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November 04, 2022

C. D. Dickerson III Named Senior Curator of European and American Art at National Gallery of Art

C. D. Dickerson

C. D. Dickerson III, Senior Curator of European and American Art, National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that C. D. Dickerson III, who has been the museum’s curator and head of sculpture and decorative arts since 2015, will become the new senior curator of European and American art, effective immediately. In this new role, Dickerson will oversee the care, study, display, and expansion of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from Europe, America, and other parts of the world, from the medieval, Renaissance, baroque, 18th-, and 19th-century periods—a collection of some 7,000 works of European and American art.

"I am delighted to have C. D. Dickerson take on this new, important role at the National Gallery. C. D. is a stellar scholar whose depth of knowledge in European and American art provides a great foundation to lead the talented curators who are devoted to European and American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts before 1900,” said E. Carmen Ramos, chief curatorial and conservation officer, National Gallery of Art. “C. D.’s collaborative approach will help expand our collection in new and imaginative directions and activate conceptual, thematic, and transnational storylines and interpretation that will captivate the curiosity of contemporary audiences. I am thrilled by the possibility of what we can achieve when we explore relationships across our historic European and American holdings, which are among the strongest in the world.” 

Dickerson will join a team of senior curators reporting to Ramos. Three other senior curators oversee departments of modern and contemporary art, prints and drawings, and photographs, respectively. The senior curatorial team acts as an advisory group to manage and lead the curatorial division by advancing the National Gallery’s mission, vision, and values. Core responsibilities of the senior curators include leadership and management; exhibitions; collections management; and collection development. Dickerson will also remain curator and head of sculpture and decorative arts.

Dickerson’s relationship with the National Gallery of Art began when he was a graduate curatorial intern from 2004 to 2005. In 2014 he returned as an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Since 2015, Dickerson has expanded the collection he oversees and has led the department’s exhibitions and publications to critical acclaim. Recent key acquisitions include Luisa Roldán’s Virgin and Child and David d’Angers’s Comte Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe. Co-curator (with Mark McDonald) of the 2019 exhibition Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, Dickerson is currently planning the 2023 exhibition Antonio Canova: Sketching in Clay with the Art Institute of Chicago.

Prior to joining the National Gallery, Dickerson worked at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2007 to 2015. In 2009, Dickerson became the Kimbell’s curator of European art. While at the Kimbell, he cocurated and contributed to catalogs for, among other exhibitions, The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France in 2016‒2017; Bernini: Sculpting in Clay in 2012‒2013; and From the Private Collections of Texas: European Art, Ancient to Modern in 2010‒2011. From 2006 to 2007, he was assistant curator of Renaissance and baroque art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Bernini: Sculpting in Clay was seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Kimbell. Critic Souren Melikian wrote in the New York Times, “The exhibition inspired by the work of the three scholars and, most importantly, the book that tells their story break entirely new ground.” Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News wrote, “This first-ever comprehensive show of these models is a triumph for Kimbell curator C. D. Dickerson.”

Dickerson received his AB diploma summa cum laude from Princeton University and his MA from Washington University in Saint Louis. In 2006 he earned his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), New York University, where his dissertation was “Bernini and Before: Modeled Sculpture in Rome, c. 1600‒25.” He was advised by IFA professor and baroque scholar Donald Posner, who died in 2005, and renowned art historian Nicholas Penny, former director of the National Gallery, London, and former head of sculpture and decorative arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Dickerson also took courses in law and nonprofit and curatorial leadership at various universities.

Dickerson has lectured widely, written for numerous scholarly publications, and contributed to a number of books and exhibition catalogs. Among his other professional activities, he has served on the board of Save Venice Inc. since 2014.

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