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Esther Bell named Senior Curator of Clark Art Institute
Bell currently serves as the curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.


WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- Esther Bell has been selected to serve as the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator of the Clark Art Institute. Her appointment was announced today by Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark.

Bell currently serves as the curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where she has organized a number of important exhibitions, including the recent critically acclaimed The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France, presented in partnership with the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas and the Musée du Louvre. On February 25, Bell will open Monet: The Early Years at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, an exhibition organized by the Kimbell in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

“Esther Bell is one of the brightest curators working today,” said Meslay. “Her creativity, intellect, and scholarship are only equaled by her passion and energy for the diverse demands of curatorial work. Esther’s international experience and her deep expertise in French paintings will be of great importance in her work here at the Clark. We are delighted to welcome her as a colleague.”

Prior to joining the staff of the Fine Arts Museums in 2014, Bell was the curator of European paintings, drawings, and sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She began her career in New York, serving as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as both a research assistant and curatorial fellow at the Morgan Museum and Library. In 2015, Apollo magazine named Bell as one of the top ten curators in North America under the age of forty.

Bell received her doctorate in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, with a specialization in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European art. She earned a master’s degree from the Williams College/Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art, and a bachelor’s degree in the history of art from the University of Virginia. She completed a Fulbright Fellowship at the Musée du Louvre in 2003, and held numerous fellowships, including those at New York University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“I am honored to join the Clark Art Institute at this important moment in its history,” said Bell. “I have deep admiration for the Clark's talented staff, world-class collections, its highly regarded Research and Academic Program, and, of course, the new and beautiful campus. While it is hard to leave the outstanding program and people at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco after such good years, the opportunity to return to Williamstown and be a part of the excitement of the new Clark was irresistible.”

During her tenure at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Bell has been responsible for a diverse array of exhibitions, including Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland; J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free; and Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia. She is the co-curator for Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, currently on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum and opening in San Francisco in June 2017. At the Cincinnati Art Museum, Bell’s curatorial work included the recently completed Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth, as well as exhibitions on Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Ruisdael, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and François Boucher.

An accomplished scholar and author, Bell is a member of the editorial board of Journal18, a scholarly journal focused on eighteenth-century studies. She is the author and editor of a number of publications related to the exhibitions she has organized, and is regularly published in academic journals. Bell has delivered lectures in distinguished international venues such as the University of St. Andrews, Scotland; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes; the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Bell currently resides in San Francisco. She will begin her work at the Clark in July 2017.





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