James Smith Pierce, 80, husband of Carol Jane Smyers, died peacefully May 13, 2010, at a health care facility in Belfast after long treatment for prostate cancer.

He was born April 26, 1930, in Brooklyn, N.Y., a son of Edward Lloyd and Florence May (Young) Pierce. James grew up in Brooklyn and was a graduate of Erasmus Hall High School. After graduating from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, in the class of 1952 with a bachelor of arts degree in fine arts, he served in the Army at Fort Dix, N.J., during the Korean Conflict, rising to the rank of corporal. He resumed his academic studies at Columbia University in New York City and at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., graduating with a Ph.D. in fine arts from Harvard in 1962.

From 1959 to 1969 he taught art and architectural history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he was associate professor and acting chairman of the art department. He was chairman of the art department at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from 1969 to 1973 and continued to serve as professor of art until retiring in 1989 as professor emeritus.

While semi-retired in Camden, he was visiting professor of art at Colby College in Waterville from 1990 to 1991 and artist-in-  residence at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham in 1993.

Pierce published widely in the areas of medieval, Renaissance and 20th-century fine art and folk art, including a book on the Swiss-German painter Paul Klee, and a textbook, “From Abacus to Zeus,” continuously in print for more than 40 years and widely assigned in art history classes throughout the United States and Canada.

In addition to his contributions to the history of art, Pierce was an early contributor to the Land Art movement during the 1970s and 1980s. He exhibited widely throughout Maine, the United States and Europe.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Smyers, of Belfast; two sons, Christopher Dion Pierce of Lexington, Ky., and David Elliott Pierce of Royal Oak, Mich.; a brother, Franklin Wadsworth Pierce, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; two grandchildren, Samuel Elliot Pierce and Giulia Isabella Pierce; a niece and nephews.

A funeral service was held at 9 a.m. Monday, May 17, at Maine Veterans Cemetery, where he was buried with military honors.

Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast.