Members in the News

Obituary:  Sarah Bradford Landau (1935-2023)

by SAH News | Feb 07, 2023

Sarah Bradford Landau died February 4, 2023 at a skilled nursing facility in Leeds, Massachusetts, near Northampton, at the age of 87. She suffered from loss of memory and cognitive ability, and died rather suddenly after a brief illness. Sarah was a professor of art history at New York University for many years. She earned a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts of NYU as a student of Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the noted architectural historian. Her dissertation chronicled the work of the architects Henry Tuckerman Potter and William Appleton Potter, subsequently published. Other published works include Rise of the New York Skyscraper 1865-1913 (1996), with Carl W. Condit, George B. Post, Architect (1998), and many journal articles including the pioneering study, The Row Houses of New York's West Side (March 1975), which appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. For nine years she served as a member of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. She is survived by her husband Sidney, her children Paul and Amy, Paul's wife Emily and their two children Zoe and Penelope, and her brother Alan, and his wife Mary.

Sarah Landau initially joined SAH in 1973. She served on the Sally Kress Tompkins HABS committee in 2007-2008. 

Personal Remembrance from SAH member and NYU colleague  Mosette Broderick:

NYU Department of Art History ‘s beloved faculty member, Sarah Landau, grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and studied painting and art history.  She came to the Institute of Fine Arts for her MA and PhD degrees writing a dissertation that her advisor, Henry-Russell Hitchcock said was the best dissertation he had ever supervised on Edward T. and William A. Potter, American Victorian Architects, in 1977. Although a confirmed student of the 19th century, her work with Carl Condit in 1996, THE RISE OF THE NEW YORK SKYSCRAPER, changed the story of our view on what had been a Chicago only tale.  Sarah also wrote on George B. Post, the father of the New York skyscrapers at the turn of the 20th century and was working on a book on Victorian Memorials.  Sarah Landau was the first architectural historian to take an active role in building preservation.  Landau walked the streets to set up the boundaries on the current district of the Upper West Side.   She spent a month on Sixth Avenue posting notices on poles to attempt to save the first New York Racquet Club on 26th Street. She worked briefly for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission before serving as a Commissioner from 1987 to 1996.

 Professor Landau taught in the Art History Department at NYU from 1976-2007.  A superb teacher, a class in the end of the term presented her with a full bouquet of flowers rather as one would a great opera star.


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