Release Date: August 4, 2011
Jonathan Bober Joins National Gallery of Art, Washington, as Curator of Old Master Prints; Organizing Castiglione Exhibition Planned for Spring 2012
Washington, DC—Jonathan Bober has joined the National Gallery of Art, Washington, as curator and head of the department of old master prints. He succeeds Peter Parshall, who headed the department from 1999 until his retirement in 2010. One of Bober's first undertakings will be organizing an exhibition from the Gallery's collection to explore the graphic work of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. The exhibition will focus on the complex origins of Castiglione's graphic oeuvre, including the etchings of Rembrandt, and his critical influence on later masters ranging from François Boucher to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
"Jonathan Bober brings to the National Gallery of Art a tradition of scholarship—demonstrated in numerous exhibitions and publications, especially on old master and modern prints and drawings—as well as a history of imaginative and prodigious acquisitions," said National Gallery of Art director Earl A. Powell III.
The Gallery's division of old master and modern prints and drawings, led by A. W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings Andrew Robison, oversees one of the nation's finest collections of early European prints. It consists of some 50,000 works, including the most important holdings of 15th-century prints outside of Europe; an outstanding representation of all major printmakers, from Andrea Mantegna and Albrecht Dürer to Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Francisco de Goya; and innumerable rarities and singularly fine impressions across the history of the medium. In total, the Gallery's collection of prints, drawings, and illustrated books contains approximately 105,000 Western European and American works on paper and vellum dating from the 11th century to the present day.
Bober comes to Washington from the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as a curator since 1987, first as curator of prints and drawings; from 1998 as curator of prints, drawings, and European painting; and from 2010 as senior curator of European art. Prior to his work at the Blanton Museum, he was curatorial associate in the print department of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, from 1984 to 1987. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University.
Bober's exhibitions and publications are numerous, focusing particularly on old master paintings and old master and modern prints and drawings. They include the recent international loan exhibition of the paintings, drawings, and prints of Luca Cambiaso and his Genoese contemporaries, Luca Cambiaso, 1527–1585 (coorganized with the Palazzo Ducale, Genoa; Austin, September 2006–January 2007, and Genoa, March–July 2007), and Capolavori della Suida-Manning Collection (coorganized with Giulio Bora, Museo Civico, Cremona, October 2001–April 2002). In addition to a catalogue on the Italian drawings in the Fogg Art Museum and numerous exhibition catalogues at the Blanton Museum, Bober is the author of many scholarly articles appearing in such periodicals as Master Drawings, The Burlington Magazine, Arte Lombarda, and The Dictionary of Art, concerning the Sacro Monte of Varallo, painting and drawing in 16th-century Cremona, painting and printmaking in 17th-century Milan, and the history of old master prints.
Bober acquired for the Blanton Museum 11,000 of its 18,000 works (most with private support), including the extraordinary Suida-Manning Collection of old master paintings and drawings, Leo Steinberg's extensive collection of old master prints, and many outstanding individual works in the field. In addition to organizing exhibitions from the Blanton Museum's collection, such as The Language of Prints (April–July 2008), Bober maintained a rotation of prints and drawings from the permanent collection in seven dedicated galleries. He helped develop the design of the new Blanton Museum and oversaw the creation of a new center for prints and drawings, which opened in April 2006.
Bober secured corporate exhibition grant support and received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1986–1987 and 1995–1996), as well as a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Institutional Fellowship (1980–1982). He has also taught and mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, not only at the University of Texas at Austin but also as visiting professor at the University of Milan, where he teaches an annual seminar on the history and connoisseurship of prints.
Jonathan's wife, Andrée Bober, is former deputy director of the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, and currently director of Landmarks, the public art program at the University of Texas at Austin. Their daughter, Elianne, begins kindergarten this fall.
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