Esther Pasztory is a professor emerita of Pre-Columbian art history at Columbia University. From 1997 to her retirement in 2013 she held the Lisa and Bernard Selz Chair in Art History and Archaeology. Among her many publications are the first art historical manuscripts on Teotihuacan and the Aztecs. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987-88) and a senior fellow of the board of Dumbarton Oaks.
Pasztory was born in Hungary and immigrated to the United States in 1956 after the anti-Communist revolutions. She was initially educated at Vassar College but later transferred to Barnard College where she received her B.A. in art history in 1965. She remained at Columbia University and received her Ph.D. from the institution in 1971 for a dissertation entitled "The Murals of Tepantitla, Teotihuacan".