Portraits of Charles V of France, 1338-1380 (New York University Press, 1969); editor, Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979 (Greenwood Press, 1982); Imaging Aristotle: Visual and Verbal Representation in Fourteenth-Century France (University of California Press, 1995); and Writing on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, the catalog of an exhibition she curated at the Trout Gallery at Dickinson College and the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2000-2001. Having taught at American University and the University of Virginia, in 1986 she became Project Head for the publication Sponsored Research in the History of Art at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, a position she held until her retirement in 1994.


Claire enjoyed reading, gardening, travel, and spending time with her many friends. Her nearly 65-year partnership with her husband included an exhibition of his design bookbindings that she curated at the Walters Art Museum in 2006. Predeceased by her husband, of Washington, D.C., and a sister, Freda Steinberg, and brother, Melvin Richter, both of New York, she is survived by her son, Daniel Sherman and son-in-law Eduardo Douglas, of Chapel Hill, N.C. Contributions in her memory can be directed to the University of Michigan History of Art Graduate Student Support Fund - 312381 in memory of Claire R. Sherman, at this link


Walker's Funeral Home in Chapel Hill is assisting the family.

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