Job Type






A.W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings Washington

National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art Washington DC United States

3 weeks ago

The National Gallery seeks a dynamic and motivational senior curator to lead its renown 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’s care, study, display, and expansion of a world-class collection of some 120,000 works—prints, drawings, artists’ books, and ephemera from Europe, America, and other parts of the world from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods through the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The prints and drawings collection totals nearly 80% of the National Gallery’s entire collection. The division manages two print study rooms, which are open by appointment to scholars and the public. Currently, the division produces approximately two exhibitions per year ranging from large, loan exhibitions accompanied by scholarly catalogues to smaller displays drawn from our important collections. Curators work closely with the Gallery’s conservation team in an effort to preserve and study the collection. The division often collaborates with the National Gallery’s Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (The Center) to initiate scholarly projects that coincide with The Center’s 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, 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, 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. Oversees the 12 permanent federal employees working in the division and two to three Term or Temporary research assistants, fellows, interns, and contractors at any one time.

The incumbent is expected to lead collaboration with other curatorial departments to ensure that the graphic arts are an integral part of displays—especially as plans develop to reinstall the National Gallery’s West Building, which largely houses the museum’s collection of pre-1900 non-graphic 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’s audiences, the senior curator will work closely with the Gallery’s 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 that 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 BIPOC, 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, he/she/they will have the opportunity to refine the collection development plan for prints and drawings.

Major Responsibilities:
• Undertakes and oversees 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.
• Helps 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.
• Works collaboratively and cross departmentally to implement interpretive and programmatic strategies that serve the museum’s multiple publics.
• Fosters and develops 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’s holdings of underrepresented artists and subject matter.
• Cultivates 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.
• Manages staff, which includes hiring employees; assigning, monitoring, reviewing, and critiquing work of subordinates; prepares position descriptions, performance standards, and annual evaluations of staff; recruits and retains a diverse, high-quality workforce.
• Oversees and addresses complex collection management and critical art storage issues for a large and growing collection.

Benefits: The National Gallery offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and a public transportation subsidy. The National Gallery offers hybrid/telework opportunities according to policy. This is not a federal position, but the employment terms and benefits are similar. Learn more about federal benefits.

Who May Apply: United States Citizens and Nationals

Applications accepted only through USAJOBS.GOV

Apply now through May 19, 2023 (until 11:59 EDT) only through USAJOBS.GOV: Announcement NGA-23-095-NF

EEO Policy:

Reasonable Accommodation Policy:
Washington DC USA

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