Martha Tedeschi Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums

Martha Tedeschi, formerly Prince Trust Curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings and later Deputy Director for Art and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago, has been named Director of Harvard’s Art Museums. Succeeding former Director Tom Lentz, she oversees the Fogg, Busch–Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums in Cambridge, MA. Tedeschi received her B.A. with honors from Brown University, an M.A. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She began her career at the Art Institute of Chicago as an NEA Intern in 1982, becoming full curator in 1999. She is a specialist in British and American art, with a strong secondary interest in the history of printmaking in early modern Europe as well as a broad interest in print and drawing techniques and materials. She is the general editor and co-author of the two-volume catalogue raisonné The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler (1998), winner of the George Wittenborn award. She has published extensively in scholarly journals and has organized numerous exhibitions for the Art Institute of Chicago. She was the organizing curator of the exhibition Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light, (2008) as well as for its sequel, John Marin’s Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism (2011). Prior to her new positions, she served as director of the Art Institute’s Print and Drawing Club and directed the respected Internship Program in Prints and Drawings. An active member of the Association of Art Museum Curators, the College Art Association, and other professional groups, Tedeschi is a former chair of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Curators Forum, current President of the Print Council of America (2009-2013), and a 2012 Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership. Reflecting on the role of her graduate work at Northwestern, she commented:

As a young member of the curatorial staff at the Art Institute I was encouraged to pursue my doctoral work at Northwestern while retaining my full‐time position at the museum. Those were challenging years, an exercise in intellectual multi-tasking. At the time, radical art history was being embraced (actually, pioneered) by the faculty at Northwestern.  In the field of art history in general, museum scholarship, exhibitions, and the traditions of connoisseurship were being deconstructed. A significant ideological divide appeared to be opening up between the academy and the museum. And there I was, beating a path between the Art Institute and Northwestern, week in and week out.  Working with objects all day and reading social history and Marxist theory at night was a heady combination. I began to think about works of art in new ways, not just as examples of the human creative impulse but as important primary documents for historical inquiry; I became and remain very interested in technical art history as a result of this realization. This is when I found my independent voice as a scholar, and I began to focus on the intersection of media, artistic practice, audience, and the art market. I credit Larry Silver for recruiting me to Northwestern and for being my “print mentor,” Sandra Hindman for introducing me to the codicological method in her famous Newberry Library seminars, Nancy Troy for ably directing my dissertation (from afar, as it turned out), and Holly Clayson for participating on my committee and remaining to this day an invaluable sounding board for all things nineteenth century.