Ph.D., Harvard University, 1977
Professor Kaufmann teaches and publishes on European art and architecture 1500–1800 in its global context, the theory and practice of world art history, and the geography and historiography of art. He continues to publish on various aspects of northern and central European art and the history of collections. In 2019 his students defended dissertations on Henri IV of France and the arts, art and confessionalism in northwestern Germany, and painting, drawing, and art theory in 17th-century Sweden. Current doctoral candidates are working on battle paintings of New Spain (1650–1700); Flemish pulpits, 1650–1750; Czech Baroque sculpture; palace design under Maria Theresia; Clock-making and European Chinoiserie in Qing China; Late Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Studies of China; the Hanseatic art world; and Classical Reception and Eastern European Transformations of Hygiene in the Long Eighteenth Century.
At Princeton, Kaufmann is a board member of the programs in Latin American Studies and in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and a faculty associate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. He is a member of many fellowship and advisory committees, organizations, and associations, and a regular participant in museum exhibitions, and at conferences and lectures on five continents. Formerly vice president of the National Committee of the History of Art, he served on its board for a decade. He serves as editor-in-chief of the Oxford Bibliography of the History of Art.
Professor Kaufmann has been a fellow of the American Academy in Rome and the American Academy in Berlin, and is a member of the Royal Flemish, Latvian, Polish, and Swedish Academies of Science. The Czech Academy of Sciences awarded him the Palacký Medal. Among his many honors and fellowships, he was awarded the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa by the Technische Universität, Dresden, in 2010; the diploma cited the quality of his scholarship, especially on Central Europe, its application as a basis in the effort to establish a more global history of art, and his services for international collaboration and mutual understanding among nations. In November 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from Masaryk University in Brno.
Professor Kaufmann teaches courses on art and architecture of the 16th to the 18th century in Europe and its relations with other parts of the world. His teaching includes seminars and classes on art of the 17th and 18th centuries; the literature of art; drawings of the 15th to the 19th century (including Italian, French, Netherlandish, German, Spanish, and Dutch drawings); Central European art and architecture; the art and architecture of viceregal Latin America; the geography of art; global exchange in art; the possibilities of world art history; and art, science, and magic.
His ongoing projects include numerous studies of world art history. Together with Elizabeth Pilliod, he is writing Global Visions: A History of World Art. His recent publications include Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia (Amsterdam University Press and University of Chicago Press, 2014) , coedited with Michael North, and Circulations in the Global History of Art (Ashgate, 2015), coedited with Catherine Dossin and Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, and an edition and introduction to a new translation of Julius von Schlosser, The Cabinets of Art and Wonder of the Late Renaissance, Los Angeles, Getty Research Center, 2021.
Arcimboldo: Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting (University of Chicago Press, 2009).
Painterly Enlightenment: The Art of Franz Anton Maulbertsch, 1724–1796 (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
Time and Place: The Geohistory of Art, introduction and coeditor with Elizabeth Pilliod (Ashgate, 2005).
Toward a Geography of Art (University of Chicago Press, 2004).
Central European Drawings in the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (Harvey Miller and Brepols, 2004).
The Eloquent Artist: Essays on Art, Art Theory and Architecture, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century (Pindar 2004).
Art and Architecture in Central Europe, 1550–1620: An Annotated Bibliography (Jonas, 2003).
L’art flamand et hollandais: Belgique et Pays Bas, 1520–1914, general editor and author of section on the pictorial arts (Citadelles et Mazenod, 2002).
Court, Cloister, and City: The Art and Culture of Central Europe, 1450–1800 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson and University of Chicago Press, 1995).
The Mastery of Nature: Aspects of Art, Science, and Humanism in the Renaissance (Princeton University Press, 1993).