Preparations for the Graduate Institute of Art History began in October 2007 and were completed with the establishment of two graduate programs—Western Art History and Eastern Art History—in August 2008. The institute’s mission is to develop academic research in eastern and western art history studies, to create an academic environment of careful inquiry and solid study, to foster academic talent, to encourage art appreciation, to extend global vision, and to promote the conservation and preservation of cultural heritage.

In order to build up its library resources, the Institute, led by the founding Chair, Prof. Shai-shu Tzeng, acquired NTNU administrative funds to procure the Gernot Prunner Library for Asian culture and art studies. Further procurement included classical works and important periodicals obtained through the Project of Western Art History Studies sponsored by the National Science Council (NSC, now Ministry of Science and Technology); books on 15th- to 17th-century western arts, similarly acquired through NSC sponsorship for book collections in humanities and social science studies; and academic books on 18th- and 20th-century western arts acquired with NTNU funding. These collections established the GIAH’s reputation as one of the richest book resources in Asian art history and western art history among the academic institutes of Taiwan.