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Richard Edwards

Richard Edwards, 1986. Photo courtesy of his family.

LRCCS Mourns the Passing of Richard Edwards, Emeritus Faculty of the History of Art.

Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Far Eastern Art in the History of Art Department, passed away in Ann Arbor on Friday, March 25, 2016 at the age of 99.  He will be missed.

Professor Edwards joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1960 and retired after 27 years of teaching in May of 1987. A native of Auburn, New York, Professor Edwards received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1939 and his M.A. degree from Harvard University in 1942. His graduate studies were interrupted by his service during World War II with the American Field Service in North Africa and Italy and as a member of the Friends Ambulance Unit in China. Following the war, he undertook further graduate study at Yale University and then at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1953. He taught at Boston University, Brandeis University, and Washington University before joining the faculty of The University of Michigan in 1960 as a professor of far eastern art.

During his career, Professor Edwards traveled and studied extensively in China and throughout the Far East as the recipient of three Fulbright Fellowships, two Rackham Faculty Research Grants, and a Rackham Faculty Research Fellowship. He is the author of five books and numerous articles. Professor Edwards' distinction as a member of The University of Michigan faculty was recognized by his being named the Henry Russel Lecturer in 1984.

Throughout his career, Professor Edwards maintained a position of prominence in the study of Chinese painting, enjoying recognition from colleagues in the field both at home and abroad. Through his numerous publications, his participation in academic symposia, and his role as a teacher, he consistently exemplified scholarly excellence, rigorous discipline, and humane wisdom.

Richard Edwards (2nd from left) with his follow American Field Service volunteers in North Africa during WWII. Photo courtesy of his family.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm, Friday, May 20th 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.  There will be a reception at the church following the service.  In lieu of flowers contributions gifts Memorial donations may be made to the Richard and Vee Ling Edwards Fund (792326), University of Michigan History of Art, 855 South University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1357.  Gifts to endowment funds will be administered as a permanent endowment under MI law and University policies.

For more comprehensive information on Professor Edwards’ life and work, we include an obituary created by his family and published in the Ann Arbor News on Sunday, April 17, 2016:

Biographical information for Richard Edwards came from the U-M Faculty History Project.

In the 1970s and early 1980s when in the Department of Philosophy, I taught a course on Mid-Imperial Chinese philosophy. I often invited Dick Edwards to give a lecture on the influence of Chinese Daoist and Buddhist philosophy on Chinese art. Among the favorite examples, for which he provided visual slides, were paintings reflecting the idea of the artist's empty mind or spontaneous expression.  One example was "Mountain Village in the Mist, by Yu Jian (Chien). It can be found in the U-M Fine Arts Library book: Shimada, Paintings of the Sung and Yuan Dynasties ND/1043/.Y563. Donald Munro, Emeritus Faculty of Philosophy.