CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings

National Gallery of Art

Location
Washington D.C., USA
Type
Full time - permanent position
Closing date
15 April 2025
Posted on
16 April 2024

The National Gallery of Art serves the nation by welcoming all people to explore and experience art, creativity, and our shared humanity. The museum is committed to fostering an audience-centered experience and to preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art in accordance with the highest professional and scholarly standards.

Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings

The National Gallery seeks a dynamic and motivational senior curator to lead its renowned prints and drawings division. The new Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings will join the National Gallery at a transformative moment in its history as it implements a reinvigorated mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities that center diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in all its work. The position is a remarkable opportunity for a creative scholar interested in activating the art of the past and present for contemporary audiences.

The curatorial division of prints and drawings is responsible for the National Gallery‚Äôs care, study, display, and expansion of a world-class collection of some 120,000 works‚ÄĒprints, drawings, artists‚Äô books, and ephemera from Europe, America, and other parts of the world from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods and the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The prints and drawings collection totals nearly 80% of the National Gallery‚Äôs entire collection. The division manages two print study rooms, which are open by appointment to scholars and the public. Currently, the division produces around two exhibitions per year ranging in sizes from large exhibitions accompanied by scholarly catalogues to smaller displays drawn from our important collections. Curators work closely with the Gallery‚Äôs conservation team in an effort to preserve and study the collection. The division often collaborates with the National Gallery‚Äôs Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (The Center) to initiate scholarly projects that coincide with The Center‚Äôs interests and priorities.

The Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings plays a vital leadership role at the National Gallery and is one of four senior curators reporting to the Chief Curatorial and Conservation Officer (CCCO). The new curator will galvanize and direct the activities of the prints and drawings division to conceive and implement innovative, forward-thinking and audience-centered curatorial strategies, scholarship, and public service. The incumbent will be committed to diversity, equity, access, and inclusivity (DEAI) principles as they impact scholarship, collections development, staff management, and audience engagement. The three other senior curators oversee respective curatorial departments of European and American art, modern and contemporary art, and photographs. Together with the Chief of Conservation and Chief Registrar, the four senior curators serve the CCCO as a key leadership team to help manage and direct the curatorial and conservation division by advancing the National Gallery’s mission, vision, and values.

In leading the prints and drawings division, the incumbent is responsible for developing and managing the staff, collections, and related projects and budgets, including art acquisitions by gift and purchase; reviewing and setting priorities to address cataloguing needs, donor development and cultivation; scholarly research; partnerships; interpretation; print and online publishing; website content; display, loans, and special exhibitions of graphic art; and art storage and study room facilities, including leading the division-wide preparation and coordination around the opening of the Gallery’s new off-site art storage in 2026. The incumbent is expected to lead collaboration with other curatorial departments to ensure that the graphic arts are an integral part of displays‚ÄĒespecially as plans develop to reinstall the National Gallery‚Äôs West Building, which largely houses the museum‚Äôs collection of pre-1900 works of art. They will work collaboratively and cross-departmentally to develop effective means of sharing scholarly information with diverse audiences. In serving the museum‚Äôs audiences, the senior curator will work closely with the Gallery‚Äôs conservation, education, interpretation, brand content, and digital experience teams.

The incumbent is an experienced curator and respected scholar of the history of European and/or American art and a recognized specialist in prints, drawings, and illustrated books from the 11th century onward, with a record of achievement in art museum management, art acquisitions, collection care and development, research, publications, exhibitions, interpretation, and programs. They will have demonstrated a breadth of curatorial experience in creating dialogues with other media as well as the curiosity to forge connections across collection areas. The incumbent specializes in one or more of the disciplines represented by the historical collections of graphic art (or is a specialist in illustrated books or manuscripts) and has a thorough understanding of the trends and major artists that followed through the 20th century to the present day. The Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator works closely with the Prints and Drawings division’s team to implement expansive collection building strategies and thought-provoking, relevant exhibitions and permanent collection displays that reflect and attract the nation and grow out of an awareness of the complexities of the American experience and its global context. The Curatorial Division recently completed a major collection development plan that delineates several acquisition priorities over the next five years. These include expanding our holdings of works by artists of color, women and LGBTQ+ artists, art of the African diaspora, art with links to European colonial worlds, and modern and contemporary art of the Global South. As the new senior curator acclimates to the National Gallery and its collections, they will have the opportunity to refine the collection development plan for prints and drawings.

Major Responsibilities

  • Undertake and oversee major art historical research projects based on observation, critical analysis, hypothesis, investigation, evidence, and conclusions, utilizing established art historical approaches as well as broader methodologies that illuminate new perspectives.
  • Help shape future exhibition and permanent collection displays for the graphic arts division to ensure relevance to the field and to contemporary curatorial practice, commitment to scholarship, and connection to the mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities of the National Gallery.
  • Work collaboratively and cross departmentally to implement interpretive and programmatic strategies that serve the museum‚Äôs multiple publics.
  • Foster and develop an acquisitions program that enables the National Gallery to continue to embrace artistic excellence and serve diverse and contemporary audiences through collections that connect to the lived experiences of these audiences and to relevant topics of our time, with a particular emphasis on works of art that enhance the National Gallery‚Äôs holdings of underrepresented artists and subject matter.
  • Cultivate close and cooperative long-term relationships with donors, collectors, scholars, and art dealers to attract and secure single objects, collections, purchase funds, or other types of gifts.
  • Manage staff, which includes hiring employees; assigning, monitoring, reviewing, and critiquing work of subordinates; prepares position descriptions, performance standards, and annual evaluations of staff. Recruit and retain a diverse, high-quality workforce.

Candidate Profile

While it is understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill, characteristic, and experience, the following offers a reflection of the ideal candidate profile for the Senior Curator:

  • Possesses an advanced degree in the history of art (PhD preferred), or its equivalent; minimum of 7 ‚Äď 10 years of progressively responsible curatorial experience, with substantial supervisory experience.
  • Experienced curator and scholar of the history of European and/or American art and a recognized specialist in prints, drawings, and illustrated books from the 11th century onward, with a record of achievement in art museum management, art acquisitions, collection care and development, research, publications, exhibitions, interpretation, and programs.
  • Proven track record of initiating and managing complex projects and exhibitions that entail cross-institutional collaboration.
  • Experience working closely with curators, conservators, registrars, and collection managers in managing changing art storage needs for expanding collections.
  • Demonstrated passion and experience with audience-centered museum practices and innovative curatorial approaches that make art accessible to the museum‚Äôs varied audiences.
  • Model the National Gallery‚Äôs values of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion; curiosity and continuous learning; empathy and generosity of spirit; integrity; deepening public understanding; and agility and responsiveness.
  • Committed to mentoring the next generation of curatorial leaders in the field of graphic arts.
  • Possesses excellent communication, writing, public speaking, and highly attuned interpersonal skills; must be energized about working collaboratively with other curators and diverse museum professionals.
  • Advanced reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, or an Eastern European language.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The salary range for this role is $175,000 – $221,000.

Contact

Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials via the button below. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email nonprofitsearchops@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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