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Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. is the former curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and professor of art history at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was raised in Uxbridge, Massachusetts before attending Phillips Exeter Academy, Williams College, and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1973. He came to the National Gallery of Art in 1973 as the David E. Finley Fellow. In 1974, he began his teaching career at the University of Maryland. He was appointed curator of Dutch and Flemish painting at the Gallery in 1975 and retired in 2018.

Wheelock, who has lectured widely on Dutch and Flemish art, has written many articles and a number of books and catalogues, including Perspective, Optics, and Delft Artists around 1650 (1977); Jan Vermeer (1981); Vermeer and the Art of Painting (1995); the catalogue of the Dutch collection at the National Gallery of Art, Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century (1995); and the catalogue of the Flemish collection at the Gallery, Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century (2005).  In 2014, Wheelock revised and expanded his catalogue of the Dutch collection as an online edition.

Wheelock has also organized a number of major exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, including Gods, Saints, & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (1980); Anthony van Dyck (1990); Johannes Vermeer (1995); Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller (1996); A Collector’s Cabinet (1998); From Botany to Bouquets: Flowers in Northern Art (1999); Gerrit Dou: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt (2000); Aelbert Cuyp (2001); Gerard ter Borch (2004); Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits (2005); Amorous Intrigue and Painterly Refinement: The Art of Frans van Mieris (2006); Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (2008); Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age (2009); Hendrick Avercamp: The Little Ice Age (2010); Gabriel Metsu, 1629-1667 (2011); Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst (2012); Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael, 1566–1638 (2015); Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt (2016); and Vermeer and Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry (2017). He also organized The Public and Private in the Age of Vermeer at the Osaka Municipal Museum, Japan, in 2000. 

He has received a number of honors throughout his career. In 1982, at the time of the Dutch-American Bicentennial, he was named Knight Officer in the Order of the Orange-Nassau by the Dutch government. In 1993 he received the College Art Association/National Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation. In 1996 he received the Minda de Gunzburg Prize for the best exhibition catalogue of 1995 (Johannes Vermeer); the Johannes Vermeer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dutch Art, which was presented by the Johannes Vermeer Stichting; the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College; and the Dutch-American Achievement Award, presented by The Netherlands American Amity Trust. In 2006 he was named Commander in The Order of Leopold I by the Belgian government.  In 2008 the University of Maryland created a doctoral fellowship in his name: The Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Fellowship in Northern Baroque Painting. In 2018, he received an honorary degree of doctor of art from Dickenson College. His online catalogue of the Dutch collection at the National Gallery of Art received the Art Library Society of North America’s George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award in 2014 for being the best art publication in the United States.