Los Angeles - The Getty Foundation announced today the launch of The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century, a new initiative to strengthen curatorial practice in the graphic arts field internationally. The launch includes the announcement of six inaugural grants awarded to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford; the British Museum in London; the Courtauld Gallery in London; the Morgan Library & Museum in New York; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
“The Paper Project is a response to the need for more training and professional development opportunities to serve a rising generation of curators of prints and drawings,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “Assisting curators at early points in their careers will help ensure that museum departments of prints and drawings continue to have strong leadership and independent voices well into the future. The museums involved in these inaugural projects are widely recognized for their excellent collections, influential scholarship, and commitment to training.”
While preparing this initiative, the Getty Foundation consulted broadly with curators internationally who voiced concerns over the steady erosion of the formal and informal training practices that have historically sustained the prints and drawings field. As a result, leading museums face a shortage of well-qualified specialists ready to move into more senior curatorial positions. Curators entering the field today must command a wide variety of skills, ranging from traditional approaches to the object, such as connoisseurship, to newer proficiencies such as audience engagement, both in the galleries and online. Yet the opportunities for curators to develop and hone these skills are limited.
To address these issues, The Paper Project grants will support traveling seminars for early and mid-career curators of drawings and prints; curatorial fellowships; professional workshops and symposia; collection-based research projects that present significant training opportunities for young professionals; and exhibitions and publishing projects led by emerging leaders in the field of prints and drawings.
“Museums are changing rapidly in the 21st century, as are the demands on curators,” says Heather MacDonald, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation. “The Paper Project supports training and professional development designed by and for prints and drawings specialists, with an aim of not only preserving the skills that have long been at the center of their discipline, but also responding to the present-day and emerging needs of museums.”
Descriptions of New Grant Projects
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, founded in 1683, is Britain’s first public museum and the world’s first university museum. The Ashmolean’s magnificent Western Art collections contain around 25,000 drawings and over 250,000 prints by artists from the 15th century to the present day, with the Italian drawings collection renowned for its quality and range. The grant will support curatorial training in drawings scholarship and connoisseurship by funding two 18-month research fellowships for early career art historians to equip them to become leading drawings curators in the future. Their activities, including research travel and consultation with distinguished drawings specialists nationally and internationally, will focus on research and writing in preparation for a scholarly collection catalogue of the Italian drawings, with an online resource produced as a direct result of this project.
The British Museum, London
The British Museum has one of the world’s greatest collections of works on paper, with around 50,000 drawings and over two million prints that chart the development of Western graphic arts from the early 1400s to the present. The collection includes large holdings of important artists such as Dürer, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Goya. As part of The Paper Project, the Museum received a grant to support two curatorial fellowships in its Department of Prints and Drawings. The 18-month fellowships will provide broad-based curatorial training in areas such as cataloguing, collections management, research, exhibitions, acquisitions, and interacting with the public and researchers. Fellows will also have the opportunity to pursue their own focused research projects related to the collection, leading to a public project at the Museum.
The Courtauld Gallery, London
Founded in 1932, the Courtauld Institute of Art is an independent college of the University of London with a center for the study of art history and conservation. The Institute also houses an internationally renowned Gallery that includes a preeminent collection of drawings featuring works by such masters as Rembrandt, Guercino, Tiepolo, Turner, and Cézanne. The Paper Project grant will allow the Courtauld Gallery to offer a two-year curatorial fellowship in the Prints and Drawings Department. The fellow will be involved in every aspect of the Department’s activities, including exhibition planning and assisting in preparations for the collection’s reinstallation following gallery renovations. The fellow will be offered the opportunity to organize a focus exhibition with an accompanying publication, as well as to contribute to the Department’s exhibitions, publications, and digital projects.
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York
The Morgan Library & Museum is an internationally renowned museum and research center dedicated to fostering public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the art, music, and literature of the Western world. Founded in 1924, the Morgan holds one of the preeminent collections of drawings in the United States, including 25,000 works spanning from the 14th to 21st centuries. The Morgan’s commitment to the study of drawings is manifest in its Drawing Institute, founded in 2010 to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the role of drawing in the history of art. The Paper Project grant is supporting a ten-day traveling seminar in and around London in June that will bring early-career professionals together with senior curators to foster connoisseurship and an understanding of the art market for old master and 19th century drawings.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Founded in the 19th century, Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands and the only Dutch museum that offers a comprehensive overview of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its celebrated works on paper collection includes approximately 17,000 drawings and 65,000 prints. Boijmans’ collection of Italian drawings is one of the most comprehensive and art historically important in the world, but it is also understudied and underpublished. The Paper Project grant includes funding for curatorial training in the preparation of a scholarly collection catalogue of the museum’s 15th- and 16th-century Italian drawings.
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) consist of fifteen museums, including the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett, or Museum of Prints, Drawings, and Photography, the oldest museum of graphic arts in the German-speaking world. Located in the Royal Palace in the city center, the Kupferstich-Kabinett occupies restored spaces that feature exhibition galleries, a study room, storage facilities, and a paper conservation center. The Paper Project grant is supporting a multi-part traveling seminar organized by the SKD and focused on 16th-century Italian drawings that will help to develop the connoisseurship skills of the participating curators. In addition to Dresden, participants will visit important prints and drawings collections in northeast Germany, Central Europe, and Switzerland.
For more information about The Paper Project or to submit inquiries for support, please visit http://www.getty.edu/foundation/initiatives/current/paperproject/paperprojectindex.html
Image: Charles Joseph Natoire (1700-1777), Life class at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, 1746, © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London