Dates: 1923-2003

Nationality: British

Richard Arthur Wollheim (May 5, 1923 – November 4, 2003) was a British philosopher noted for original work on mind and emotions, especially as related to the visual arts, specifically, painting. Wollheim served as the president of the British Society of Aesthetics from 1992 onwards until his death in 2003.

Son of an actress and a theater impresario, Richard Wollheim attended Westminster School, London, and Balliol College, Oxford (1941-2, 1945-8), interrupted by active military service in World War II.In 1949 he obtained a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and began teaching at University College London, where he became Grote Professor of Mind and Logic and Department Head from 1963 to 1982. He was visiting professor at Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, Graduate Center, CUNY, the University of California-Berkeley, UC Davis and elsewhere. He chaired the Department at UC Berkeley, 1998-2002. On retirement from Berkeley, he served briefly as a guest lecturer at Balliol College. Wollheim gave several distinguished lecture series, most notably the Andrew M. Mellon lectures in Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1984), published as Painting as an Art.

Besides his philosophical research and teaching on art, Wollheim was well-known for his philosophical treatments of depth psychology,notably Sigmund Freud. Art and its Objects was one of the twentieth century’s most influential texts on philosophical aesthetics. In a 1965 essay, ‘Minimal Art’, he seems to have coined the meme term ‘minimal’, although the meaning of the word drifted from his. In his well-received, posthumously-published autobiography of youth, Germs: A Memoir of Childhood, complemented by a few essays, Wollheim provides much information about his family background and his life, into early manhood, and understanding of the roots of his interests and sensibility.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Richard Wollheim’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 November 2010, 16:57 UTC, <>

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