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Robert Herbert and John Zarobell Collection

Identifier: SC-006

Content Description

Predominantly consisting of printed emails between between Robert Herbert and John Zarobell over the span of 13 years, the collection also includes a handwritten letter and a draft of Zarobell’s introduction to his book Empire of Landscape, annotated by Robert Herbert, and one exhibition catalogue, Inventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market, signed by Zarobell to Herbert. Subjects discussed in the correspondance are exhibitions attended, exhibitions participated in or curated, and family matters. Specific exhibitions mentioned include "Manet and the Sea," Philadelphia Museaum of Art (2004) and "Inventing Impressionism," The National Gallery, London (2015).


  • Creation: 2002-2015

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies or scans may be made for research purposes. Permission to use or publish text or images from this collection must be obtained from the Hampshire College Archives and Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Herbert was born to John Newman Herbert and Rosalia Hart on April 21, 1929, in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1951 he received a B.A. from Wesleyan College, with his studies focusing on the history of science. Shortly after graduation, Herbert left for France and studied at the University of Paris until 1952, then returning to the States in 1953 to marry Eugenia Randall Warren. He pursued graduate work at Yale University, completing his M.A in 1954, and starting as a Yale instructor in 1956 while working on his Ph.D. Awarded the degree in 1957 with a dissertation on Seurat, Herbert was heavily influenced by the work of Columbia University professor Meyer Schapiro, who encouraged Herbert’s socialist outlook on art history. Herbert was Professor of History of Art at Yale until 1990, and then moved to the Department of Art at Mount Holyoke College from 1990 to 1997. Herbert has curated many prominent exhibits and produced a multitude of publications, receiving numerous awards and accolades.

John Zarobell graduated Hampshire College with a B.A in 1992, concentrating in studio art before moving on to study art history in his graduate studies. He received his M.A (1997) and Ph.D. (2000) from the University of California, Berkley, then jumped headfirst into the world of curating. Coordinating a plethora of exhibits since 1999, Zarobell is also the author of Edvard Munch’s Mermaid (2005) and Empire of Landscape: Space and Ideology in French Colonial Algeria (2010), as well as many articles and art reviews.


.21 Linear Feet (one half-size document box)

Language of Materials



The bulk of this collection includes correspondance between Robert L. Herbert, Professor Emeritus, Mount Holyoke College, and John J. Zarobell, Hampshire College alum and art historian. Correspondence dates from 2002 to 2015.

Robert Herbert-John Zarobell Correspondence
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Madison Reid.
March 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Hampshire College Archives and Special Collections Repository