Marion F. Deshmukh

Marion F. Deshmukh

Marion F. Deshmukh

Emeritus Faculty

European cultural history, history of modern Germany and Austria, German and Austrian art history

With regret and sadness, we note the passing of Marion Deshmukh on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Dr. Deshmukh was a giant at George Mason University whose broad impact on her field, her students, and campus was foundational.

She began her career at George Mason University in 1969. For 45 years she was a professor of German and European history and art history. She chaired the History and Art History Department for 12 years, successfully guiding its transformation from a small department focused on teaching to a large one that is nationally recognized for its research accomplishments. She also served in the cultural studies doctoral program.

In addition to being a transformational leader, she was a warm and supportive colleague and instructor who was deeply invested in the success of her students. Her outstanding teaching and leadership led to her recognition in 2013 as the Mason Faculty Member of the Year, an award that recognizes a distinguished faculty member who exemplifies a commitment to scholarship, teaching, and service. At the time of the award, Brian Platt, chair of Mason’s Department of History and Art History, noted that Deshmukh “relishes getting to know her students and seeing them grow intellectually. When speaking with alumni about their experience at Mason, they mention Dr. Deshmukh more than any other faculty member.”

She shaped the future of other scholars and students as well by both raising funds for their support and providing fellowship opportunities to students and scholars. She served as the faculty/staff chair for the Merten Campaign in 2012. She raised more than $5 million to support the Merten Scholars Endowment and she created a graduate fellowship in the History and Art History Department.

In addition, Deshmukh led a sustained, 20-year effort to successfully bring a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to Mason. Phi Beta Kappa is devoted to excellence in the liberal arts and the celebration of academic achievements. In the 2017-2018 year, 75 students in CHSS were inducted.

In 2010, Deshmukh was awarded George Mason’s first Robert T. Hawkes Professorship, an honor emphasizing extraordinary commitment to teaching. “It shows the department’s endorsement of Marion as a premier teacher,” said Jack Censer, former dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She is a university powerhouse and a treasure.” She also received the David J. King Teaching Award in 2011 and the Center for Global Education, Academic Excellence Award in 2014.

She received her BA summa cum laude from UCLA and her MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Her research and publications include works and exhibition catalogues on German art and politics, like her 2014 exhibit “Postcards from the Trenches: Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War.” Her latest publication is Max Liebermann: Modern Art and Modern Germany(2015), which is widely recognized as the definitive work on Libermann, a central figure in late-19thand early 20thcentury European art.

Her service to her field and the broader community of scholars is extensive. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received two German Academic Exchange Grants (DAAD), as well as a Fulbright grant, and grants from J. Paul Getty, the American Historical Association, and an Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany grant.  She served on many board of editors of the German Studies Review and was on the academic advisory committee of the Max Liebermann Gesellschaft (Society), Berlin.

She ensured students and community members had opportunities to learn the German language and culture through her work with the Goethe-Institut (Washington, D.C.), including her time serving as chair of the board of the Friends of the Goethe-Institut and as Vice President of the Friends of the German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.).

Dr. Deshmukh made an indelible impact on the university. When she retired in 2015 the Department of History and Art History celebrated her life and work by establishing the Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Support Endowment. The fund is used to provide faculty members with the support they need to achieve their own scholarly goals while also funding collaborative research projects between faculty and students. This fund embodies the same collaborative spirit that Dr. Deshmukh cultivated so doggedly in her 45 year tenure at Mason. Please consider making a gift today to continue her legacy.



To make a gift to the Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Endowment, please visit and click 'GIVE.'

