A New Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at Philadelphia Museum of Art
Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, announced today that Louis Marchesano will become the Museum’s new Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, succeeding Innis Shoemaker who retired earlier this year. The appointment of this new department head concludes a national search that yielded an exceptional group of candidates.
Dr. Marchesano has served as Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in Los Angeles since 2002. In this capacity he has organized a robust schedule of exhibitions and programs on a broad range of subjects. He has also played a central role in the development of the GRI’s collection of prints and drawings, substantially increasing the number of works on paper ranging from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries.
After completing a BA with honors in the Visual Arts from the University of Western Ontario in 1987, Marchesano received an MA (1990) and PhD (2001) in the History of Art from Cornell University. Dr. Marchesano has written and lectured on topics ranging from antiquarianism in the Renaissance and Baroque and French prints from the period of the Revolution to the end of the Bourbon Restoration to the graphic work of the German artist Käthe Kollwitz. Much of his scholarship has focused on the history of printmaking in France from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, and for these contributions the French government this year bestowed upon him the honor of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters).
Timothy Rub remarked, “Louis will bring a wealth of experience to his new position and has proven himself to be an exceptional leader, a capable administrator, and a valued colleague. He has a strong track record, having worked effectively across the Getty, playing an important role in numerous important initiatives, among them its Collection Development Council at the GRI and the Getty Trust’s digital humanities working groups. It was not only the breadth of his experience but also the breadth of his interests across the field that made Louis such a compelling candidate for this position.”
Louis Marchesano commented: “I am absolutely thrilled to take on such an important position, overseeing a distinguished collection and department, which has recently generated ground-breaking exhibitions and publications on Paul Strand, modern Mexican printmaking, German romantic prints, and self-taught art from the Bonovitz collection. With holdings of such extraordinary breadth and depth, I am also looking forward to strategically expanding the collection. And I’m especially excited about working with colleagues across the museum and thinking creatively about new exhibitions and research projects. This is a great moment to be joining the PMA given its ambitious campaign to transform and renew the institution.”
Dr. Marchesano is expected to begin his duties in January of 2019. His appointment follows the tenure of the distinguished curator Innis Shoemaker who served the institution for more than 30 years, overseeing a period of substantial growth, particularly in works on paper by African American artists, Mexican modernist prints, Italian drawings, and most notably, the Julian Levy collection of photographs and the Paul Strand collection.
About the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
The Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs is responsible for the largest group of objects in the Museum’s collections. It constitutes a collection of collections, developed through large en-bloc acquisitions, some of them bearing the imprint of successive major collectors, ranging from A. E. Gallatin and Louise and Walter Arensberg to Muriel and Philip Berman. They comprise remarkable records of taste, erudition, and philanthropy, and play an active role in shaping and illuminating both the history of art and the history of museum development in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The print collection is among the most significant in the United States, including over 110,000 European, Latin and North American, and Japanese prints. It encompasses a full range of print techniques and includes a collection of technical materials, such as plates, blocks, stones, screens, and tools, which are regularly used to help visitors understand the printmaking process. The photography collection includes over 28,000 examples from the medium’s infancy in the 19th century to the very present. The collection of drawings—numbering almost 12,000—contains many individual masterpieces as well as groups that strengthen, support, and increase the didactic potential of works of art in other curatorial departments in the Museum. Also noteworthy are maps, illuminated manuscripts, and artists’ books that add to the breadth of the collection.