"There are a few arrivals and departures in one’s life that take on significance far beyond the actual events. One such event was suffused with high expectations: my arrival at New York University in 1968 as a new addition to the Art Department faculty. Almost thirty years later I received a letter from L. Jay Oliva, then NYU’s president informing me that I had been designated “Professor Emeritus of Art and Art Education effective September 1, 1997, upon your retirement.” Evidently I had fulfilled at least some of the University’s institutional expectations . . . but not my own. My life long interests have continued to expand to the point where my friends tell me I have too many projects."

-David W, Ecker

David W. Ecker

Artist and Scholar

(This site is in preparation.)

            Dr. David W. Ecker, artist, highly regarded educator, philosopher and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University, died of cancer on December 31, 2013, at the age of eighty-two. He is survived by his wife, the scholar Willavene Wolf, a Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology, New York University; sons Gregory David and Jonathan Jay; daughter-in-law Anik; grandchildren Violet and Kaspar; and brother and sister-in-law Robert and Peg. 

            Born on Long Island, NY, on February 5, 1931, Dave Ecker attended SUNY Farmingdale for the A.A.S. degree in 1951 before performing distinguished service as commanding officer of an Army intelligence Unit during the Korean War, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star and two battle stars. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from SUNY and Albright Art School in Buffalo, NY, and spent 1956 teaching at the American Community School in Asuncion, Paraguay. The M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was awarded him in 1957, and he received the Ed.D. in the History and Philosophy of Education Program at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, in 1962. A 1966-1967 Post-Doctoral Fellowship followed at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

            Dr. Ecker's many contributions to scholarship in aesthetics and art education include field research in many nations, and seminal concepts underlying the phenomenology of artistic process, trans-categorical thinking, the justification of aesthetic judgments and the view of artistic process as qualitative problem solving. His writings continue to inform and ground scholarship in aesthetics and art education, and, as an advisor in the NYU doctoral programs, David W. Ecker worked with and influenced students from all over the world. His doctoral students successfully completed field research in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Tibet, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the U.S and elsewhere. He has been a leader in preserving and nurturing those arts in danger of being lost, has been at the forefront of promoting multicultural art education in both third-world and industrialized societies, and, with other contemporary luminaries in the field, was a founder of ISALTA, the International Society for the Advancement of Living Traditions in Art.

            A man of wide-ranging interests, David W. Ecker will be well remembered and sorely missed as a husband, father, brother, scholar, friend, researcher, educator, and in all the roles played in a rich, full life, including that of excellent cook.

book of friends

"liber amicorum

(A Festschrift, or Gedenkenschrift, containing original contributions by this honored academic's close colleagues including the former doctoral students of Dr. David W.Ecker.)


Biographical Information (Through 2001)


Projects, Sites and Web Places

NAEA obituary



"tabula gratulatoria"

(An extended list of colleagues and friends who send their best wishes in remembrance of and gratitude toward David W. Ecker.)

Colleagues, friends and family of Dr. David W. Ecker are invited to paricipate in honoring and celebrating his life and work with submissions to this website.

Contact by mail

Plexus' slide show of and dedicated to Dr. David W. Eker thanks to Dr Sandro Dernini

Voyage of the Elisabeth video documentation

art, education, teaching, phenomenology, philosophy, aesthetics, aesthetic, NYU, NAEA, ISALTA