Frances E. Huemer, professor emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 4. Professor Huemer’s career spanned 30 years in the university’s art department. Before joining the UNC faculty in 1959, she taught at Smith College and New York University. An expert on the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, she focused her research on his close association with a circle of Italian intellectuals, including Galileo and Justus Lipsius. She was the author of two books and several articles and essays on Rubens, as well as articles on the architectural theories of Michelangelo and Francesco Borromini, many produced after she retired from the University in 1989.
Professor Huemer was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1921 to Ludwig Huemer and Josefine Zamazal Huemer, who came to this country from Vienna, Austria at the turn of the century. After graduating from Barringer High School in Newark, she attended Duke University and did her graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she received her doctorate in 1959. She was the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Europe in 1949, one of the first granted after the war.
She is survived by her nieces and nephews: Marlis Schlegel Steadman and her husband Broeck of Rumson, New Jersey; Francesca Huemer Kelly and her husband Ian of Highland Park, Illinois; Philip Schlegel and his wife Beverly of Mendham, New Jersey; and David Huemer of Maplewood, New Jersey. In addition, she has many grandnieces and grandnephews and a loyal coterie of friends and former students.
The family is planning a celebration of Professor Huemer’s life and achievements this October.