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Bucher, François C.

Date born:  1927

Place Born:  Lausanne, Switzerland

Date died:

Place died: 1999

Medievalist and modernist, Albers scholar.  Bucher was born to Alois Bucher and Gabrielle Zundel (Bucher).  He attended the Zurich Gymnasium Zurich, receiving a B.A., in 1947. After additional graduate study at the universities of Zurich and Rome, Bucher began teaching as a lecturer at the University of Bern, Switzerland in 1952, continuing to work on his Ph.D.  He emigrated to the United States where he taught, also as an instructor, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis between 1953 and 1954.  In 1954 he married Elizabeth R. Ditter and was appointed assistant professor at Yale University; he received his Ph.D. at the  University of Bern, Switzerland, in 1955. A revised version of his dissertation was published as Notre-Dame de Bonmont und die ersten Zisterzienserabteien der Schweiz (Notre Dame de Bonmont and the Earliest Cistercian Monasteries of Switzerland) in 1957.  Bucher was secretary of the International Center for Medieval Art from 1960-64, editing its art journal, Gesta.  He briefly taught as an associate professor at Brown University from 1960 to 1963, receiving an M.A. there and publishing his Josef Albers: Despite Straight Lines, both in 1961, before an appointment as full professor at Princeton University in 1963.  In 1970 he was professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton.  He edited a facsimile edition of the Pamplona Bibles in 1971. A revised edition of his Albers book appeared in 1977.  Beginning in 1978 Bucher was professor at Florida State University, Tallahassee.  In 1979, he embarked on a facsimile project of architectural pattern and sketchbooks of the middle ages, including that of Villard de Honnecourt, published as Architector. In the 1980s Bucher began constructing the elongated cinder block building on a remote 400-acre tract of land.  The thinktank, called Nautilus, was based on the ideas of R. Buckminster Fuller and contained living quarters, a lecture hall, library and art gallery..   He directed the Society of Architectural Historians. An apocalyptic novel, originally written in English, was published in German as, Ein strahlendes Ende in 1984.  He retired from Florida State University in 1996.  A chain smoker, he suffered a series of strokes from which he died in 1999.  After his death, Nautilus was bequeathed to the Collins Center for Public Policy to be the Collins Nautilus Institute for Advanced Study.

He was a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an Institute of Advanced Studies fellowship. A Florida obituary described him as, "an exotic combination of a classically trained Old World intellectual and a lifelong Bohemian."

Home Country:  Switzerland/United States

Sources:  Bucher-Sidler, Elisabeth. François Bucher: 1983 bis 1996.   Lucern: Edition Partikel, 1996; [obituaries:] Hinson, Mark.  "Au Revoir, Francois Bucher."  Tallahassee Democrat  December 5, 1999, p. D3;  Hinson, Mark. "Bucher, Ex FSU Prof, Dies." Tallahassee Democrat November 11, 1999, p. A3.

Bibliography: [dissertation] Die Zisterzienserabtei Notre-Dame de Bonmont im Zusammenhang mit der burgundisch-transjuranischen Gruppe, University of Bern, 1955, published as Notre-Dame de Bonmont und die ersten Zisterzienserabteien der Schweiz. Bern: Benteli, 1957; Josef Albers: Despite Straight Lines.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961; the Pamplona Bibles. 2 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971; Architector: the Lodge Books and Sketchbooks of Medieval Architects. 4 vols.  New York: Abaris, 1979ff.