Former Laureates

René Huyghe

René Huyghe

1966

In 1966 the Erasmus Prize was shared by two scholars in the field of art history: Sir Herbert Read and René Huyghe.
René Huyghe, born in Arras in 1906, was elected a member of the French Academy in 1960. In 1951 he became Professor in the Psychology of Art at the Collège de France, after having been attached to the Louvre as curator. As a philosopher and art historian he has contributed to the understanding of works of art by psychological methods. Making use of modern scientific methods he endeavoured to penetrate the psychology of the artist. With his prolific writings and his eloquence he succeeded in transferring his ideas to his contemporaries. By teaching how to look and how to think he was able to deepen the love of many people for works of art and their reception to the message of the artist. He was also a pioneer in the production of films on art. In this way he contributed to a deeper understanding of art in Europe and elsewhere and of past and present times. Apart from publications on Cézanne, Millet, Watteau, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Delacroix and Gauguin, his most important works are L’Histoire de l’art contemporain (1935), Dialogue avec le visible (1955) and Psychologie de l’art (series of lectures 1951-1976). René Huyghe died in 1997.

René Huyghe put half his prize money at the disposal of the Eranos Foundation in Ascona. This foundation organized an annual conference for about ten scholars in the fields of psychology, ethnology, religious history or art history. The Eranos Foundation also offered guests the chance to withdraw for some time to the tranquillity of the Institute on Lake Maggiore.