Edward Waldo Forbes, former director of the Fogg Museum (1909–1944) and a pioneer in art conservation, was never formally trained as an art historian. Yet his study alongside artists and experts in England and Italy provided a valuable education, inspiring not only the courses he taught at Harvard but also the Fogg’s teaching mission and its leading role in art conservation.
Forbes’s commitment to close study and research endures today at the Harvard Art Museums. To learn more about his work and travels, visitors can make an appointment at the Harvard Art Museums Archives, where the newly processed Forbes Teaching and Research Materials Collection and Forbes’s unpublished memoir, “Art Notes,” are available for research purposes.
Below, you’ll find several sets of images and related documents that help tell the story of Forbes's early collecting practices and his education about Italian painting.