Alan Gowans


1923 – 2001


Who was Alan Gowans?

Alan Gowans was an art historian and university academic, educated at the University of Toronto and Princeton University. A charismatic teacher and prolific author, his academic specialty was North American architecture, frequently highlighting such unheralded structures as gas stations, restaurants, motels, bungalows and mail-order homes, and exploring their social, cultural and national significance. Perhaps his most influential work was Images of American Living.

Gowans' place in the development of art history in America has been partly explored by Richard Kostelanetz. A partial list of the teaching and research institutions at which Gowans held teaching positions includes: Rutgers University, Middlebury College, Harvard University, University of Edinburgh, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. A former president of the Society of Architectural Historians, he served as chairman of the art history department at the University of Delaware and as founding chairman of the Department of History in Art at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. From Victoria, he spearheaded an international and cross-cultural approach to the history of art, bringing notable scholars such as Siri Gunasinghe to the new university, and guest lecturers as varied as Immanuel Velikovsky, Boris Piotrovsky and Hans Wolfgang Müller.

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Nov 30, 1923
Aug 19, 2001

on July 23, 2013


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