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College of Humanities and Social Sciences

George Mason University

4400 University Drive, 3A3

Fairfax VA 22030-4422

For further details or questions, please contact Mark Hall, Senior Assistant Director of Development at (703) 993-5913 or by email at

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Selected Publications

Max Liebermann: Modern Art and Modern Germany, (Ashgate Publishers, 2015)

Postcards from the Trenches: Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War, [exhibition catalog], Irene Guenther, co-curator, Pepco Edison Gallery, Washington, DC & the Printing Museum, Houston, TX, 2014

Co-editor (with Françoise Forster-Hahn & Barbara Gaehtgens),  Max Liebermann and International Modernism: An Artist's Career from Empire to Third Reich (Studies in German History) (Berghahn Books, 2011)

Introduction and essay:  Sonderwege Historical and Art Historical: the Case of Max Liebermann in book above.

Iconoclash! Political Imagery from the Berlin Wall to German Unification, [Exhibition catalog, Goethe-Institut] (Washington, DC, 2009).

“The Visual Arts and Cultural Migration in the 1930s and 1940s: A Literature Review,” Central European History, 41:4, December, 2008, 569-604.

Max Liebermann: Works on Paper [Exhibition Catalog, Goethe-Institut] (Washington, DC, 2006).

“Max Liebermann and the Politics of Painting,” in: Max Liebermann from Realism to Impressionism, [Exhibition Catalogue, Skirball Cultural Center] (Los Angeles, CA, 2005), 128-149.

“The Revision of Vision: Kunstvereine after 1945,” in Wolfgang-Uwe Friedrich (ed.), Germany and America, (New York & Oxford, 2001).

Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Fellowship

J. Paul Getty Research Grant

AHA Humanities Focus Grant


German Foreign Office and German Information Center (German Embassy) grants

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

History 100: Western Civilization

History 300: Historical Methods

History 314: History of Germany in the 19th & 20th Centuries

History 388: Metropolitan Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Art History 303: National Traditions: Germany and Austria in the 19th and 20th Centuries

History 436: European Culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries

History 499: Senior Seminar: The Third Reich and the Holocaust


Graduate Courses:

History 636: Germany in the 20th Century

History 640: Metropolitan Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries

History 731: Research Seminar in European History, various topics

History 635: World War I in Europe


BA, Summa cum Laude, UCLA

MA, Columbia University, NYC

MPhil, Columbia University, NYC

PhD, Columbia, NYC

Certificate, L'ecole francais d'ete, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Recent Presentations


Opening Gallery Talk: "Postcards from the Trenches, Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War," August 19, 2014, Pepco Edison Gallery, Washington, DC

Keynote address:  "Art and Resistance" for Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 7, 2013, Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center, Annandale, VA

Keynote address:  "German Impressionism" November 18, 2012, for the opening of the Ernst Oppler, German Impressionism Exhibition, Foosamer Art Museum, Melbourne, Florida.

Featured speaker for the American Goethe Society to commemorate the 20th anniversary of German unification:  “Cultural Transformations: Berlin in the 20th Century,”   Goethe-Institut, Washington, DC, November 4, 2010 

Keynote addresses for an exhibition:  German Impressionist Landscape Painting: Liebermann-Corinth-Slevogt, “Berlin, 1900: Politics and the Triumvirate of Impressionism” Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, Texas, October 15 & 16, 2010.

“Berlin: Political Imagery since the Fall of the Wall,” Goethe Institut, Washington, DC, November, 2009.

“Berlin:  Two Centuries of Transformation, Politics and Culture,” Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, for the Smithsonian Institution, November, 2008.

“Let’s Laugh: Humor and German Politics, 1890-1914,” Invited talk, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, December, 2007.

“Modernism and the Visual Arts,” (Invited), German Studies Association, San Diego, CA, October, 2007.

In the Media

Press and media coverage for Postcards from the Trenches exhibition, 2014.

Was interviewed for National Public Radio (PBS) in November 2009 for the Iconoclash exhibit. Was also interviewed on Fox News (TV channel 5) and the Discovery Channel for the same exhibition in November 2009.


Dissertations Supervised

Rebecca Erbelding, About Time: The History of the War Refugee Board (2015)