Werner Busch was born in 1944 in Prague. He studied art history, archaeology, and historical auxiliary sciences in Tubingen, Freiburg, Vienna, and London. He received his Ph.D. in 1973 in Tubingen for a thesis on the English painter and printmaker William Hogarth. After completing his habilitation at the University of Bonn, in 1981 he was hired as a professor at the University of Bochum, where he taught for seven years. In 1988 he was hired by Freie Universität as a professor at the Institute of Art History.
Busch’s research focuses on art in 18th-century Europe as well as German and English art of the 19th century. In addition, he conducted research on drawings, art theory and history of the species, and on the relationship between art and science. Since 1998 Busch has been a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He is co-founder and editor of Kunsthistorischen Arbeitsblätter. From 2003 to 2008 he directed the Collaborative Research Center, Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Experience, at Freie Universität.
Busch’s most important publications include a volume he edited to accompany the Funkkolleg Kunst project entitled Eine Geschichte der Kunst im Wandel ihrer Funktionen (1987) and Das sentimentalische Bild. Die Krise der Kunst im 18. Jahrhundert und die Geburt der Moderne (1993) as well as several works on the painters Caspar David Friedrich and Adolph Menzel.