‘Impossible to sum him up’: Hans Joris Van Miegroet remembered for bridging disciplines, elevating artwork background at Duke

Hans Joris Van Miegroet, professor of artwork and art record, is remembered as a pioneer in his field who lived existence to the fullest and an innovator who bridged artwork record and economics with an interdisciplinary technique.

Van Miegroet, 71, died on Feb. 15 in a single-car crash on Academy Road near Duke University Push. According to law enforcement records received by The Chronicle, Van Miegroet might have professional a clinical celebration right before crashing into a tree.

He is remembered for contributing to the enhancement of the artwork, art background and visible research office, spearheading the department’s relocation to the Smith Warehouse and educating one of the most common courses in his section, ARTHIST 231, Background of Artwork Markets.

Past his educational contributions, Van Miegroet was known for his vibrant identity and the approaches he fostered collaboration between his students and the department. 

These who understood Van Miegroet applauded his knack for instructing and lecturing, which had a distinctive electric power to captivate college students and cultivate their fascination in disciplines other than their very own. Learners and college explained him as a person who “lived a lot of lives.” 

In tributes revealed on the department’s web page, colleagues and college students alike shared their recollections of Van Miegroet, be it the numerous meals they shared, the Excel sheets of his tasks connected to his business office partitions or the tales he shared in his Ghent accent about his early decades as a painter and pop singer.

College showed pics of Van Miegroet in his teenage decades undertaking as a musician and reminisced about his love for art and painting at a potluck held in his memory.

Paul Jaskot, chair of the division of art, artwork historical past and visible studies, labored closely with Van Miegroet through his time in the department. When he was employed as the director of the Electronic Art Historical past & Visible Tradition investigation lab 7 a long time ago, Jaskot by now understood that Van Miegroet played a pivotal job in developing the electronic infrastructure that makes Duke’s artwork history division distinctive.

“My initial introduction to Hans was a person of good eyesight that I failed to even realize from the outside,” Jaskot reported. “… It was only when I got inside that I recognized the scope of what he had completed.”

When Duke 1st employed Van Miegroet in 1988, the AAHVS division was located on East Campus. Van Miegroet, who required a room that could aid significant discourse for students and faculty, established forth to relocate the office to the Smith Warehouse. 

“He definitely championed [the Smith Warehouse] as equally an expansion and an possibility to seriously put the distinct pieces of our section in conversation with every other,” said Mark Olson, affiliate professor of the apply of art, art record and visual research. “As chair, he was a authentic chief and entrepreneur in that regard.”

In the Smith Warehouse, Van Miegroet selected to share his workplace with his learners and applied it as an open up area for his learners to bounce concepts off of every other, with Olson declaring that collaboration was regarded as a necessity to be a person of his students.

One of Van Miegroet’s largest contributions to the AAHVS division was his Historical past of Art Markets study course, which analyzed the interactions amongst marketplaces and art cultures and how the marketplaces served to condition those cultures.

Sophia Maldonado, a second-year doctoral scholar in art background and former educating assistant for the Background of Artwork Markets training course, pointed out that Van Miegroet had forged Duke’s standing into one involved with learning artwork marketplaces.

“He was so entire of everyday living, and he had so several strategies,” she mentioned. “… He was incredibly passionate and energetic. You would not feel he was a person in his seventies.”

Sophomore Julia Youthful, who was in Van Miegroet’s graduate-level History of Art Markets course in spring 2024, called him a professor one particular could instinctively know was a “[genius] in their industry.”

“I actually don’t believe that there is another professor that can fill his room,” she claimed.

Robert Mayhew, a former doctoral advisee of Van Miegroet and associate professor of fantastic arts at Wake Complex Group University, wrote that Van Miegroet was a guy who introduced “completely infectious” joie de vivre any time he spoke, be it in Dutch, French or English. 

“He showed me that it was correctly Okay to simultaneously be a consummate, polished qualified while exhibiting an unapologetic, impassioned and pretty much little one-like fascination for what you are teaching,” Mayhew wrote. 

Van Miegroet hailed from a spouse and children of scientists and mathematicians, which inspired him to explore distinctive disciplinary associations beyond the strategy normally used in artwork historical past. 

As an innovator who utilized statistical modeling to analyze the artwork market, Van Miegroet was recognised as a pioneer who synthesized qualitative and quantitative methodologies in his scholarship.

“Not every faculty in the place and undoubtedly not just about every art record office has somebody who can do that sort of bridging operate,” Olson claimed.

Nubia Nurain Khan, doctoral university student in art background and Van Miegroet’s advisee, reminisced about a convention at Louisiana Point out College that she accompanied Van Miegroet to, exactly where convention attendees regarded his presentation as the gold regular. 

Khan praised Van Miegroet’s information assortment, exclusively on art auction residences and galleries, and how it has the prospective to advance the review of art markets. 

“He was often wondering about the upcoming and was extremely visionary. I hope his [work] will get effectively-preserved due to the fact his knowledge assortment was stunning, and it desires more notice,” she mentioned. “He preferred other individuals to know how much details he had and what we could do with that.”

Olson mentioned that Van Miegroet could disrupt the position quo, occasionally controversially but often enthusiastically, with the doorway open up to debate and collaboration. Van Miegroet’s process of intersecting the arts with economics facilitated new conversations and challenged assumptions “about how the artwork planet will work, the two historically and contemporarily,” from computational AI to statistical literacies. 

“In some techniques, it is really extremely hard to sum him up,” Olson explained. “And I feel he would like it that way.”


Abby Spiller
| Editor-at-Massive

Abby Spiller is a Trinity sophomore and an editor-at-substantial of The Chronicle’s 119th volume.

Maria Lewis

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