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Former professor, chair of art history and art department Walter S. Gibson passes away

Walter S. Gibson, a former professor and chair of the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University, passed away Nov. 18. He was 86.

Gibson received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Ohio State University, and his doctorate from Harvard University. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Gibson joined the faculty of Western Reserve University in 1966, serving the university until his retirement in 1998. During that time, he was named to the Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in the Humanities in 1978, and filled the role of department chair from 1971 to 1979.

An internationally renowned scholar of Netherlandish art, Gibson’s work extensively covered 16th century artists Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel.

Widely regarded for his work, Gibson earned Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships and was a scholar-in-residence at the humanities center in Wassenaer, the Netherlands.

In 2012, Gibson returned to Case Western Reserve to give the annual Buchanan Lecture, during which he presented “Hell, Heaven and Hieronymus Bosch: Depicting the Afterlife in the Late Middle Ages.”