Faison, S. Lane, Jr. 1907-2006 (Samson Lane Faison, Jr.)

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Faison, S. Lane, Jr. 1907-2006 (Samson Lane Faison, Jr.)


See index for CA sketch: Born November 16, 1907, in Washington, DC; died November 11, 2006, in Williamstown, MA. Historian, educator, and author. Faison was a retired art history professor at Williams College who was also known for his work in tracking down artworks stolen and hoarded by Adolf Hitler. A 1929 graduate of Williams College, he earned a master's degree from Harvard in 1930, and an M.F.A. from Princeton in 1932. Faison taught at Yale University in the early 1930s before joining the Williams College faculty in 1936. With the onset of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and from 1945 to 1946 was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services. It was during this postwar period in Germany that Faison spent time interrogating Nazis to find out where Hitler had hidden many artistic treasures. A large cache was found in a salt mine in Linz, Hitler's home town. Faison would return to Germany in 1950 to assist with locating and returning artworks to their rightful owners; it was several decades, however, before most of the art could be returned. Meanwhile, he continued to teach at Williams College, where he was made a full professor of art in 1946. During his academic career, he was director of the college's Museum of Art from 1948 to 1976 and head of the department from 1940 to 1969. He retired in 1976 as Amos Lawrence Professor of Art. Faison was known for inspiring students to become art history majors. He strove to convince students to study art, rather than medicine, business, or law, and is credited with mentoring a generation of museum and gallery directors and curators, as well as university professors and administrators. Among Faison's former students are New York Museum of Modern Art director Glenn D. Lowry, National Gallery of Art director Earl A. Powell III, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan. Faison was also the author of several texts on art, including Art Tours and Detours in New York State (1964) and The Art Museums of New England (1982).



Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2006, p. B8.

New York Times, November 14, 2006, p. C21.

Washington Post, November 17, 2006, p. B7.

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Faison, S. Lane, Jr. 1907-2006 (Samson Lane Faison, Jr.)

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