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July 05, 2022

Shelley Sturman, Head of the Object Conservation Department, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Shelley Sturman is senior conservator and head of the object conservation department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Sturman received her B.A. and M.A. from Brandeis University and holds her M.S. in Conservation from the University of Delaware. She is actively involved in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) of which she is a fellow and a former director, the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) where she is also a fellow, and in the Washington Conservation Guild of which she is past president. Sturman also teaches museum preventive conservation at the George Washington University’s Graduate School for Museum Studies, Art History, and Anthropology.

Sturman has worked in the Gallery’s conservation department since 1987, and has collaborated on various projects, including the upcoming exhibition The Budapest Horse: A Leonardo da Vinci Puzzle with Alison Luchs (curator of early European sculpture) and Katherine May (associate conservator).

For over 25 years, Sturman has been researching Renaissance bronzes, including technical investigations of the Robert H. Smith Collection, promised gift to the National Gallery of Art, as well as sculptures in the Gallery’s collection and in many parts of Europe.

One area of special interest to Sturman is investigating the casting techniques of Renaissance bronzes. She has performed technical examinations on sculpture from a number of prestigious bronze collections, including the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence; the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; San Marco, San Giorfio Maggiore, and the Ca’ d’Oro, Venice; and the Claudia Quentin Collection.

Sturman has published widely on a variety of conservation and scientific topics and has lectured at major universities and international meetings. Her numerous publications include "Degas and His Castings: a Tribute to Anne Pingeot" (2008), "Teaching Collections Care and Preservation/Preventive Conservation to Non-Conservators within the Museum Field" (2008), "Recent Acquisitions made to the Robert H. Smith Collection of Renaissance Bronzes" (2007), "The Horse in Wax and Bronze" (1998), and "Looking at European Sculpture: A Guide to Technical Terms" (1998).

Sturman has contributed to recent publications on Renaissance Bronze Sculpture, including "Examining Jacopo Sansovino’s Sacristy Door: Preliminary Results" in L’Industria Artistica del Bronzo del Rinascimento a Venezia e nell’Italia Settentrionale, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (2009) and "Interpreting the Bronzes: A Technical View," The Robert H. Smith Collection, Art of the Renaissance Bronze 1500-1650, London (2004).

Sturman’s honors and fellowships include the Samuel H. Kress Paired Fellowship for Research in Conservation and the History of Art (2000), a Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement, University of Delaware (1996), and a Robert H. Smith Fellowship (1991).


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