Colleagues, students and peers remember Hans Joris Van Miegroet

Editor’s Note: These tributes to Hans J. Van Miegroet, professor of art and art history at Duke who passed away on Feb. 9, were originally submitted to the department of art, art history and visual studies. The Chronicle has compiled quotes from these tributes with permission from their authors. Please visit the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies “Tributes to Hans Van Miegroet” page to read the tributes in full and see their accompanying pictures. 

Kristine Stiles, Ph.D.

France Family distinguished professor of art, art history and visual studies and member of the Nasher Museum’s National Board of Advisors’ Collections Committee 

“Hans van Miegroet was a gifted artist, art historian, and creative thinker in numerous fields from the humanities to the social and natural sciences and law. His research on emerging Art Markets was grounded in questions of copyright, cultural heritage, visual culture, and new research strategies and modes of interpretation. When he once served as Chair of the Department, he expanded Art & Art History to include Visual Studies. Hans was a loving father of two children, a supportive colleague and a friend. His kindness, memorable playfulness and wry sense of humor were unparalleled. He will be acutely missed.”

Filip Vermeylen, Ph.D.

Professor of Global Art Markets and the research director at the department of arts and culture studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam

“His can-do mentality was very un-Belgian, and he found the United States to be a much more suitable environment for his out-of-the-box thinking. He built a great career doing so at Duke University which spanned decades. As a teacher, he was a true performer who could captivate, inspire, and entertain his audience, even if many did not understand his thick Ghent accent. As a researcher, he relentlessly sought and found collaboration across disciplines and geographical boundaries. And when he teamed up with economist Neil De Marchi, they would change the field of art market studies forever. Neil and Hans invited me to join their ongoing workshop in 1998, and this involvement has shaped my thinking on art and economics till this day.”

Kaylee P. Alexander, Ph.D.

Research data librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah

“First and foremost, Hans was someone who truly loved what he did and took great pride in his students’ accomplishments. He was a fervent advocate for all creative thinkers and valued student input—undergrads and graduate students alike—like no other professor I’ve had in all my years as a higher ed student (and that is saying a lot given my 12 years as an undergrad/grad student).”

“His courses brought together students from the humanities and social sciences — even hard sciences and engineering at times — to work collaboratively on data-intensive, original research that was truly a unique undergraduate experience. He loved seeing all the diverse career paths that his students entered.”

Patrick Herron

AI Consultant at Hypothia

“It is with a very heavy heart I share the news of the passing of my colleague and friend of so many years, Hans J. Van Miegroet. We did so many wonderful things together over more than a decade at Duke, and working with him was one of the best experiences of my life. For years we worked together in the Art Department on projects for his beloved visionary DALMI project, building Media Arts + Sciences, CMAC, and sharing some wonderful and unforgettable meals.”

“Hans is gone way too soon but his life was certainly full; he had the stories to show for it. Hans was filled with largesse that was exceeded by his vision for data-driven art economics, inventive educational programs and a drive for generous mentorship of so many students passing through his door who must be hurting today. My thoughts go out to his family and to the students who worked so closely with him, especially Fiene Leunissen, Kaylee Alexander, Felipe Alvarez de Toledo Lopez-Herrera, and so many others.”

Robert Mayhew, Ph.D.

Associate professor of fine arts at Wake Technical Community College

“I spent ten years working with him and he left an indelible mark on my life. Although I had not spoken to him in a few years, the news of his passing brought back a flood of experiences as his graduate student. Not only was he a world-class scholar; he was also an exceptional teacher. He relentlessly encouraged me to think unconventionally, which I often resisted, but all the while he opened new possibilities to a larger world of ideas, experiences, and friendships.”

“Over the years, he believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. In his classroom and in our daily conversations, he always had a unique way with words, whether in Dutch, French or English - sometimes all in the same sentence - and an absolute joie de vivre that was completely infectious. He showed me that it was perfectly OK to simultaneously be a consummate, polished professional while showing an unapologetic, impassioned and almost child-like fascination for what you’re teaching.”

Ron Spronk, Ph.D.

Professor of art history at the department of art history and art conservation at Queen’s University

“I was very saddened to hear about the sudden death of Hans Van Miegroet, a long-time colleague in the field of Early Netherlandish painting. I still use his brilliant finding of the 'phantom copy' every year in my courses, and I was delighted that Hans was able to speak on that topic at our Bruegel symposium in Vienna in 2019. He will be dearly missed. My condolences to his colleagues and family.”

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin D. Kornegay, U.S. Army, J.D., LL.M.

“I first met Prof. Hans van Miegroet nearly thirty years ago. In 1995, in the spring semester of my freshman year at Duke, I decided to take ART 70, the survey course on art history from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Hans was the instructor. He was a captivating, brilliant lecturer, who combined profound erudition with tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and child-like joy.”

Viktoria Wulff-Andersen | Opinion Editor

Viktoria Wulff-Andersen is a Trinity junior and the opinion editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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