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Curator Biography

John Elderfield
Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture
Museum of Modern Art, New York

John Elderfield is Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Distinguished Curator and Lecturer at the Princeton University Art Museum; and Consultant for Special Projects at Gagosian Gallery.

Born in Yorkshire, England, Mr. Elderfield studied Fine Art at Leeds University, where he received B.A. and M.Phil. degrees; and then earned his Ph.D. in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Over thirty years, he organized more than twenty exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. These included such specialized projects as "Manet and the Execution of Maximilian" (2006) and "Henri Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-17" (2010), and major retrospectives devoted to, among others, Kurt Schwitters (1985), Henri Matisse (1992), Pierre Bonnard (1998), and Willem de Kooning (2011-12).

His exhibitions for Gagosian include "Painted on 21st Street: Helen Frankenthaler from 1950 to 1959," New York, 2012; "In the Studio," paintings of artists' studios from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, New York, 2015; and "Helen Frankenthaler after Abstract Expressionism, 1959-62," Paris, 2017. His most recent exhibition is "Cézanne. Portraits." Musée d'Orsay, Paris; National Portrait Gallery, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2017-18.

In addition to his exhibition catalogues, Mr. Elderfield has published books and some one hundred articles on modern art and related subjects, from Pierre-Paul Prud'hon and Hugo Ball to Jasper Johns and Bob Dylan. Among his affiliations and awards, he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Getty Research; an Associate Fellow at the American Academy in Rome; was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2005; was made Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government; and awarded an honorary D. Litt. from the University of Leeds. He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics, the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, and the Société Paul Cézanne.

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Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or [email protected]

General Information

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Exhibition Checklist (PDF 505 kb)

Curator Biographies:
Mary Morton
John Elderfield

Wall Text (PDF 9.6 mb)

Laurie Tylec
(202) 842-6355
[email protected]