Wilhelm Stein (August 26, 1886 in Zurich - September 28, 1970 in Bern) was a Swiss art historian.
Wilhelm Stein was born on 6 August 1886 in Zurich as the son of the philosopher Ludwig Stein (1859-1930) and Auguste Ehrlich, daughter of the great merchant Adolf Ehrlich. He grew up together with three brothers and two sisters in the Villa Schöngrün in Bern. There he attended first the Schmidschule (1892-1894), then the Aeschbacherschule (until 1896) and finally the municipal progymnasium and the gymnasium, where he graduated with the literature matura in 1904. Stein studied from 1904 to 1906 in Munich, in 1906 for one semester each in Bern and at the Sorbonne in Paris, after which he enrolled at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau. From 1908 Stein took a break in his studies and turned to agriculture. First he went to Dohrn's "Gut Wilhelmshof" near Prenzlau in the Uckermark, then to the Koppinitz estate in Upper Silesia. In 1910 Stein acquired the "Obere Klus" estate near Pfeffingen in Basel-Land. However, Stein's interest in agriculture soon declined. In 1910 he resumed his studies and enrolled at the University of Basel,where he received his doctorate with magna cum laude in 1916 with a dissertation on the renewal of the heroic landscape after 1800.  From 1925 Wilhelm Stein was a private lecturer and from 1946 honorary professor of art history at the University of Bern. In 1910 Wilhelm Stein married Helene Böhm in Wroclaw. The marriage was dissolved after three years. The contact between Stein and Helene, who later married Franz Rapp and emigrated to the USA, remained for life, as evidenced by the extensive correspondence in his estate.  Stein also had intensive correspondence with the Swiss painter Viktor Surbek, the journalist Hermann Böschenstein, the literary scholar Bernhard Böschenstein, the sculptor Max Fueter or the glass painter Paul Zehnder.  Stein's varied literary interests are evidenced by his friendship with Stefan George, whose close circle of followers he belonged to.  His estate is in the Burgerbibliothek Bern. 
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